Project managers have a bit of adapting to do now that we’ve entered the remote work landscape. Strategies and methods must shift, new ways of working must be implemented—and keeping track of team members in various parts of the world is essential.
Naturally, if you don’t stay on top of your projects, deadlines are missed, the project might fail, and customers will be left unhappy. Managing projects, then, in a remote landscape is critical for your team and delivering excellent customer service. This is especially true now that it’s projected that 73% of teams will have a remote workforce by 2028.
The good news is that there are businesses just like yours that have already adapted to the change. In this article, we’ll be showing you how you, too, can manage projects in the new remote work landscape.
As a project manager, it is, of course, your job to manage your projects and your teams.
Now that you’re working remotely, being available to your team members means being available where they can reach you. This might mean email or using a communication tool (more on tools below).
Essentially, you need to make it clear to your team that they can reach you when they need you. You won’t always be online, but it’s important to, for example, switch notifications on so that you’re able to respond to your team members as soon as possible.
Make it clear what your working hours are, too. When can they reach you and when can’t they reach you?
Project managers that are inaccessible for many hours during the day to their team members will find it hard to sustain productivity and morale among employees. Find a communication channel that works for you and your team and stick to it.
Be Clear About Everyone’s Roles
Whether you manage a project in an office or remotely, it’s crucial that you’re clear about everyone’s roles.
It’s doubly crucial for remote teams because there’s more distance involved, which can lead to misunderstandings and delivering bad customer service.
Before you begin a project, clarify each member’s role. Is the writer just a writer, or will they be responsible for sourcing the images, too? Will that be the salesperson’s role?
When everyone knows their jobs and tasks, they’ll stay on track more. Productivity will also increase and there’ll be less time delays, which is perfect for delivering projects on time to your customers.
Moreover, your team will come to trust you more, which is also essential for remote project managers.
Whenever you hire a new team member, then, be clear about what it is you expect from them. Clearly outline their roles in a task. Invite them to ask any questions to further clarify things.
Be Clear About a Project’s Timeline
As well as setting out everyone’s goals, you should also make it clear what a project’s timeline is.
What needs to be completed by what time?
To help you create a project timeline, here are some tips:
- Define your goals. What are the objectives of this project?
- Note down key milestones
- Implement an estimated timeframe (this can be adjusted early in a project but must be finalized at some point)
- Create a visual roadmap
- Review your project timeline with your stakeholders
Once you’ve got this information, the next step is to share it with your team members. When you relay this information to your remote team, you’re more actively involving them in the project. This improves motivation and a desire to get things done.
Organize Regular Remote Meetings
When you’re in the office, you can interact with your team members one-on-one each day. Now that you’re in charge of a remote team, this is no longer possible.
This means that organizing team meetings is a) crucial but b) a little bit harder to do.
It’s harder to do because people might be in different time zones. If this is the case, set up a group chat in a team communication channel.
Then, ask everyone when is a good time for them to have a team meeting.
Choose the most popular time and day that works best for the entire team. Then, try to schedule a meeting for this time and day each week if you can.
Organizing at least one weekly meeting is crucial to ensure your team is aware of any changes. It also gives everyone the chance to provide feedback and it encourages collaboration.
It’s nearly impossible to manage projects well unless you use tools. Tools are there to aid and assist you and your team, and in 2022 there’s practically a tool for everything. They help you plan projects, manage team members, set deadlines—and more.
All in all, they boost:
A good project management tool should be affordable, but it should also come with enough capabilities so that you can:
- Chat to your team one-on-one
- Create group chats
- Assign tasks easily
- Host video calls and phone calls
- Schedule meetings
There are lots of excellent project management tools on the market. These include Slack, which comes with a number of integrations.
You can also use a kanban project management tool, such as Asana or Trello. These are collaborative tools that bring your team together in one place, and allow you to see a complete overview of your project. You can create separate channels for different group chats, as well as send instant messages to each member.
You could also look into using video conference calls tools, such as Skype and Zoom. While a project management tool like Slack comes with a video call feature, tools that are designed specifically for conference calls are often more beneficial for group calls.
Not sure about the costs? Consider exploring startup loans to ensure your team benefits from the right tools.
Onboard Your Team
It’s important that you encourage your whole team to join your project management tool. This is because managing a project remotely is much easier and more efficient when your team is in one place. As well as messaging you, they can also message each other.
For example, your editors and writers can stay connected, as can your graphic designers. Everyone is within easy reach, no matter where they are in the world.
Not just that, but you should try to encourage your team to switch their notifications on and to use your tools as much as possible. Just as you need to be available to your team as a project manager, your team members need to be available to each other.
This is why it’s essential that you help your team during the onboarding process. If someone is struggling to adapt to a tool, make sure to reach out to them. Consider creating a video using Loom to walk them through the onboarding process.
Managing a project remotely will require you to wear several hats. And while you don’t have to be the most organized person in the world, it helps to make sure everyone knows what they need to do (and by what time), and that you and your team are within easy reach of each other.
Using tools will take a huge load off but, more than anything—communication will be key so that everyone stays in the loop, morale remains high, and productivity soars.