For the 12th year, Project Management Conference in Zlin, a Czech city just an hour’s drive from Adacta`s Brno office, brought together more than 200 project managers from various industries. To learn more about the latest project management trends, best practices, and conference takeaways, we sat down with Benjamin Levstek, Director of Adacta Czech Republic, who attended the conference this year.
Our teams in Brno play an important part in the development of the AdInsure insurance platform as well as in implementation projects which makes project management an essential part of our operations. Project Management Conference in Zlin is gaining in importance in the Czech Republic and also attracts speakers and attendees from Slovakia due to their strong historical and economic links. Since its start in 2005, the PM conference continues to bring together relevant speakers and professionals working with global leaders in key industries to discuss topics connected to project management.
Another reason for attending the conference was to escape from the daily routine, to change the environment and to bond with our project and team managers. As planned, we had a great time discussing interesting topics and decided that we need to share our experience as speakers at the next conference, which is something we are really excited about.
Besides, it is very inspirational to come to Zlin. This conference is organized by the University of Tomáš Baťa, named after one of the greatest entrepreneurs of his time. He not only completely changed the face and architecture of Zlin, but also revolutionized the principles of successful management at the beginning of the 20th century.
The main thread of this year’s Zlin conference was the topic of Human vs. Machine and it explored how new technologies such as AI are and will be transforming project management work and its influence on human roles and the required skills for successful projects.
Right now and in the near future, projects will not be driven and fully managed by machines. Even as technologies are becoming more integrated into the process, people will still be the ones who make the final decisions, spot trends, take actions and refine the system to achieve better results over time. With all those possibilities and available information, human interaction and cooperation will play an even more significant part in project success, which makes employees with experience and empathy the future of the workplace. This was a key takeaway from the conference.
On the other hand, project managers must accept new technologies and introduce AI wherever possible to increase the likelihood of project success. Implementing new technologies in the project management process should not be taken as anything more than just another tool to reach the goal. Not only is this important to improve the efficiency of the project team but also to maintain the company's competitiveness and profit.
We had the opportunity to listen to the very best professionals about the challenges they are facing in project management. Although in some cases we didn’t learn much more than what we already know, open discussion about similar and known issues helped us to apply out-of-the-box thinking to our challenges and gave us new ideas. I’d like to mention two important challenges:
Firstly, a well-managed project requires a positive and trusting relationship with the customer from the beginning. A strong product and a group of technical and business professionals give us a great starting position and we maintain that kind of relationship to the very end.
Every insurance organization is different. Each has different people and operates in a different location but they also use different products and processes. Our experience and the rate of successful projects help us gain trust and foster a positive approach in our projects.
Secondly, the management of requirements is key to project success. In our case, we use collaborative workshops during the analysis stage to move from a generic initial list of requirements to the final list of mature and well-defined business requirements mapped to AdInsure modules.
Finally, control over change management is crucial for well-managed projects. With the pace of change in technology, business, and regulatory environment it is almost inevitable that we will hit upon things that need to be changed during even a single project lifecycle. A formal change management process is required to ensure any changes are clearly defined, reviewed and approved so they do not affect the implementation.
In my opinion, it is important to mention the most obvious trends: