Project Management for Remote Teams: 5 Simplest Way

Team Project

Remote work has many benefits, but its biggest downside is the lack of control on your part considering project management for remote teams. Just think about it: even an employee monitoring software (which is a pretty bad idea, to start with) can be easily tricked. In other words, when it comes to the work ethics of your teams, all you can do is trust them and wait for the results, and by then, it may already be too late. 

So, how does one streamline projects handled by remote teams without being too imposing and authoritative? How does one set the right company culture for remote teams? Most importantly, how does one effectively communicate with people working remotely on a project?

Well, here are four tips that should help make this easier. 

1. Start using the right project management software

Project Management

One of the first things you need to do is pick the right project management software. The problem is that this industry is inflated with so many tools that it’s often hard to tell them apart or figure out which of them are actually worth your time.

Picking this software is your top priority for project management for remote teams. Namely, this is the digital team’s equivalent to choosing the office in which you’ll work, as well as furnishing it. The choice of a platform means that you pick the UI that your team will spend most of the project staring at, and the ability to customize it may drastically impact your team’s performance. 

tips for effective remote team collaboration and project management

Cloud-based tools are generally great for collaboration. They facilitate file sharing, enable your staff members to work on the same document simultaneously, and, most importantly, ensure more accurate version control.

These tools are amazing for remote work, which is how the majority of projects are run nowadays. This means that your staff members have an easy way of logging in from any device or location. Just make sure to instruct them on cybersecurity and introduce a strong BYOD policy. 

While some may advocate employee monitoring tools and platforms, this is a practice that usually has adverse effects. Namely, you don’t want your employees to feel like you’re constantly looking over their shoulders. It lowers morale, makes them more likely to leave, ruins productivity, and makes everyone too cautious (sacrificing creativity and initiative). 

With good project management software, you can assign and monitor deadlines, thus giving your staff members more freedom. 

2. Promote the right skills

You can’t reward backstabbing and individual performance and then complain about the fact that there’s a low level of collaboration in your team. You can start by making a short list of skills that you want to hone in your employees.

Then, you want to praise, reward, and give shout-outs to your employees when they display these skills for project management for remote teams. 

How to manage remote project teams?

What matters the most is that you’re consistent in your messaging. Just like with kids, they need to know what the rules are first. If they’re unaware of the rule the first time, you shouldn’t discipline them, but you do need to tell them that their behavior is not okay and try to tell them the full extent of the potential consequences.

Also, they need to understand that these are your expectations of them and that these are the rules regardless of the context. It doesn’t matter if you’re overworked, sleep deprived, feel more pressure than usual, or have personal problems at home or in your relationship. The rules need to be always the same.

Generally speaking, for project management for remote teams, you need to praise:

  • Communicativeness
  • Problem-solving
  • Time management
  • Decision-making
  • Strategic thinking
  • Leadership

Remember that different people have different, strong sides, and by recognizing what their stronger and weaker sides are, you’ll know them much better. You’ll also have an easier time guiding their career. By constantly giving them challenges, they’ll develop a stronger appreciation for the work you do and feel like there’s space for them to grow in your team. 

3. Stay in touch DURING project management for remote teams

Project Management For Remote Teams

The biggest challenge with remote teams is that, unless they’re working in files that you’re checking all the time, you have no idea whether they’re working. Sure, you’ll see the deadline or the report, but you have to know before that, as well. So, you need to start by keeping the communication alive and going.

We’re not just talking about forcing them to send you an email, write a comment on the collaboration platform, or send you a message on Slack every day. Instead, you can schedule daily meetings (even if they’re just 10-15 minutes long, it could still make a difference). 

Managing a Remote Team

Check-in on them and ask them how it’s going. Offer a deadline extension or more hands-on tasks if they doubt they’ll be able to finish it in time. It’s one thing to ask for help, but it’s much easier to accept it when it’s offered with no strings attached. 

This way, as their boss, you’re acknowledging that the task is ambitious and offering them a way out without losing face. 

A big challenge with project management for remote teams lies in the fact that it’s harder to inspire loyalty this way. What you need to do is make sure that people are mingling (in digital spaces), and you could even consider organizing virtual team-building activities. This is an interesting concept that you shouldn’t be too quick to write off just yet. 

Today, even some real-world friendships are maintained digitally (people who text more than they meet), so why should keeping a strong collegial bond be impossible? 

4. Provide them with the necessary tools

Employees in the actual office usually have it all covered. When working remotely, a lot of people are expected to acquire their own equipment for project management for remote teams. This is not just fine but completely intuitive. After all, you won’t buy a $2,000 laptop for a remote employee who just started working for you. Some equipment is basic and expected by everyone to acquire on their own.

At the same time, they’ll need some software licenses to do their work, and it’s in your best interest to create their accounts or pay for their subscriptions. There are two reasons behind this.

First, some of your employees might avoid getting these in order to reduce their operating costs. Their profit margin is lower than yours, and even if they see this tool as something that would improve their productivity, they might be reluctant to add this extra expense to the list. 

Why project management for remote teams

Well, tips for effective remote team collaboration and project management. Because their equation is not the same as yours. If their productivity jumps 20%, you benefit the whole 20%, while their salary won’t instantly go 20% up. In simpler terms, you benefit more, so you should pay more.

Second, it might even be much more cost-effective for project management for remote teams. Enterprises usually have special plans and package deals, which are costlier but allow them to be logged in from more devices simultaneously. This means that the cost is significantly lower compared to what you would pay if you expected your staff members to pay individual licenses. 

Recognizing bottlenecks before they cause a problem is the key to proper project management

The problems of project management are still the same; the only thing that has changed in the digital era is their nature when it comes to project management for remote teams. Your most important task is to ensure that your team has the necessary tools for work, that communication flows without problems, and that you’re nurturing a supportive business culture. Neither of these things should be too difficult to achieve. 

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