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Projects, with a side of a Pandemic

these unprecedented times


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Vinit Venkata Addepalli

3 years ago | 4 min read

A few months ago, a team of 12 met in a conference room to discuss an exciting new project that was coming their way. The task? To redesign an entire enterprise platform for a leading telecom solutions provider. The challenge? They only had four months to accomplish this behemoth task.

The catch? They never saw each other again till this day, much like the Starks from Game of Thrones (Should have I said spoiler alert? I should have said spoiler alert).

The whole work from home sitch has been a double-edged sword for the working industry. While it ensures the safety of the populace, it provides a huge challenge for any industry that thrives on a collaborative working model.

Managing to achieve anything trivial to something strenuous, both could be equally gratifying given the times. Similar such was the journey of the aforementioned team of 12 who successfully managed to deliver an entire platform of 2000 odd screens within a span of four months.

This article walks you through a few of the things we did to make that happen.

Numero Uno: Communicate

Now before rolling your eyes and muttering “another wannabe who tells me communication is key,” hear me out. Back in the good old days, when we could physically go to the office care-free, everyone was just a tap away from answering any questions or concerns you might have.

But that’s not the case anymore. For a team to function seamlessly, it’s quintessential that everyone is on the same page at all times. And that includes not just your team, but the clients as well.

Go ahead and ping your team members. There’s no such thing as too many Zoom calls, as long as it means you have clarity on what’s needed.

Be descriptive during your daily standups; make sure everyone is aware of their tasks. Reiterate to be doubly sure. Keep track of your emails and deliverables. And most important of all, DO NOT mute the project Whatsapp group.

Numero Dos: Sit Straight

Cannot stress on this enough. How do you expect to deliver good quality work if you have lower back problems? Invest in a good chair. Correct your posture. Keep telling yourself the bean bag is your enemy.

Numero Tres: Accountability

Now that we all have to work remotely, it’s more difficult to track progress on any dependencies or understand the gravity of deadlines. If you notice your team members are falling behind, pick them up. Ask if they need to share the workload. Talk to them.

Some of us may be dealing with this lockdown differently than the others. A quick casual catchup over a phone call in lieu of the lunch breaks you used to have will do wonders to boost morale.

Conversely, take ownership if you have to. This is a great opportunity for you to show those leadership skills you brag about in your resume.

But if you see yourself struggling or feeling burnt out, reach out to your peers and superiors. It’s okay to take a breather, recuperate and recharge yourself to become your best self again.

Number Four (Spanish no Bueno): Have a Sense of Humor

This lockdown has been the closest I have come to feel like Matt Damon from The Martian, and if there’s one thing I learned from that movie, was to have a sense of humor in the toughest of times. We are working odd hours. Nothing seems to be going our way. We miss our office.

We don’t want to cook anymore. We miss seeing faces that are not our roommates/parents/cats. But know that things will get better.

Number Five: Track your Progress

If you also get a confidence boost after making a handsomely organized excel sheet, then you will love what I am about to say.

Achieving what we did during this project wasn’t easy at all. It was super easy to miss something along the way. But having everything organized really helped us as a team to visualize any hiccups we might encounter along the way if things didn’t go as planned.

Moreover, it certainly feels gratifying to check things off a list. For this project, we used multiple collaboration platforms like Google Sheets, JIRA, Google Drive, and Slack. Not only it helped us to track progress internally, but it also gave the clients clarity on whether they are missing anything

Number Six: Pay your Internet Bill on Time

Really important. Don’t miss out on this. You may find it difficult to collaborate if there is no internet.

This project was a success story for all of us for many other reasons than the ones mentioned here. There were a lot of small and big victories every day of it. It taught us a lot about how to deal with many such challenges that might come our way in the future.

But the biggest takeaway was that it’s not impossible to do it, as long as your team has got your back and you have theirs. Now we are left with a misplaced sense of wisdom, personal & professional growth, ability to face new challenges and a Whatsapp group that is now used for memes and rants.

Originally published on medium.

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