When the world settles after the COVID-19 pandemic, the probability of more businesses opting for a remote working scheme will be higher. Since physical distancing will be the new normal, working from home is a good alternative for project managers.
If you're ready to shift to a remote work setup, careful planning is essential. As a project manager, you might have a tough time adjusting, especially if you are used to working on site. Here are some best practices to help you work and competently manage a project like you're working with your team face-to-face.
Organization is essential to a project manager
It is vital for the project manager to plan for working outside the office. Inform all the project stakeholders about the plan—from office management to project team members to the client. Choose the best method to communicate. Determine the project management collaboration tool to use. Define responsibilities, set timelines, and maintain documentation.
Project managers use project management tools
A project management tool helps you to stay on top of things. Several project management apps include chat functions, while some have video chat features. Data security is also important, so choose a secure app. A modern project manager would opt for project management in an Agile approach, which is more flexible and adaptable. Using an agile project management software fits the requirements of a remote-working project manager.
You can check out Asana, ChatWork, Glip, Quip, Basecamp, HeySpace, SamePage, or Bitrix24. Sharing screens help in gathering real-time updates and feedback. Using any of these apps will keep all your discussions in one place. Use the project management collaboration tool to determine deliverables, send reminders, and assign tasks. Use the tool to track changes and progress. Some tools have features to convert discussions into assignments.
Communication is key to a good project manager
You cannot see your team members anytime if you're working remotely, so regular and timely communication is vital. When you're working from home, it is easy to slack off from your duties as the project manager. The same is true for your team. Trust is essential. See to it that you are building a project management team you can trust. Do not gather a group of individuals who only waits for instructions before starting to work.
Set up regular meetings. Be sure to send out an agenda before the meeting. An agenda lets team members know beforehand the goal of the meeting and the things for discussion.
If it is going to be a milestone presentation involving the client and company executives, sending a slide deck before the meeting is a good idea. The slide deck gives the participants time to review and give feedback, which is very vital for someone who works offsite.
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Create a project manager workspace
See to it, as a project manager, that you are inspired and ready to work every day, even if you work remotely. Set an area or room in your house as your mini office. Or find a shared working space that has a room to meet with clients. Set some house rules if you have children in the house, so they will not distract or disturb you during work hours. Likewise, even if you're in your home office, you need to dress for work. It will set the tone for the day, remind you that you are working, and keep you productive.
Being a project manager is demanding. Exercising your project manager role while working remotely requires planning. Use an excellent project management tool, and keep in constant communication with your team and your clients.