Don’t forget the people!
During the lockdown one of the main things a lot of us have realised is that, despite our differences, we have so much in common and rely on people more than we probably realised. We come from varying backgrounds, but often face common challenges.
At Issured, we work in partnership with organisations from a variety of sectors internationally and have noticed that they often want to achieve similar goals. At the same time, we have also seen the same sorts of mistakes being made in pursuit of those changes. One of the most frequent is assuming that everyone will both understand and support change.
This year has not only pushed us all into making significant changes, but also meant that we have had to make all of those changes quickly. Over halfway through this year, we can look back and see that it wasn’t just one big change – there has been an ongoing change. Everybody is learning from this as we go along. We’ve all had to adopt new behaviours and adapt to behavioural changes from everybody around us.
During the lockdown, a lot of people have lost their regular routines that provided some level of security. As with any other change we seek to put into place, people will want to know the impact on them personally – beyond the more generic view of the future. Painting a picture of the new routine(s) in communications allows people to visualise how they fit in and what their new routine(s) might be more easily. This can help to limit some of the barriers in their change journey.
When considering any large changes within an organisation it may seem more convenient to look at how others do it and borrow some of their ideas. A common assumption is that when good ideas are borrowed and implemented, they will work in the same way. Sadly, much like t-shirts bought online, they don’t always look the same as they did on the model.
Looking outside of your organisation for ideas and inspiration is never a bad idea. However, as important as it is to recognise and assess a potential solution that’s been utilised elsewhere, it is equally important to understand how and why it worked. At the centre of any answer will be the people and the culture.
How do you know you are ready to make that change? If you’re new to the organisation or industry, then it can seem quite a daunting task to assess change readiness. Hopefully you understand the need for you to take your people with you to make a success of any potential change. You took the time to carry out research externally, and it is just as important to carry out research internally.
Employees work with company information on a daily basis and can be the first line of defence, when working remotely or with customers and clients at their sites. However, we all have a responsibility in maintaining safe and secure working practices and procedures.
When we work in an office environment, we work side by side with colleagues and this can help to provide focus and reinforce our security awareness. However, in this current climate, when working remotely, we lose that daily interaction and may lose sight of the threats and scams that loom close by. It therefore becomes even more important that we remain vigilant, ensuring we take a moment to deal with potential threats or scams that may come from emails, texts or telephone calls.
Criminals are experts at impersonating people, organisations and even the police, through direct contact or via the internet. They may spend hours researching you for their scams (looking you up on social media), hoping you’ll let your guard down just for one moment…
It’s upsetting, but not surprising that scammers are using the concern of the current pandemic to increase their activity. Over the last couple of months we have seen:
- Government brands to trick people, including HMRC making spurious offers of financial support through unsolicited email, phone calls and messages.
- Mobile phone company branded scams stating failed payments, with threats of phone suspension or fines through phone messages.
- Online shopping scams where people have ordered face masks, hand sanitisers and other products which have never arrived.
These criminals are exploiting COVID-19 to scam people and this is only likely to increase. Therefore you need to be aware and prepared…
- STOP – Take a moment to stop and think before clicking on links or parting with your money, your personal or work related information.
- CHALLENGE – Could it be fake? It’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Criminals will try to rush or panic you – don’t let them.
- PROTECT – Contact your organisation’s information security point of contact and inform your line manager if you think you’ve had an incident at work. Contact your bank or relevant providers directly if you think you’ve been the victim of scam and don’t be afraid to call 101 or use an online crime reporting tool on your Force’s website to report it to the police.
Look after yourselves, your friends and your family members and stay safe.
As a Project Manager, or PM, you can feel like ‘a Jack of all trades and master of none’. But ultimately you are a problem solver, getting the right people in a room at the right time, ensuring everyone is clear on requirements and driving the work forward to meet project objectives, timelines and budget.
You are required to juggle many tasks simultaneously and keep everyone happy!
Here are our top tips for fledgling Project Managers in digital transformation projects.
1. Understand the relevance and importance of project documentation, such as Highlight Reports. Whilst Highlight Reports may seem like a chore that come around all too often, they are a really important method of communicating with other areas within the project/programme/portfolio. The report is an opportunity to provide reassurance to key stakeholders that milestones are being met, flag any issues and celebrate key achievements and successes.
2. Don’t suffer in silence! Ask for help, advice and guidance. Your team will be made up of a variety of people, from varied backgrounds with a wealth of experience. Leverage their knowledge to help you out and increase your own understanding.
3. Your Programme Manager is your friend, not your enemy. Work as a team, learn from their experience and harness their knowledge.
4. Ensure everyone is involved and included. Demonstrating Project Ethics such as honesty, integrity and respects for others ensures that’s no-one is kept in the dark and everyone is working to the same plan, with the same situational understanding. This will create a cohesive team and will ultimately help you achieve your goals.
5. Gain an understanding of other roles within your team. Try to spend some time shadowing or doing some ‘go learn’ sessions with other roles. It will help you to plan better and you will have a greater understanding of timescales. They won’t be able to pull the wool over your eyes if you have some knowledge of their ‘world’!
6. “You can’t change what happens, but you can change the way you feel and deal with a situation.” If something isn’t working as well as expected, keep calm and take a different approach. Leverage your tools such as the risk and issue register to ensure that you have mitigations in place to manage and monitor these efficiently and effectively, and do not be afraid to escalate when required.
7. It’s ok to make mistakes as long as you learn from them. Keep a record of any lessons learned throughout the project, review and make any recommendations at the end of the project, revisiting them before a new project starts.
8. Your PRINCE2 book is your bible –dust it off and use it!
9. You will become Chief Nagger! You may not have control of people’s workloads, priorities or those who are avoiding getting a task completed, but you need to remain persistent to ensure the project stays on track. Mix up your approach to keep people interested. These tools may help:•Use an action plan•Call for a ‘catch up’ •Hold a practical workshop•Introduce a tracker spreadsheet to demonstrate tasks that need completing etc.
10. Try and see new or daunting tasks as a positive opportunity. An opportunity to learn a new skill –no one will ever be able to take that away from you. As a PM, you are always exposed to new experiences, new areas of work etc. You may not be an expert in these areas,but you will always be learning, meaning you will be armed with the knowledge for the next occasion.
11. Be prepared for anything! Don’t assume or take anything for granted.
12. Look after yourself. Take time to do something for you and your wellbeing throughout the day. At times, projects can feel all-consuming, but time spent looking after yourself will leave you feeling refreshed and hopefully less overwhelmed.
In October, Issured were thrilled to join the HMG’s Department of International Trade (Defence and Security) at the UK Pavilion at the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Conference in Chicago.
Criminal Justice Information Systems (CJIS) Committee
Preceding the exhibition, we attended the Criminal Justice Information Systems (CJIS) Committee as part of our ongoing commitment to support law enforcement at an international level. This consisted of leading the work on the CJIS Benefits Task Force where we are developing a re-usable and standardised approach to the identification and definition of the benefits delivered by new policing capabilities. Our task force consists of members from the Integrated Justice Information Systems Institute (IJIS) Institute, Canadian Police, Chiefs of Police from the US and the FBI. We’re incredibly pleased to report that the work to date has been received with a fantastic reception, with a leading CJIS representative reporting:
“Great presentation. This will change the way police agencies justify expenditures and successfully apply for funding. Every chief take notice – making a case for your department’s financial needs just got a whole lot easier!”.
Our work will continue into the new year when we hope that the approach will be adopted across all workstreams and committees within the IACP.
Following on from our work with CJIS, Issured joined the Department of International Trade at the UK Pavilion within the IACP Exhibition. During the four days of exhibiting we met many Chiefs of Police and Senior VIP’s to discuss the products and services that we provide.
Our new MEA:Connexus product, a platform agnostic video interview solution that uses Blockchain to make all video interviews immutable, gained a great deal of interest from Chiefs of Police and Commissioners due to its ability to interview witnesses and victims remotely while maintaining evidential integrity for production in a court of Law. We were advised of the increase in public satisfaction that the product would enable by allowing members of the public to be in contact with law enforcement officers at a time and location convenient to them.
We were extremely grateful to those we spoke to who highlighted additional use cases for the product and are pleased to report that we have continued to develop the product, based on the feedback and enthusiasm provided by the attendees at the exhibition.
Also of great interest to our colleagues in the US and other countries was our Design and Delivery Services. We were repeatedly asked about our experience in leading the design and delivery of digital transformation within UK Policing through the National Police Chiefs Council’s Digital Policing Portfolio (DPP). Large Police Forces and agencies were very keen to start exploring how Issured may be able to support them based on our vast experience.
We’re continuing to liaise with our contacts in the US, Canada and other countries and hope to be working with them in the near future to support the challenges that Law Enforcement faces worldwide.
Autism Awareness Month 2019
As April is Autism Awareness Month in the UK, we wanted to talk to you about our work making society a fairer place for those with Autism Spectrum Disorder. While society has progressed somewhat in recognising and catering to the diverse needs of people with autism, there are still barriers to equal opportunities – especially in the workplace where there is a significant ‘autism gap’:
- Around 1% of the population in the UK are diagnosed with ASD
- 32% of people with autism are in paid work compared to 47% of disabled people
- Only 16% of adults with autism are in full time employment
- Most importantly, 77% of unemployed people with autism say they want to work.
*Data from the National Autistic Society
Bringing Autism Awareness to the Workplace
We believe the autism gap needs to be closed, and that those who want to work should be able to. That’s why Issured are incredibly proud to invest in and support TRACK, an organisation that supports people on the autistic spectrum to access employment through:
Autism Awareness Training and Consultancy
People are often reluctant to talk about autism, which can lead to an unfriendly or unsuitable workplace for people with ASD. Autism awareness is shown to benefit businesses, with some companies reporting that staff with ASD and the right level of support are 48%-140% more productive than their colleagues. TRACK offer a range of training and consultancy programmes to help businesses make minor adjustments to their recruitment and HR policies and be more inclusive for their ASD colleagues.
TRACK are focused on providing opportunities for people with autism, including work placements at their Northampton town centre Café. After all, recruiters are looking for previous work experience! Alongside the placements they provide, they are also creating a network of employers with a good level of autism awareness so that young people with autism know which companies will be understanding of their unique challenges.
How do YOU Promote Autism Awareness?
We would love to see more organisations helping people with autism achieve their career aspirations by removing barriers to their employment. So, during this Autism Awareness Month, why not commit to making your business more accessible to a group of willing, talented people? Head over to TRACK’s website to find out how they can help you.
In the increasingly digital world, ineffective cyber security can have disastrous results for an organisation. The average cost of a ransomware attack is £6.5million and just 33% of all cyber security incidents involve a malicious file. With data breaches taking on average 191 days to discover and 66 days to contain, preventing cyber attacks through a sufficient cyber security strategy is of utmost importance and could save your company from significant financial and reputational harm.
So, what does good cyber security look like?
Understand Cyber Security Risks
The first stage of making sure your business is cyber safe is to understand and analyse the potential risks to your business. Your most valuable asset is your company data, so ensuring it is kept safely and securely should be at the forefront of your analysis. Consider legal and regulatory responsibilities alongside how breaches could occur and what people could do with your data.
Adequate IT Infrastructure with Good Controls
Making sure your IT infrastructure is robust enough to identify, disrupt and prevent cyber security breaches is an essential ingredient in a good cyber security strategy. It is not enough to ensure that external attackers can’t access your systems; all IT systems should have individual log-ins, access levels and audit capabilities to protect yourself from dishonest activity.
Strong Processes with Cyber Security in Mind
The next stage of becoming cyber safe is to refresh of all your IT processes and ensure they are fit for purpose; from email and internet usage policies, to password security and adequate controls. This is also a good opportunity to protect the reputation of your organisation through a strong social media policy that prevents confidential information from being shared online.
A Trained and Knowledgeable Workforce
External breaches disguise themselves as internal ones as quickly as possible to fool employees into opening the door to your company data. That’s why it’s essential that your staff are properly equipped to deal with potential and actual breaches. Staff should undertake regular training that informs them about their responsibilities towards cyber security and how to fulfil them.
Issured offer full-service digital transformation with cyber security in mind. We don’t just deliver a new strategy; we partner with you to embed the transformation into every level of your business and realise tangible results. Contact our experts to find out how we can transform your vision into reality.