Interview: Key Takeaways from Project Management Conference

Interview: Key Takeaways from Project Management Conference

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. 

Why did you select this conference?

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.

What was the main thread of this year's conference?

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.


In your opinion, what are the key takeaways from the conference and can we apply them to managing lengthy IT 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.

Are the challenges your project managers are facing similar to those discussed at the conference when it comes to managing people and teams and how do you solve them?

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:

  • Employee experience
    We are constantly improving our work environment and culture in order to provide the best employee experience. We are aware that there is a strong correlation between a satisfied customer and a satisfied employee and therefore a satisfied company. Providing meaningful work to our employees with supportive management, a positive environment and can-do atmosphere is crucial to our success, strong products and quality customer service. We believe that empathy is the only way we can make meaningful changes that will improve the daily lives of our employees.
  • Transparent and open communication
    Open communication between the management and employees is very important to us. We constantly share feedback transparently and promote two-way employee communication. On top of that, we provide good infrastructure for team collaboration with the latest collaboration tools.

Adacta works with many different insurance organizations. From your client’s perspective, what does it mean when we say a project is well managed?

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.


Looking at the future, what are some of the trends that will impact the way we do project management in IT?

In my opinion, it is important to mention the most obvious trends:

  • More emphasis on soft skills
    Projects are managed and executed mostly by people and they are impacted by interactions with other people. Emotional intelligence skills, such as the ability to resolve conflicts, control emotions and avoid impulsive decisions, empathy and other social skills will be even more important to overcome barriers due to different locations, cultures, languages, and project complexity. People with a high level of emotional intelligence and the ability to adapt and motivate will become more valuable and in high demand. The importance of possessing and developing those indispensable soft skills for project management cannot be overstated

    At Adacta, we are aware that this is not only a trend but also a standard requirement. We are placing high importance on these skills when recruiting, making teams and designing training to gain skills which can be improved and adapted.
  • Evolution of project management software
    As project complexity is growing particularly for the people working on them, an important role will be played by project management tools and their ability to streamline status reporting, execution flows and meaningful reports for the project team and for stakeholders. More advanced tools will become available with AI which will have the capability to predict future patterns based on today’s data by helping estimate risks, optimize resources and provide predictive forecasting. All those features will minimize bad or late decisions that usually jeopardize project delivery.

    Even though we are using the top evaluated project management software on the global market, Adacta is still developing its own tools which will help us maintain even better control over our projects. It turned out that this plays an important role in our project success rate. As we are implementing AI in our products, we believe that implementing AI in project management tools is something we will tackle soon.
  • Remote teams and work
    More companies will recognize the benefits of extending their talent and recruiting pools beyond their local environment, which means that remote work will become standard for organizations. This is already happening in the parts of the world where the talent pool is limited and this trend will continue. Whether these are individuals who are working remotely from home or other preferred location or even teams working in a different location, establishing a remote team culture will be significant for successful projects. Regardless of the location, talent and skills will prevail and thus enable companies to achieve their mission and increase their profit in the end.

    Adacta has grown gradually over the past five years by establishing several new branch offices. Formation of remote teams for Core and Service departments played an important role in our success story. Our teams are used to working with remote team members or remote team members and it has become totally acceptable that our top valued professionals temporarily move to Bali and work from there while having wave surfing workshops. We are devoted to building a remote culture and like any other process, we are improving it with each iteration.


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