6 weeks ago I was dusting off my laptop, fishing out my Leap card and squeezing on to a packed train to set off for the office after 9 months on maternity leave. Little did I know that 3 days later I would be setting up my ‘office’ amongst sing-a-long Elmo and other unforgivingly repetitive children’s toys. But necessity is the mother of invention and, as they say, the show must go on!
Even as an experienced project manager, albeit with the remnants of baby brain, it was time to start re-thinking my approach to managing projects. I quickly realised that I had taken for granted the convenience of face to face communications and co-located working.
However, I now find myself in the advantageous position of just starting a project in this ‘new world’, so have the luxury to be able to plan to manage my project in a completely remote environment from the outset.
My key tips for remotely managing a project include:
- Assemble your project team – have a kick off meeting, using video conferencing if possible
- Do a round table introduction to ensure everyone gets a chance to meet and people understand their role and the roles of others on the team
- Ensure everyone is clear on the objective, scope and planned timelines of the project
- Promote collaborative working amongst team members – remote working will suit some, but not all, and collaboration will go some way to mitigate against team members feeling isolated
- Set the ground rules at the beginning of the project on how & when project communications will take place
- Make use of the technology available to you such as Microsoft Teams and use innovative approaches to facilitate communications
- Make your project meetings sacrosanct – it’s often too easy for these to get bumped when projects are in a busy period or firefighting mode
- Some Dos and Don’ts for effective project meetings:
- Do make sure all meetings have an agenda and send this out in advance of the meeting
- Don’t invite the world to all meetings – let potential attendees deicide whether their attendance is necessary based on the agenda
- Stick to the agreed time, try to keep meetings short and concise
- Document decision and actions, not minutes
- Be available to your team and lead by example
- Trust your team members and provide timely, clear communication
- Listen to what your team are saying and seek regular feedback from them
We have all found ourselves thrust into this new reality, but it is a reality to which we must quickly adapt.
Article by Emma Daly, Business Operations Manager at Aspira. We at Aspira are here to help, For more information on how Aspira can help you with all your project management needs, contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or call +353 21 235 2550.