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Remote working and effective project management

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by Startacus Admin

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How teams can work together effectively while working remotely. Guidance and advice for project managers and teams on working from home and staying engaged and productive.

For obvious reasons, there are many more people working from home than usual at the moment. While it is quite common for most of us to work for part of the time away from the office, the scale of what is happening at the moment is unprecedented. Project managers charged with continuing to deliver their engagements on time and on budget are facing particular challenges. They also need to keep their team engaged and productive.

pexels 273222Using digital workplace technology effectively is vital to doing this successfully. Technology can’t completely replace the close-knit team feeling that you can build up when sharing the same space with others but used correctly it enables the team to work towards their goals effectively.

1. Face to face communication remains really important - have a daily stand-up
When everyone is at home it is important to have frequent, though short, face to face meetings. Video conferencing tools enable everyone to join in a daily stand up meeting. That should be set first thing in the morning if everyone is in the same time zone, or at a convenient time for the team if not. Set the expectation everyone should stand up during the meeting- this genuinely helps to keep meetings focused and to the point.

The daily stand up helps people to prioritise their tasks according to what is going to help other members of the team succeed, and to stay focused as a group on the outcomes they are trying to deliver.

2. Set the expectation that everyone will keep their camera on
Agreeing a “cameras on” policy helps to set the tone. People can see each other and remote working effective project managementshare smiles and looks. Also, it helps everyone to stay engaged. If the camera is off and the microphone is muted, it is very easy for people to get distracted by something going on in the home - or on another tab on the laptop.
Keeping the camera on encourages everyone to be smartly dressed and to make sure they are working in a quiet part of the home - not at the breakfast bar with family life going on around them. That helps people to stay in work mode.

3. Review and rationalise the tools you are using currently
What collaborative tools are in use across your team? There can be a proliferation of apps in use in some organizations today. Have a discussion with your team about what tools they are using, why and for what. Are there project tools, messaging apps and chat groups that different people are using for different aspects of the work? Are there cracks between these various tiles? Is there a case for moving to a more joined-up approach?

Decide what kinds of tasks you want to collaborate on remotely and what information people need access to. If new software is needed, then involve the team in the selection process. During this process, focus on outcomes, not on the way you did things in the past. Maybe new technology is creating new possibilities of achieving your goals in a more effective way.remote working

4. Ensure access to relevant information
When you as a project manager are working remotely, it is important that you have access to real-time, accurate information that will enable you to deliver the work successfully. As well as knowing the scope, the outcomes and the milestones, it helps to have access to the commercial information, such as what margin it was sold at. The whole team will also need to be able to see information such as, how many hours were allocated to this project and how much is left? If the people on the ground can see that reality is departing from the plan, they will be able to draw attention to this issue at an early stage.

Being in the loop about what’s going on will enable people whatever their roles to make good decisions about what to do next. This can help prevent decision-making bottlenecks arising and everything grinding to a halt.

In conclusion, when the project manager and team are all working remotely, this may be an opportunity to explore some of the possibilities offered by new technology and the digital workplace.

By Sarah Edwards, CEO for International, Kimble Applications

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Published on: 17th March 2020

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