When you’ve got a dispersed project team, people working from home, collaborators all around the world or like to undertake some remote working yourself, it is critical to put the framework in place to ensure you can manage your project successfully. This means having the right tools, tactics and processes in place to make remote working work for you. Here are some top tips for getting started:
- Get organized and comfortable before you start: It can be tempting to flop on the sofa and tap out an email with your laptop balanced on your knee, but engaging in work in an unsuitable location is likely to end up being a real pain in the neck. Get your workspace set up so you’re comfortable, organised and adopting the correct posture to maintain good productivity levels.
- Plan your day: Remote working requires a level of dedication and organization that you might not have had to adopt before. To ensure you get the most from your day, you need to have a plan before you start and stick to it. This might be something as simple as a ‘to do’ list, or a more complicated virtual diary in use. Whatever works for you is fine, but do have a list of things you want to achieve during that day so you can maximize your efforts.
- Use technology to your advantage: Thanks to the huge number of developers vying for the best apps in the market, a project manager should be able to find all sorts of useful apps to help you manage your time, your schedule and much more. Browse the app market and use your tablet or smartphone to help you stay on track easily through the day.
- Share files online: To ensure effective collaboration, keep all the project files in remotely accessible locations such as cloud storage drives. This means not only will you be able to access those documents remotely whenever you need them, but you’ll also be able to instantly share them with other project team members, or receive documents they’ve been working on no matter where you are.
- Don’t share files with strangers: When you are working on the move, it’s important to realize who is around you and who can see what. If you are accessing a sensitive document in a public place, be aware of who could be looking over your shoulder and consider whether this is the best place to view it.
- Use secure Wi-Fi: In these days of hotspot mayhem, there is usually somewhere you can log in pretty much wherever you go. However, it is important that you only connect your devices to networks that you trust, as connecting to an insecure network could compromise your data, and could even result in a virus being transmitted to your office server when you reconnect there. Stick to trusted 3G networks by using the portable hotspot on your phone, and ask your IT department for advice about connecting to public Wi-Fi networks.
Remote project management can be effective but when you are working away from the office, the most important thing to remember is to stay in touch with your project team. They still need to know you are there, and will need to ask questions and get advice from you from time to time. So don’t forget your project management soft skills; make sure they know the best way to contact you and leave yourself time for face to face project meetings about complex issues when the need arises.
Michelle Symonds is a qualified PRINCE2 Project Manager and believes that the right project management training can transform a good project manager into a great project manager and is essential for a successful outcome to any project.
There is a wide range of formal and informal training courses now available that include online learning and podcasts as well as more traditional classroom courses from organizations such as Parallel Project Training.
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