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Bill Washinski 4 articles
Residence: US Tampa, Florida
The Agile Financial: Project Manager and Consultant

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The Unified Project Management Dictionary

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Remote Teams

The modern workplace has truly evolved in a short period of time; with new technologies and capabilities providing employees a chance to work remotely. While hardly unprecedented, as many businesses have had employees traveling and working from home for many years, advancements in technology have made it more practical, affordable and when executed properly, more efficient for project team members to work remotely to achieve organizational goals.
The caveat is executed properly, which means overcoming inherent challenges:
  1. Advancement opportunities may be less prevalent for remote employees.
  2. Video conferencing is a great tool, but it will never replace the benefits of physical interaction.
  3. Inefficiency of team members due to poor Time Management Skills.
  4. Potential lack of involvement and disengagement when not a primary resource on the project.
  5. Monitoring struggling employees and help them on their tasks.
To execute properly, the Project Manager should adhere to 4 Pillars of Responsibility:

1.      Building Trust:  Team Charter

The first thing a Remote Team should lay out are the Ground Rules via a Team Charter which they create and establish procedures and expectations. As the remote team may not interact with each other as frequently as a co-located team, there is more opportunity to veer off direction.  Ultimately it is the role of the Project Manager to ensure everyone understands their role, guide the practices of meetings, conduct recognition and provide feedback.  In addition, the Project Manager should communicate regularly with Sr. Management as an influencer to make aware of team and individual success.

2.      Removing Roadblocks:  Infrastructure

Each company will have its own logistics, but the Project Manager must ensure their team has the tools to execute their jobs.  These tools include tangible items: a laptop with required hardware and software, a headset and requirements of an internet connection.  Intangible items may include employee compensation of their own cell phones or printers.  In addition, ensuring proper training to execute work and direction regarding IT troubleshooting resolution will establish greater credibility in leadership.

3.      Nurturing Connections:  Team Chemistry

The Project Manager will have an additional to task to monitoring performance, workload and schedule, which is to say they are the hub of communications.  They are the primary contact and act as “the command center” for team communication.  Maintaining communication with team members is equally as essential.  Any chance to develop team connections should be taken advantage of, including facilitation of any opportunity deepen relationships by having as much face-to-face interaction as possible for Project Managers and team members alike.

4.      Managing Workload:  Set Clear Goals

With projects not requiring involvement of some team members, the risk of exclusion arises. As a result, it would be a wise practice to include all team members in scheduled meetings to encourage input and collaboration.  Communication of all changes, being transparent about the project and stakeholder feedback will strengthen the team.  In addition, per the Team Charter, accountability is paramount to ensure project/team success.

Published at pmmagazine.net with the consent of Bill Washinski