Say hello to our consultant, Simon Halliwell, who embarked on a telephony project manager role with our client, Vanquis Bank, earlier this month, working from his home office in North Lincolnshire. 
Here he describes the challenges the pandemic has brought when seeking new work, explains how keeping tabs on emerging trends strengthens personal professional development and why, despite years of experience, IT professionals must always be open to learning. 
As an experienced IT manager, I really enjoy the variety of work that I can turn my hand to. No two projects are ever the same, from very technical systems and software, to networking and security, all falling within the rigors of formal project management discipline. 
No matter how experienced you are, to succeed in this industry you must always be open to learning. Over the years, I’ve been lucky to have met some great people with incredible skills - it’s one of the things I really enjoy about my work. 
Iridium’s consultancy model has tremendous advantages for its clients. A client knowing that they will be supplied with capable specialists from a pool of tried and trusted associates, who are guaranteed to be a good fit both in capability and cultural fit, is gold dust. The ability to build a small support team around major clients within Iridium also helps to take some of the ‘bumps’ out of early on-boarding challenges, making for a smoother landing for new consultants to become effective more quickly. 
The pandemic has certainly made the seeking of new roles more challenging. I have worked from home for over 15 years, so the day-to-day experience hasn’t changed much for me. However, it was frustrating seeking new roles earlier in the year as many organisations pulled back on planned project work. On the positive side, I got all those DIY jobs done around the house. 
I believe we are heading towards a new normal. Not just in the UK, but globally. Work wise, more people will end-up with a blended mix of time spent at home and in the office, using that office time in a more targeted manner. This will bring new challenges in ensuring teams are not spending all day on conference meetings, with too many attendees, and ensuring everyone can access the support they need. 
I think that Agile is one area of project management that has seen huge strides in recent years, but is not a natural fit with distanced work modes. Project managers, agile coaches, scrum masters and the whole agile team needs to adapt to making those processes, designed around co-located teams, work in a prolonged distributed environment. This is particularly important in the early stages of a new project where a new approach to establishing those fresh working relationships will be required. 
I feel well prepared for the current world of work we all find ourselves in. Having worked remotely for many years, with teams distributed world-wide, I find myself in a good place. Looking forward, I suspect we will see an increase in Location Independent Agile (LIA) skills being sought for IT projects, and this is an area I would be looking to strengthen as part of my professional development. 
It’s important to be aware of the underlying trends in your particular profession. It’s up to the individual to take personal responsibility for gaining and maintaining the skills that they will need to succeed in, what will inevitably be, a more competitive employment market. 
It is rare that you find me in a room that does not contain a guitar. In ‘normal’ times, I run a couple of monthly folk acoustic music sessions in North Lincolnshire and in the past, I would be out playing at least once most weeks. Not being able to do this for the last six months has been one of the hardest parts of lockdown for me. 
The pandemic, in my opinion, can only strengthen the case for movement towards cloud computing services. This will remove reliance on specific locations and other single points of failure, whilst supporting distributed management and consumption of IT services. I’m not sure this is so much of a change, as it had significant momentum as we started the year, but I feel it can only grow as a result of the global response to COVID19. 
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