How to Manage Projects Remotely

1 November 2016
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More and more companies are engaging freelance and external contractors, and more projects are being managed remotely. This accomplishes a few things. It allows companies to work with the best talent, no matter where in the world they may be, and it increases productivity – while some people are sleeping on one side of the world – the others are awake and working on the other.

But it’s not all rosy.

Managing projects remotely definitely comes with its fair share of challenges. Here are some tips for increasing project success with remote teams.

Know Who You’re Working With:

Projects are run by the people who make up your team. If your team is located remotely, it’s crucial to get to know them individually! Hop on a few Skype calls or Google Hangouts one-on-one and as a team. Get a feeling for how they communicate, how responsive they are, where they will be working from and what their expectations are. As the Project Manager, you want to clearly understand what their needs and work habits are.

This step cannot be overlooked! If you expect quality, and I know you do, you’ll want to invest some time getting to know the people who will be working with you.

Time Planning:

You don’t ever want to get stuck in the planning phase, but you don’t want to skip it either. Get as detailed as you can with use cases and a Q&A section. Plan out milestones and delivery dates, and get hyper clear on the quality of work you expect.

Clear Goals:

What do you expect the project to achieve? Is this expectation(s) unanimous among all stakeholders? A project manager has to set out the initial project objectives and then continue to communicate them throughout the project life cycle. Keeping your team working towards a common goal is the critical for keeping a seemingly disparate team unified.

Keep the team updated regularly with weekly or bi-weekly team “stand-up” meetings, where everyone gives a quick update on what they’re working on and any issues encountered.

Communication Standards:

And on that note, be clear about how and how often you expect to communicate. Although your team is remote and have a certain level of freedom, they need to feel accountable for their time. Set times for when you expect to speak with them. This becomes both increasingly important and difficult when you’re dealing with people in different time zones.

Setting up communication standards in advance will eliminate any misunderstandings – and if you’re having a hard time reaching someone, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone!

Setup The Right Tools:

Before you get underway with your project, setup all the tools for success. You can either choose to work on smaller stand alone solutions for each individual need, such as collaboration, task tracking, etc. Or, you can choose a comprehensive solution that encompasses all your project needs; either way you need some kind of work management software

For more information on how Genius Project on premise project management software can keep your team on track and collaborating with ease, check out the software’s social tool, Genius Live!

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