3 Key Project Management Tips for Remote Teams

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While remote work arrangements might seem like a project manager’s nightmare, following some key steps can make the setup simple and effective.

Remote work is one of those topics that can arouse all kinds of opinions: from ardent advocates who praise its rationality, flexibility and cost-saving characteristics, to more traditionally-minded opponents that believe humans work best when they are in real-life, physical proximity to each other.

With the Covid-19 crisis, remote working has for many companies become less a choice, and more a necessity.

However, as a company that has embraced remote working with our development teams spread between Mauritius, Madagascar and Vietnam for a long time, we feel we have the experience to share the lessons we have learned on how to make it work best, from a project management perspective.

So, read on to discover our top three project management tips for remote teams:

1. Get to Know People

One of the most important pieces of advice we can give to any project manager working with remote teams is to take the time and make the effort to really get to know who your team members are.

This is not to say that you need to know about their private lives. However, building a personal rapport with your remote employees or collaborators, as you would in an office setting, is only going to be beneficial in terms of their own sense of belonging to a project, and sense of responsibility and ownership over the outcome of projects that they work on.

While it may sound difficult to build a rapport with someone who you only communicate with digitally, there are some simple ways to make it happen:

  • Ask how they are,
  • Make yourself open to their opinions on projects,
  • Create a channel on your collaborative software suite where people can share fun or interesting topics that are unrelated to work.

2. Be Fully Involved

Remote project managers often have to juggle numerous projects at once. For smaller companies, it may be that you are trying to fulfil the roles of a company owner, salesperson and project manager all at the same time.

Such situations inevitably mean that you might want to resort to having as minimal input as possible in directing your remote teams – you make a request for some work and expect it back with as little communication as possible.

However, we would argue that if you really want to get consistently good work from your remote teams, you need to demonstrate that you are fully involved in the work, that you care and have thought about you want deeply, and expect a corresponding level of care and input from the team members that will be tasked with working on it.

A simple way to achieve this is by taking a bit of extra time to draft and present your work orders. For medium to larger tasks, it definitely makes sense to hold virtual meetings with the relevant team members to discuss the logic of your order, and to explain the requirements verbally.

If your team members know that you have done your homework on a project, they will be a lot more inclined to see the value in the work they are doing for you, and by extension, create better outcomes.

3. Monitor and Evaluate

Over the course of a project, keep notes on what is working, and what is not. Which deliveries are delayed, and which need more revisions than normal.

Following the completion of a project, use follow-up meetings to explain your observations of what worked well, what didn’t, and how to improve in the future. Ask your team members to provide their own feedback, and keep this logged in an organized way.

After a number of these meetings, you will be able to have an accurate picture of what has improved, and what needs work. By keeping these pain and power points organized, you will have a clearer understanding on how to optimize your project management processes in the future.

Want to find out more about how our remote teams can turn your IT and software development dreams into reality? Get in touch and we’ll be happy to start a conversation.

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