Accept project collaboration tools
Successful remote project management depends on adopting the right project collaboration tools. Communication, file sharing, task management, and status tracking all need to be handled efficiently, which can be almost impossible with a distributed team if you don’t use the right tools.
Spreadsheets, emails and phone calls won’t cut it when everyone is in a different position. Cloud-based tools are the solution that all project managers need to do successfully. With cloud-based software, everyone has access to everything they need to fulfill their project responsibilities, regardless of their physical location.
Cloud-based tools that can be accessed from any device allow everyone to collaborate in real time, facilitating more streamlined workflows and situational clarity that would otherwise be hampered by physical distance between employees, writes management consultant Darlene DeRosa, PhD.
Without the right tools, your delivered team will strive to meet project goals.
Focus on making your team a team
Although your team may differ by distance, they are still a team. Project managers need to strive to build friendships between team members, which can be difficult when you can’t keep everyone in a room just to chat.
“Working remotely makes it difficult to be a real team from a workgroup,” wrote Chris Sims, Certified Scrum Instructor and founder of Agile Learning Labs. To make it better, he says project managers must deliberately “create frequent real-time connections between team members.”
One way to do this is through virtual connection sessions where team members can engage with each other without a formal agenda, writes Natasha Brown, a change management practitioner. In such meetings, encourage everyone to share their likes and dislikes so that they get to know each other and understand each other’s different character traits. It will build unity and strengthen the team you deliver.
This sense of solidarity goes a long way in creating an environment where everyone will support each other in ensuring the success of a project.
Celebrating success during a project is a big part of building team unity and encouraging everyone to continue working hard. When everyone works from home, however, it can be difficult to bring them all together to celebrate small and big victories. Planning a virtual celebration requires ingenuity and creativity.
If you have time to plan this, think of ways to have the same physical experience for your team, writes Joanne Davis, chief business systems consultant. Some ideas are arranging for everyone to eat pizza or open a gift (previously sent) at the same time, he explains.
If you do not have much time to plan ahead, arrange a virtual game for everyone at the meeting. Focusing on achieving what you do or how you celebrate is not as important as celebrating them as a team.
Managing a remote project team is not easy, especially if it is an unintentional situation that was not pre-planned. As you try to navigate through new processes and methods you may feel like you have lost something at sea. Just remember that everyone on the team is feeling the same way. Take on challenges: You can achieve your project goals by working remotely; All that is needed is a change in the way we think and act.
While this may be the result of COVID-19 quarantine, working from a distance can become your new routine.
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