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The Top 5 Program Management Best Practices for 2020

by: John Coburn
The Top 5 Program Management Best Practices for 2020

Program (not quite the same as Project) management has been rapidly evolving in recent years. The use of new and improved technology has made a significant impact on modernizing the many facets of management. There is an unspoken revolution of sorts with the massive strides going on in program management. 

So what is program management? 

Think of it this way; 

Where project management is the tactician battling specific projects, program management is the effective coordination of many projects on a mid-high level. 

How things are changing

Traditional cookie-cutter management styles are slowly being phased out, and new methods are taking shape. These new methods have been successful in building a more reliable workforce and places more emphasis on teamwork and embracing human resources. 

It’s a vastly different landscape compared to 10 years ago, so here are our top 5 program management best practices that are trending in 2020 (and beyond). 

1. Agile and Hybrid Management Models

dna-of-two-processes

The Agile Approach has been around since 2001. However, what started off as a more efficient way of developing software, has expanded into an actual management style called the Agile Mindset. In short, it combines the use of software along with assigned employee teams to ensure a more streamlined project flow. Tasks are divided, a lot of collaboration is involved and team building is essential. 

Since not every business environment is going to require a method such as Agile, many firms are taking a hybrid approach, which is utilizing aspects of Agile and similar approaches along with traditional management. This creates a hybrid of management styles that can be easily adapted to suit the nature of the project for optimal results. There are thousands of software and methodologies that are easily customizable to cater to the needs of the firm, no matter what the field or market may be.

2. Artificial Intelligence and Tech Tools

Technology is developing at the speed of light. Artificial Intelligence, especially, has made awe-inspiring developments. From Alexa to Siri and their peers, AI is being used in the average day to day activities of most people.

In a business environment, AI is being utilized by project managers in the form of:

KBES (Knowledge-based expert systems) – these systems enable computers to solve complex problems with the use of a knowledge or database. Project managers input and edit the knowledge base from their experiences and the more data added, the more problems can be solved. KBES is a vast store of data in one place that sorts and provides information as needed.

ANNs (Artificial Neural Networks) – ANNs artificially replicate human neural networks, and they perform tasks by learning from examples. Both ANNs and KBES are essential to the development of automation in project management. 

Fuzzy Logic – Fuzzy Logic is based on true or false logic. It enables project managers to prioritize tasks and structure them according to the work required. 

AI in program management aids in executing tasks such as data visualization, scheduling, analytics and insight generation, budget and estimation, diagnosis, troubleshooting, team building, and collaboration as well as cloud backed data storage and file sharing. 

3. Beefed up Cybersecurity

do-not-be-vulnerable

While the development of tech is generally a good thing, there is a dark side too. Hackers launch cyberattacks on companies to steal data, funds, and even cripple the operations of a firm. To combat organization-wide breaches in online security, since the modern workplace is heavily reliant on the internet, project managers are taking stricter measures.  

Security is now enhanced via IoT (the Internet of Things). IoT is a system of connected computing devices that can transfer data over networks without human interaction in any form. While it is still a work in progress and not without its cons, it’s slowly taking shape as a viable method to assist with cybersecurity. Blockchain, encryption software, strong authentication, and cryptosystems are the way forward in cybersecurity. 

4. Remote Work and the Gig Economy

In 2020, due to the global Covid-19 pandemic and the protocols required to prevent its spread, many companies adapted to remote work. Employees worked from home to keep the ball rolling even though physical offices remained closed for months. This changed the shape of program management. Teams were able to work together remotely and still get work done efficiently. The office became portable. 

The gig economy also experienced a growth spurt as more freelancers are being used by firms to work on projects. Hiring freelancers adds diversity and flexibility to the project team, cuts back expenses, and boosts productivity. Outsourcing also allows a wider range of experts and professionals to work on your project remotely. 

5. Emphasis on Emotional Intelligence

emotional-intelligence-is-critical-for-collaboration

 

Emotion Intelligence or EQ is being recognized by program managers as a vital part of the project management process. In order to achieve the highest performance from your team, their mental well being must not be threatened or under stress. 

A well-balanced employee is more productive and the quality of their work is better. Managers who are able to understand their team’s emotional state achieve better results. They are human, after all. Managing a human workforce can be difficult; a more empathetic approach is a great idea to manage and guide your teams successfully. Happy team, better quality output. 

**BONUS**

6. Use Program Management Software

timeline-view-is-great-for-project-planning
Project timeline on Taskworld

Using program management software like Taskworld can help your organization at every level. 

A lot of our users started at a point where they had little to no project management let alone program management. 

Communication was largely restricted to email, text, calls – all disjointed forms of communication. They’re good for a quick non-vital conversation, but not great for mission-critical communication that you can’t afford to lose.

Ever have that feeling like you might be forgetting something only to realize it was to reply to your boss’s email? 

Yea – me too. 

That’s why having project-specific, transparent information and communication is so important for modern organizations. 

Before, you’d have to sacrifice;

  1. Accuracy & tracking
    or
  2. Speed.

In the case of ASQ Homecare, the opted for the more careful process of deliberate tracking since every decision they made directly impacted the lives of their clients. 

They provide in-home care to the elderly and their team was growing fast. 

The demand for experienced workers & proper onboarding was going up, but they still wanted to maintain their professional, thorough process. 

Their solution? 

Taskworld. 

Since joining Taskworld, they’ve had 3 major benefits;

  1. Caregiver onboarding from application to hire improved from 30 days to 10 days (a 300% improvement!).
  2. NPS (Net promoter score) went up from 3.5/10 to 9.2/10
    And,
  3. Caregiver satisfaction rates went from 5.3/10 to 8.3/10.

While we’re proud that our tool, support, and resources could help, it’s ultimately the user of the tool that makes the magic happen. 

We only help along the way. 

If you’d like to try it out, we have a 30 Day Free Trial for users wanting to see if we’re a good fit. 

Taskworld makes program management easier

Taskworld is one of the if not THE easiest to use project management tool that still has the flexibility and power of the big guys. 

Our primary goal is to provide leaders with the means necessary to reach their own potential. 

We take away the roadblocks like messy email, poor cross-department communication, and slow onboarding for new hires in growing companies. 

At the end of the day, we just open up the road for you to move as quickly as you can. 

Key takeaways

Technology, remote workers, and AI in the workplace tough relatively ‘new’, is making a huge impact on the way companies perform. It’s also proving that thanks to the internet and cybersecurity, teams can be connected without having to be in the same place. 

Work can be completed, tasks assigned, and virtual communication are futuristic factors that will only improve in efficiency in years to come. 

These trends are making the workforce a better place to be. Having a workforce that doesn’t dread the daily commute to their 9 to 5’s is not impossible. 

With the right type of management that is people-centered, the provision of tech tools and software to make work more organized and team-building approaches, productivity is able to bloom and skyrocket.

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