If there is one thing that project managers are going to have to become more accustomed to, it is working with remote teams. The digital workplace connects professionals from all over the world. Technology has advanced to the stage whereby it is possible for businesses to tap into the best talent, rather than being confined by the restraints of what is available locally. This means that the face of project management has changed as a consequence, and below you will find plenty of information on how to efficiently manage remote project teams.
What are some of the challenges project managers face when it comes to remote team management?
– Overcoming gaps in communication
– Determining the best testing process
– Establishing what the client wants
– Monitoring, managing and paying your team
– Finding reliable contractors
– Managing team tasks efficiently
– Keeping your team cohesive
As you can see, there are a number of potential challenges you will face when managing a remote project. Therefore, one of the first things you always need to do is establish the challenges that relate to your project specifically. After all, there are a lot of things that can go wrong with any project, especially a remote project, which is why being prepared is a must. Some of the common issues include team members not knowing what is expected of them while you won’t know how to measure their efforts. Not only this, but communication gaps can lead to inefficiencies, as team members may end up working on the same thing without realising.
Communication and collaboration: Use a common software platform for all team members
It is important to invest in premium quality project management intranet software so that your team can collaborate efficiently. This enables everyone to stay in touch with one and other, as well as allowing you to track work with ease. You will also want to use some form of instant messenger, enabling everyone to converse with ease. Plus, don’t discourage general chitchat either; it will make people feel like they are in a team even if they have never met. You need to spend a considerable amount of time determining the best communication channels for your team. There are lots of productivity apps available today, that enable you to monitor the progress of your team, and you can also implement targets for your team members to reach on a daily basis. Communication apps are also important, enabling people to collaborate with ease despite being in a different location. Make sure you select something with a user-friendly and quick interface. You should also be able to transfer files securely, as well as having numerous options for communication so that people can collaborate on projects together.
Deal with different time zones and respect cultural differences
The time difference can be one of the most challenging things for people to deal with when managing remote teams. This is especially the case if there is no overlap between your working day and the working day of your remote workers. You need to ensure you have a procedure in place for providing updates. Not only this but if you need to have a meeting or a conference call, vary who has to stay at work later or go to work earlier. You also need to respect cultural differences. From religious holidays to working practices, you must recognise that workers from different countries have different values and a different working culture. Don’t allow friction to mount because of this. Understand their perspective and respect the cultural differences.
Be transparent and establish clear roles and responsibilities
Last but not least, for any project manager, establishing clear responsibilities and roles is a necessity. This is even more so the case when it comes to dealing with remote teams. Everyone needs to have a full understanding regarding what their role is and how it has an impact on everyone else in the team. Clear communication is critical because it is incredibly easy for responsibilities to get blurred. Again, this is where choosing the right software comes in. You also need to ensure you maintain high levels of transparency. This needs to come from both sides, not just your remote team, but you too. Keep everyone in the loop!
All in all, if you take everything that has been discussed into account, you should have no trouble efficiently managing your remote team. Yes, there will be new challenges that present themselves, but if you use the advice provided, you should be able to manage your team and ensure successful results. It is all about having the right technology in place, as well as being highly organised in terms of your processes and milestones.
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