Project Management and WFH
Project management is key for success in a distributed work environment. Maintaining clear lines of communication between remote resources and keeping teams upstream well informed of progress, risks, and timelines are among a successful project manager’s main goals and focus. Set your project managers up for success by arming them with tools that facilitate project organization and structured communication.
The Right Project Management Platform
Project management has always been core to our success. Many companies struggle with the basics. In the past, our team members encountered scenarios where multiple project management tools were used in a single department (not to mention company wide), or not used at all. Synchronizing the status of any given project was a regrettable (and expensive) manual process in both cases, and confusion regularly reigned supreme.
Selecting and properly implementing a project management platform is incredibly important, there are numerous project management tools, which is best for your organization? It’s tempting to jump at the first seemingly attractive solution if you are scrambling, but this can be detrimental and dangerous. We have seen tremendous success from organizations that optimize their platform selection prior to implementation, avoiding multiple expensive change management cycles in the future. Here are some best practices for platform selection:
- Engage stakeholders company-wide to find the functionality that increases productivity and communication for everyone.
- Check integration points (APIs or native) that allow project management to automatically send data to other platforms already in use, keeping everyone in sync and improving efficiency. Example integrations include:
– Business Intelligence
– HR & Staffing
– Resource Scheduling
– Project Estimation and Timelines
– and more…
- Create a matrix based on criteria collected from stakeholders and rate each platform under consideration, have multiple people rate each platform. This is valuable for discussion, tracking requirements, and ultimately decision making.
Internal communication becomes increasingly challenging as an organization grows. Removing the proximity that everyone takes for granted at a physical office for quick answers and your newly remote team is already at a disadvantage. Here are some best practices we’ve found to ease the transition for team members who are suddenly remote work from home for the first time.
What should I work on now? What should I work on next?
Projects & Tasks As mentioned, having a well defined and organized project management platform facilitates threaded communication for specific tasks and projects. This provides a single source of truth for what needs to happen next and answers the eternal question “What should I be working on now?”
Business Continuity Teams having traditionally relied on proximity for interaction and direction to date will suddenly require more coordination. Over communication at this juncture is not a bad thing and methods like daily “stand up” meetings work for more than just teams of engineers.
Team Member Sanity Team members who have not worked remotely for extensive periods of time will require additional interaction until they nail down their “remote routine”. Extensive anecdotal research indicates that it takes 1-2 weeks for first time remote workers to mentally get into the groove and be productive when working remotely for the first time.
Video Conferencing If not already in place is critical for your team, this is the time to review the organizations needs and solutions. In addition to improving overall communication, systems that have screen sharing and other features enable efficient communication in meetings by keeping everyone on the same page.
Chat / Instant Messaging There are many options here too. As organizations grow, we find that more and more communication happens in the context of the project management platform. The PM platform keeps questions and conversations contextually relevant, captures information for people not included in the immediate conversation, and does not lose information as part of an overloaded thread.
Our team has over a decade of experience helping distributed teams stay securely connected, operational, and productive. Our Remote Team / Work from Home security solutions help clients navigate and seamlessly deploy flexible and secure remote work environments. Our all domestic team combines operational savvy with strategic and tactical experience to transform businesses globally.