You’re not alone. There are thousands of remote teams around the world who struggle with project management and daily operations. It's no surprise; working from a distance can be difficult.
You don't need to sink hours into extra training, coaching, or consultancy sessions (or pay for them). We’ve compiled this guide to help you assess the project management maturity of your team and see where improvements can be made. Remember, project management is an ongoing process so don’t expect quick results.
Being able to communicate with your remote team is crucial for their well-being and productivity. A remote worker who struggles to communicate is likely to be lacking the control and sense of direction they need.
A way around this can be introducing certain protocols, such as regular catchups via video meetings. 1-on-1 or small group video calls can help to prevent people from feeling overwhelmed while offering you the chance to maintain your authority.
As the manager, you should also consider whether delegation is an issue for your team. Do they know what projects they're responsible for? Is there enough direction in terms of not only the final goal but how to reach that goal? If work is handed down via email without due process, it can lead to misunderstandings and confusion.
Review workflows and make sure your team understands their roles. You should also consider if the workload is manageable for all of them (not just you); there might be too much work to delegate, requiring other members of the team to learn new skills.
Lack of direction and miscommunication around delegation can lead to a lack of control; the opposite of what you need if you’re working remotely. If your team is struggling, ask yourself:
Are they aware of their projects?
Is work handed down with no clear workflow or method?
Is there enough direction in terms of not only the final goal but how to reach that goal?
Are there too many projects for your team to handle?
If you identify any of these points, it’s time to implement some changes. Regular catchups via Google+ chats or Skype calls can help. You might also consider giving delegated tasks a due date and then following upon them.
If you’re struggling to communicate due to the distance, perhaps it’s time for a change of management software.
It happens; even the best remote teams will be affected by moments of miscommunication or lack of direction.
The difference between a successful team and an underperforming team is how they react. Some teams will continue to work in the same way, with the same output, meaning their project gets pushed back until eventually its deadline can no longer be met.
What separates successful remote teams from unsuccessful ones is that they adapt when things go wrong. They’ll use new strategies or methods to ensure deadlines are met, remain on a budget, or even push back.
Improve productivity by breaking up projects into clear chunks that your team can understand and measure. Your project management tool should also have the ability to monitor real-time data so you’re constantly aware of where your project is heading.
If deadlines are being missed due to miscommunication, try establishing new protocols to help with delegations.
Keeping clients involved is important for many of the same reasons keeping your team on track is; if you’re struggling to do either of these things, it could be symptomatic of larger problems
Sometimes there are external factors that affect a team’s ability to communicate. In these cases, it could be a case of working harder or using new technologies to help with correspondence.
Perhaps the most effective way to keep clients involved is by implementing a flexible project management tool that has powerful reporting features.
If you’re not sure which one to pick, consider their software compatibility with your current systems - it could become integral to helping you stay on top of everything.
You have the facts, but how do you relay them? If you’re finding that team members are making decisions based on opinions instead of facts, it might be time to reconsider your project management processes.
A good project management tool will provide you with the necessary reporting needed to make educated decisions. Use it regularly to review where you’re at in terms of reaching goals and how close they are to deadlines.
For larger projects, data can be used to find out if a project is behind or ahead of schedule so that resources can be redistributed accordingly.
If you want to ensure all of your team are working in the same direction, try implementing a project management tool with Gantt charts so you can see everything laid out for you.
With this information at your fingertips, it makes it far easier to make educated decisions and effectively distribute resources so deadlines can be met.
As a project manager, it's up to you to keep your projects on task and moving forward. Your team already has certain tools that help them get the job done: an agile workflow, source control software like Git or SVN, and of course the right software for each step of the process.
But what happens when those tools don't work together? What if your team doesn't have a way of tracking their tasks and progress, or sharing files and feedback? Then you may be setting yourself up for failure.
Project management software is the key to getting your projects done on time and within budget. Not only can it simplify even the most complicated processes, but it also provides the tools you need to get work done faster, more efficiently, and with fewer distractions.
Plus, it's got some additional benefits that are pretty sweet—but only if your team is using it. See how your remote team can benefit from comprehensive project management software:
One of the toughest parts of being a remote worker is the distance between you and your coworkers.
Even with great technology, it can be incredibly difficult to communicate ideas in a rapid-fire way, much less build rapport when it feels like everyone is living on opposite coasts (or even opposite hemispheres).
Project management software creates connectivity by providing your team with one central location for all of their notes, ideas, feedback, and documents. It streamlines the workflow by taking all of your conversations from multiple tools and consolidating them in one place.
Remote workers have a lot going for them—flexible hours, getting to work from home or a coffee shop, a clean separation between work and life.
As a project manager, you're probably already familiar with the pluses and minuses of working remotely. The biggest drawback can be difficulties in managing an efficient workflow.
Project management software streamlines your processes by making sure every task has a home, every idea is mentioned, and everyone can stay on the task before they get distracted by pesky things like Facebook and Instagram.
Projects need to be completed within a certain time frame and on budget—if you are not, your clients will start looking for other companies to work with.
Of course, the best-laid plans go wrong from time to time; maybe you lose focus, or someone on your team needs a little extra help.
Project management software makes it easier to keep track of every task while giving your team the freedom they need to get creative and add their flair. You can monitor deadlines from every angle, ensuring that everyone stays on track and tasks are completed on time.
So, what are you waiting for? Your team will thank you when they finally see the light at the end of the (project) tunnel.