The Future of Work is Already Here

I was doing research for my book and was struck by the number of people writing about ‘the Future of Work’.
Many of the things we refer to as “the future” are already here. Artificial intelligence, automation, and robotics are all possibilities that are already in your tools.
Despite the fact that you might not be aware of it, these capabilities are so well-established that they are now part of how you use consumer-based products.
As an example, the PMO Flashmob recently looked at robotics in the PMO. McKinsey research shows that technological skills will see a 55% increase at work by 2030.
The second largest shift in skills is the predicted growth in social and emotional skills. This will see a 24% increase over the same period.
We need to be better at software work and better at communicating with our colleagues.
Our work-based tools aren’t keeping up with the times, which is a challenge for project leaders. We are still constrained by tools that require us to divide projectwork into tasks and have fixed deadlines.
Too much of the work I do each day is repetitive and – frankly – mundane. Although I understand that project management is largely administrative, I am not paid for the ability to fill out a risk log. I get paid because I am good at managing the risks on the risk log so that my company and my project aren’t harmed by them.
The 80/20 rule adds value
Your time is too short. There is too much to do. I need to prioritize and I used to wonder what I should be focusing on.
I took a look at the various types of work I do each day. I looked at the successes that I had with my projects, the problems that we had solved, and the conflicts that were resolved. To establish what drove the good stuff, I made a distinction between the successes and the work.
Unsurprisingly, at most, 80% of my results came down to 20% of what was actually being done: stakeholder engagement, facilitation, and driving the workflow.
In other words, I spent a lot time talking with my colleagues, helping to see the value in this project, encouraging buy-in, moving tasks forward, removing obstacles, and creating a culture where they can do the best work.
You might find results from a different type of behavior if you do a similar exercise. Although I don’t claim that my conclusions are universally true, it helped me to see the things I should be doing to increase the value of my projects. But I need time for that.
Wouldn’t it be great if we could all spend less time ongrunt work, and more time on activities that add significant value to our projects?
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We must admit that we want to spend more time on value-added work. Otherwise, we will be doing more work overall. I don’t have more time to spend at my desk so something has got to give.
The good news is that we can make many changes with the ‘future tools’ that are already available – provided you are open to new ways and methods of working. One of those ‘future tools’ is a work OS. This emerging category of tech includes unicorns like, Airtable, and Asana. These tools make our work life easier. They are flexible enough that you can work how you want and spend less time doing tedious tasks.
Drudge tasks are repetitive, menial tasks that we all have to perform… or at least we did. Automations are a key feature for project managers in a work OS. This makes a significant difference in managing the tedious tasks of project management.
Let’s take, for example, the types of tasks that we could automate in a project.
If a task’s status turns Red, you can move it to a list of high-priority tasks that require management oversight
Or if a task has been given to you in Red.