4 Steps To Successful Remote Projects
Whatever part of the aisle you’re on, a business working with freelancer or an independent contractor working with multiple clients, you know that the world is branching out. I mean, we’ve been terraforming other planets and for all we know, people will be working from Mars in the future. The bottom line is that remote teams are here to stay and remote projects are something we should all master.
Project management has also known a lot of changes over the years. It has known plenty of growth and development, as well as great transformation, as operations in general needed to be faster and more efficient. Now PMs have another challenge: managing projects within teams that are fully or mostly remote. But all is not lost, so keep reading to learn 4 simple steps that can help you ensure your project goes well.
Your team is what fuels your project. So yes, these people are the human resources you need to complete the project and also to do it successfully. When you’re team is almost entirely remote and your communication relies heavily on emails and chats or comments, it’s easy to forget there’s people behind the screens.
Human contact can go a long away in building a cohesive team that pulls towards the same goal. Try to bring everyone together once in a while, for a face-to-face meeting. If you can do it at the beginning of the project, even better. As PM, you should also get to know everyone individually, as you will be the glue that holds the team together. Investing some time to know your team as people, and let them know each other as well, will help with:
- Easing the conversation – when people meet and can associate names with faces or roles with faces, it’s easier to converse
- Assigning tasks – if you get to know your team individually, you’ll be able to better assess their strengths and skills, which helps with a proper assignment of tasks
- Managing the team – it’s important to know which team members need more support or encouragement in delivering and who can deliver their part with little to no management at all.
Having advance knowledge of all these aspects will definitely help any PM plan and run their project more efficiently.
Step 2: Micro-manage remote projects
Micro-managing is not a desirable component of any project and it should not be taken literally here either. Ideally, you put together a team of skilled professionals who know what they have to do and do it well. But when it comes to remote teams, sometimes working in different countries and different time zones, checking in regularly may not be such a bad idea. Because working remotely can make team members feel out of touch sometimes. Having regular check-ins will help keeping your team engaged.
The best way to go about it is to schedule regular updates, which can be as short as 15 minutes. It’s important for everyone to give a quick status update, so that all team members understand what the others are working on. This will help strengthen the cohesiveness of the team, and their commitment to the same goals.
Step 3: Stick to a routine
Nothing kills remote projects faster than chaos. Setting up a fail proof process from the beginning is absolutely necessary when your team is spread out. Stick to your processes as much as you can, as routine is everyone’s best friend in this case. Depending on the length of the project, its complexity and its deliverables, the process can be tweaked and improved along the way.
Building a reliable routine is very important especially if your team is dispersed across different time zones. Because they all need to find a common ground in terms of timing. Without a schedule or a routine, the fly-ins and swift changes can definitely have an impact on performance.
Step 4: Make use of technology
What is collaboration today without technology? There is so many tools out there to help with project management, time tracking and even information access. But you need to find the right tools for you and your team. The type of tasks in the project, the routine you’ve set at the beginning, as well as the processes involved, will influence this.
The more integrated your tools are, the easier it will be for your team to make use of them. And for you to keep your project on track. Great software can also act as a clear window into the project’s timeline, so that everyone, not just the PM, can understand what are the tasks at hand, who’s responsible for what, the due dates for each task and so on.