Remote Project Management - A Comprehensive Guide of How to Manage Remote Teams

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Remote Project Management

With the avalanche of technological advancements and because of the global pandemic, most people these days are working remotely. Data shows that over 70% of people globally work remotely at least once or twice a week. And almost all or 99% of people who work remotely say that they would prefer to continue working that way. Project managers who do remote project management must ensure that the projects run seamlessly and are delivered on time and within budget. Yes, doing this can be very tough, especially with a distributed team. Imagine handling resource management, ensuring all project milestones get achieved smoothly, and your team also stays happy. Sounds like a herculean task; isn't it? Open communication and inspiring people are the key factors that enable remote project management. But if you want to streamline your processes with a distributed team, you should choose the right resource management software.

Defining Remote Project Management

Remote project management is when a project manager is managing a distributed team and the deliverables of projects remotely. This doesn't include any in-person interactions or coordination. The main goal of this type of project management also remains the same, which is to deliver the projects within the decided timeline. But it's important to note that the implications and challenges vary between the two. Remote working is a norm or accepted model these days. This is because the internet facilitates collaboration between teams located in different places, or even maybe all around the world. Remote project management has also become common because of the Coronavirus pandemic. Though it is easy for people to work remotely it's difficult for project managers to manage people and projects with a distributed workforce. For successful remote project management, managers should use a different approach than what they would in a traditional scenario.

Best Practices to Master Remote Project Management

1. Develop a shared vision with clear project specs

Want to set up your project for success? The first step is to lay an accurate and robust foundation. Having a detailed project spec enables to identify of any assumptions and smoothen communication among the team and stakeholders. It also enables to documentation the scope and budget of the project and schedule the baselines. Charting out a detailed spec ensures that everyone is on the same page and helps you to set expectations for each resource. Using the right collaboration tools or resource management software helps build detailed project specs with ease. If you build your project specs in a Cloud-based tool, it will remain a live document that is updated in real-time. In case you need to amend any timeline or milestone, you can open the document, make changes, and simply tag the relevant resources so that they are informed. It's that easy and streamlined.

2. Choosing the right team members for the project

What is the most important ingredient for a project to succeed? If you get the right and ample number of resources, your project is surely set up for success. Even while working with remote teams, if you hire the right people who have the right competencies and expertise, then they will easily complete the project on time, within budget, and deliver a good quality product. However, working remotely requires a certain amount of autonomy and responsibility. Therefore, choosing the right team members becomes imperative so that they can do their work independently and you can trust them that they will deliver.

3. Open and seamless communication

If you are managing remote teams, you can't afford to not have timely communication. It can be disastrous. Not only can it delay your projects, but lack of proper communication can make your virtual team fall apart. As a project manager, you need to inform the team members about who needs to do what and the related timeline right at the beginning. As distributed teams can't coordinate in person, you need to create various communication channels – both formal and informal – to ensure nothing is missed. For this, you can use collaboration and messaging tools or good resource management software. This will ensure that any important updates are not missed or overlooked. It will also provide visibility to what is completed and what is pending. Such a tool also facilitates sharing data, serving as a data repository, time-tracking, and a lot more.

4. Get the right resource management software

Deciding which resource or project management tool is a very important factor as you'll use it for a long time. When selecting a resource management software, you should ensure that:

It has all the right features you need

Create a list of your requirements and then the features you need in the resource management software. Next, shortlist a few tools and make comparisons in the best ones.

The tool can be customized as per your needs

It's important to ensure that the tool you choose can be customized to suit your resource workflow and specific requirements.

It is easy to use

It's vital that the tool you select is easy to use and you don't have to spend time and effort in training your team on its usage.

Fits your budget

Ensure that you opt for a solution that suits your team size and fits your budget.

5. Document each process and do as many automations as possible

At times even the most structured and well-planned projects can go off-track or fail. This majorly happens if the resources don't understand what needs to be done and how. In the case of remote teams, it's better to list all tasks and sub-tasks, and their standard operating procedures (SOPs). If these how-to guides are available to the team members easily, then they can achieve their goals. Therefore, it's important to ensure the following:

  • Outline the process or project scope.
  • Decide the constraints and boundaries.
  • Classify the inputs and outputs.
  • Explain all the process steps.
  • List the name of all the stakeholders.

6. Plan to train your resources

Project managers need to know the exact workload of each of their team members. It is important that besides work activities, the managers provide a paid time-off to their team to take a break, while also offering them growth opportunities to train and evolve as better resources. It's also important to make the most of your team's time during the project lifecycle while allowing them to polish their skills. This will help you prepare a better team for future projects. Moreover, if your resources have better competencies, your business will have an edge over other competitors and you will be able to complete more work in shorter cycles.

7. Maintain regular check-ins

Another thing to keep in mind is to check in with your team members regularly while doing remote project management. Especially when you are handling a distributed team, you should make an extra effort to communicate, discuss issues, and ask if they have questions. This way, you can check if things are on track and if your team needs any help in anything. Virtual or online meetings also help to build stronger relationships with every member. Lastly, find the right balance for communication and check-ins so that your team doesn't feel that you are micro-managing, and they can concentrate on completing their tasks.

8. Monitor and measure utilization and productivity

How can a project manager know if his team is fully occupied and is performing as expected? This becomes a challenge, especially while doing remote project management. So, managing your remote teams efficiently drills down to monitoring resource utilization and productivity. But this needs to be done without micro-managing your people. So, it's tricky and you need to create the right balance. A resource management software proves to be handy here. Not only does it give you resource utilization rates on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis but you can also measure their overall productivity. This way, you will know when someone is over or under-utilized and allocate accordingly. You can also create optimal schedules, estimate available hours, and assign competent remote resources.

Choose a Leading Resource Management Software for Remote Project Management

Enbraun's eResource Scheduler is an effective resource management software that enables you to manage your remote teams seamlessly. You can use this tool to plan projects, schedule resources, track their utilization and performance, and a lot more. This Cloud-based tool is specially designed to help businesses of different scales and sizes globally. Its client-server architecture facilitates multiple users to collaborate and share data in real-time, which is a big benefit for distributed teams. If you want to check out this software yourself, sign up for a free trial now.

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