Summary: Speaking at PMI Frankfurt Chapter. August 2020

One of the real benefits of the COVID pandemic has been the opportunity to speak virtually at different chapters and organisation events. I’m no longer restricted by my travel schedule or personal commitments and can speak internationally all from the comfort of my home office!

I am regularly approached by different chapters and will always try to make time for the community if i can, so I was very excited to be asked by the PMI Frankfurt Chapter if I’d be interested in speaking.

Due to the summer holidays, we could only arrange a date at the end of August but this did not stop over 70 people registering for the event. It’s a great sign of the engagement of the chapter that we had this many people in attendance.

The Topic:

Since publishing my article on projectmanagement.com, there has been a lot of interest in following up on the topic of: What comes next? Working in a post-pandemic society and it’s something that I’m really enjoying talking and learning more about. This presentation was an adapted version of a future webinar that I’ll be giving to all projectmanagement.com members in a few weeks.

Ready to go!

The Talk:

I wanted to focus today’s session on not only what a Project Manager can do to remain relevant and stress resistent during these times, but I also wanted to give tips and advice for the way forward. As this user group is based out of the Frankfurt area in Germany, I wanted to focus a lot of my examples towards what German companies are doing and how German industry/ unions are adapting and supporting employees during this time. I am very lucky to have worked in Germany during my career, so understanding how unions and the social structures worked, made it easier for me to be able to prepare the presentation.

Q&A Session:

I really like being able to talk and spend time with the community answering their questions and giving more insights. During this session, the following themes came up:

  • How do I note down my stress levels/ what are my triggers?
    • Andreas suggested that he uses a Stress Log Book to keep a track of his stresses. From an agile perspective, there is the smileys that are used during retrospective of: Mad/Sad/Glad.
    • I also like to keep a diary of my stresses to identify what /who stresses me so I can work through these at a later date and see any patterns that exist.
  • What skills would I personally like to increase as a result of COVID19?
    • Communication skills. I’d like to work on the different ways of communicating with others to ensure that my message is delivered effectively and in the manner in which they want to receive it. I want to focus on the different mediums that we can use to deliver information and what could be the best use of my time.
  • What online tools have I found to be the most useful?
    • Microsoft Whiteboard is one within Teams which has great functionality for collaborate.
  • Did you experience a change in difficult negotiations with you main customer during Covid 19? Did communication change with the customer in general for you and your Team? 
    • Yes! There was definitely a change and a respect for the situation that we were facing. There was considerably more patience from both sides to understand and respect the extraordinary times that we are in. We definitely changed how we communicated, what tools we used and I made more effort to communicate with both customers and my teams.

Conclusion:

One of the biggest learning points for me from this presentation, was how many people were interested in the ‘human’ element of this presentation and the impact that COVID-19 has had on people’s personal lives. In the daily stream of work, emails and stress, it can be hard to take time for yourself or take time to ensure that your work/life balance is not out of balance.

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