Top Tips For Remote Project Managers
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Remote project management isn't new, but that isn't to say it doesn't come without its challenges. Here are some top tips for remote project managers.
In today's amazing world of fast advancing technology, remote working is now part of many people's everyday work experience. In fact many companies are predicting that a large part of their workforce will be working remotely in the coming years. There are many reasons why remote working is something that should be embraced. It's better for the environment, enables the company to employ the best person for the job regardless of their location and enables the employee to have a better work-life balance. But that's not to say it doesn't come without some serious challenges and some disadvantages that you have to work hard to overcome.
Here are some tips for remote project managers:
Learn When You Are At Your Most Productive
Some elements of project management work are done individually, without any communication or collaboration with team members, management or stakeholders, such as preparing documentation or updating plans and reports. Complete this kind of work during your most productive periods but remember there comes a time to switch off; you are not needed for 24 hours a day, although it might feel like it sometimes. So stick to scheduled remote meeting times with senior management, your team and stakeholders and then use your productive time for individual work.
Set Out Remote Meeting Agendas Before They Happen And Have A Time Limit For Them
Email or send out a clear meeting agenda before it happens. This gives everyone time to prepare or gather information they will need on the meeting as well as ensuring the meetings stays on track to discuss what is most important. You should also set a time limit for the meeting so you don't end up wasting any time discussing trivial matters or making ot a social occasion.
Don't Just Have One Workspace
It's great to have a lovely home office set up which is quiet and supposed to be a 'no go' zone for the kids, but you need somewhere else to go occasionally – just like you would spend some part of your day in a meeting room or someone else's office.
Have Some Personality
Try not to be robotic on all your emails and messages - have some personality. Ask people how they are or if they had a good week-end just like you would if you were face to face with them working in the same building. You might be working remotely but you are all still people with thoughts and feelings after all.
Have A BackUp Computer Or Laptop
Your laptop is the key piece of equipment enabling you to do your job. Imagine having everything set up, Skype chat in full swing, various spreadsheets set up on the computer and SNAP, it dies and you're left wondering if libraries still let you pay to use the computer for an hour. Have a backup. It doesn't need to be as flash as your main laptop, just a cheap version will do. But you need something to tide you over until you can get yours fixed, otherwise you'll be in real trouble when it decides to break down exactly when you need it not to.
Ensure You Are Clear and Direct
You will be writing a lot of your communications rather than talking face to face so get used to be extremely clear and direct. Written communication can be taken the wrong way or misinterpreted if it isn't clear, so take time to make it as clear as possible.
Remember, you will face challenges as a remote project manager, but you're completely able to do it well as long as you're flexible, willing to compromise and have a sense of humour.
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