Project management: Ready for takeoff?
When you decide to fly someplace (in a non-pandemic context, of course), what influences your choice to go with a specific airline? Obviously you make the decision based on the destinations served, the timeliness of its flights and the price of tickets. But what about customer or in-flight service?
In a similar way, when it comes time to choose an agency as a partner, the role of customer service and the project team will have a major impact on the relationship. The project manager, who is a bit like a flight agent for an airline, has a profound influence on creating a seamless workflow.
A smooth flight for both comfort and safety
Although there may not seem to be any connection between the two professions, you might be surprised to learn that being an in-flight agent was actually great preparation for taking on the role of project manager at Adviso. But it’s true! Before joining our amazing team, I worked as an agent on international flights for two years. I completed a four-week intensive training session that was 95% focused on onboard safety, safety measures and crisis management. This enabled me to strengthen my soft skills and recognize the tools available for putting these to better use. In addition to relationship and communication skills, I developed an ability to evaluate situations in the blink of an eye, and above all to work as part of a team, forming a common front to overcome challenges.
Now do you see how being an attendant resembles project management?
At first view, being an in-flight agent merely involves presenting safety instructions and serving beverages and in-flight meals, as well as offering reassuring smiles to first-time fliers to ease their anxiety. But in reality, the job is much more complex and full of responsibility. In addition to handling service, the main task of the in-flight agent is to ensure the safety and comfort of passengers, as well as that of other crew members. This means being on the front line of any emergency situation, communicating safety measures and having any necessary emergency equipment on hand. In short, many duties are fulfilled behind the scenes, outside of the view of passengers, so that they can enjoy the best possible experience.
Do these parallels between in-flight agents and project managers seem a little exaggerated? Maybe they are a bit, but not as much as you think!
Skill and experience are like a safety net
While sometimes underestimated, reliable management actually brings not just a definite advantage when it comes to creating successful projects, but guarantees above all that you have a safety net for dealing with any unforeseen circumstances.
When an unexpected situation happens during a flight, the in-flight agent needs to be able to evaluate available solutions within just a few seconds—the same is true of project managers (PM), who find and coordinate control measures to deal with unexpected changes. As the head of their team, the PM is concerned with much more than just coordinating meetings or tracking billing. Their first objective is to act as a bridge between the established strategic plan and the project team, which is composed of several experts, so that the latter can reach their established targets and provide business value. The PM is responsible for mitigating any unexpected elements and events and for promptly redefining the scope of the project in order to ensure the delivery of high-quality work within expected time frames.
As with a flight, a project’s success happens first through teamwork and the incomparable skills of its members. Part of Adviso’s set of values, skill is our defining element. Although the PM’s role is based more in soft skills than other professions, our organizational approach is infused with many different project management methodologies. This provides us with unusual adaptability, enabling us to respond to the specific needs of any type of client or mandate. Similar to an in-flight agent, an Adviso PM is not just concerned with the quality of the client’s experience and smooth roll-out of the work that is assigned to them. They also make use of a multitude of tools that ensure the daily advancement of projects as well as the realization of determined objectives. In this way the PM ensures that the expectations of every stakeholder are clarified from the very start of the work, as well as targets and the methods used to reach them. In the background, we track a project’s progression through every step of its realization while being careful about effectively communicating any relevant information needed at key steps along the way.
Obviously, the members of Adviso’s project management team don’t all have the same training or experience, but the parallels with airline transportation remain relevant. Basically, while you may not notice any management actually happening during the course of a project, it’s actively taking place throughout every process. It ensures fluid communication between parties and that timelines and budgets are respected and unexpected events are handled. It contributes to maintaining the satisfaction of clients as well as that of our internal team at Adviso.
At the end of the flight, it’s often the courtesy and availability of onboard attendants that stays with you, which contributes greatly to your desire to choose the same airline for your next trip. The same is true of Adviso’s client services. Our teams of specialists keep customer experience top of mind in order to ensure every project entrusted to them is brought to a successful conclusion. This is the added value of our approach—the excellence of our service. It’s what lets us proclaim loud and proud the difference of the Adviso experience!