I like webinars. You learn in a short time things that, a few years ago, you would probably only learn in a presence course. If it’s a live webinar, you can even ask any questions you may have and get the answer right away. If you’re lucky and the webinar is recorded, you can watch it as many times as you wish, which helps you learn the content more comprehensively.
Recently, I attended a webinar organized by the Project Management Institute Andalusia Chapter with the title ‘Un gran reto en gestión de comunicación’ [A Big Challenge in Communication Management] conducted by Dr. Patricia Domínguez.
Patricia has an extensive experience managing SAP Systems Migrations and Conversions projects, leading globally distributed international teams that work remotely. In this webinar, she gives details of a real project for the splitting of two business units – one for France and one for The Netherlands- from the same SAP environment (SAP SLO carve out), the result of which would be two SAP systems, one for each business unit.
The biggest challenge was not so much its technical difficulty, but rather the fixed deadline and the globally distributed project teams:
- The time given for this project was seven months and the deadline for go-live should not be passed or otherwise the project would fail. Since the team members were also working on other projects at the same time, they had to work overtime in the final weeks of this project in order to be able to finish on time.
- The international project teams: They had company internal resources as well as external resource from different consultancy companies, globally distributed with different time zones, and speaking different languages.
Throughout the presentation, Patricia talked about the challenges that appeared as the project progressed, especially in communication management, and the solutions that she applied to achieve the goal on time: Identify risks, highlight the importance of test scenarios, organize weekly calls with stakeholders, define escalation process, create standard templates easy to use, as well as have some good small talk to compensate the fact that you can’t meet in person in the coffee corner.
The work was carried out 100% remotely with teams distributed in Germany, France, The Netherlands, UK, and Philippines, and in pandemic time. For example, there were network and connectivity issues that made non-verbal communications difficult (e.g., seeing facial expresses, feeling connected during meetings). Further, there were confidential issues as the project was part of a restructuring that would impact the team members and their roles in the company.
The extensive experience and skills of the project manager in this type of environment was essential to maintain the good energy and mood in the different teams and complete the project successfully and on time.