Reflective account by Jim Dale (ProgM Secretary)
Okay - let me be up-front and confess - this was my first ever webinar! Candidly the idea of passively sitting in front of a computer screen for an hour watching, PowerPoint slides and listening to a speaker drone on did not appeal to me. If it is unenticing for the listener what must it be like for the poor speaker with just a screen to interact with!
Heresy - I hear you shout – this is the age of social media, webinars are accessible to hundreds, indeed thousands, they don’t involve the cost and time of travelling, they allow busy people to get on with their days jobs blah blah. ‘Yes’ I know this but I was still not a webinar fan; that is until earlier today.
Firstly, I want to say a big thank you on behalf of the Committee to Nick Fewings, the Co-Director of TheColourWorks for delivering an interesting, interactive presentation, with passion and flare. Secondly, well done to the APM for hosting this event. Nick’s presentation was about conflict and dysfunction amongst a team of project professionals working in Saudi Arabia. From my experience you don’t have to go very far to find conflict in project teams, but I guess a Bedouin tent in the Arabian Desert is more glamorous than an office in a London Borough Local Authority!
Nick’s presentation was anything but a passive experience. He introduced a series of on-line voting experiences, which were simply brilliant. We were asked, for example, about the typical issues in projects and then asked to ‘vote’ electronically. At the same time a constant stream of useful suggestions, questions and comments were being logged and displayed on the ‘twitter’ stream.
Nick spelt out three common causes of project failure as weak leadership, inadequate resourcing and poor stakeholder engagement. The link is, of course, people. People will ultimately determine project success or failure. This may sound obvious but it is frequently forgotten as we strive to deliver projects focusing on PPM, methodology, systems and processes.
Another fact that Nick emphasized was that we all have different personalities that condition the way we learn and respond to change. Nick’s simple and visual colour-coding system, used in-conjunction with a further poll, reinforced this point.
Now the really neat thing about webinars is that they can easily be recorded and made available to all:
So what learning can I take from Nick’s thought provoking presentation?
1) We must invest time getting to know our teams and what makes them tick;
2) We need to understand why change is resisted and help people progress quickly through the change curve;
3) We need to invest in a range of different communication styles to engage effectively without stakeholders;
4) Take a hat with a built-in fan when visiting the Arabian Desert!
Nick’s presentation slides are made available below to assist sharing and for those with green / yellow tendencies can be further shared with others.