Managing projects remotely is not an easy task. A lot of project managers face difficulties in communicating with their remote teams as they are located in different locations and time zones. If you are working remotely, you cannot discuss ideas, concerns, and give feedback to team members on the project face-to-face as compared to an in-office set-up.
If you are reading this post, you’re working remotely and looking for tips, tools, and strategies to manage projects successfully. Follow these 5 key steps or tips for remote project management.
1. Use Project Management Software
77% of high-performing organizations use project management software. According to a study by Capterra, the top five most used and requested features in project management software are file sharing, time tracking, email integration, Gantt Charts, and budget management.
56% of organizations have used only one project management system. Therefore, finding the right project management tool is critical for the success of your delivery. The project management software that you will use for your organization must contain the above-mentioned top features. Also, you must know how many people can use the tool at a time, how many projects can be managed through the tool, if you can make a full project backup, and how to ensure that all communication is in one place.
Here, we must suggest Zoho Projects, it is a proven cloud-based project management software, enabling teams to be engaged, informed and productive. It helps you plan, manage, and track your project progress, no matter where your team is located.
Why use Zoho Projects?
Zoho Projects provides Gantt charts to help you create a project plan and track your task schedule. Through the chart, you can immediately see the deviation between your planned and actual progress.
Budget management is essential if you want to earn profits from a project. With Zoho Projects, you get to log billable and non-billable hours and generate invoices from the Projects timesheet module.
Zoho Projects lets you view task reports by status, milestones achieved, priorities, owner names, and percentage tasks completed.
You can report issues with attachments, set business rules to notify users when an action is triggered or automate your Service Level Agreements.
Another project management tool provided by Zoho is Zoho Sprints. If your team follows an agile method of project management, this tool is a great option.
Zoho Sprints enables your team to plan work, keep track of their progress, track time spent on projects, plan project releases, and create agile reports to evaluate and improve their performance. With Kanban boards and focused sprints, you get a visual representation of your team following agile principles.
At First Direct Corp, we help you implement Zoho Projects and Zoho Sprints based on your objectives, processes, and organizational needs. We will train your project managers on how to use these project management tools and maximize the benefits of utilizing a project management tool.
Last but not least, Zoho’s Project Management is integrated with it’s award-winning CRM platform. Learn more about Zoho CRM by visiting GetaBetterCRM.com
2. Use a Communication Tool
Project success depends on effective communication between team members. Poor communication is one of the top reasons why a project fails. A Cortex study shows that 57% of projects fail due to breakdown in communications.
When everyone is working remotely, you need the right plan and the best tools to ensure your communication is spot on and projects succeed. First of all, identify communication requirements using 5Ws (What, Why, Who, Where, When) and 1H (How). In a project, find out:
# What you need to communicate, what is the source, what is the message, and what action the readers should take.
# Why you need to communicate, why this communication is important, and why to communicate now.
# When the message should be sent, when the action is required, and when the communication is required.
# Where can I get more information, where the information is coming from, and where the message is going.
# Who are the stakeholders, who will take actions, who is in charge, and who will be affected.
# How you will communicate and how the next action should be taken.
Secondly, select a communication tool that fulfills all communication acts, such as brainstorming sessions, daily meetings, video chats, audio calls, conference meetings, problem discussions, feedback, information transparency, and other team collaboration activities.
For that, you need a communication tool that helps you achieve great project results and total productivity. Most small organizations rely on email communication for project management. However, emails cannot fill the knowledge and language gaps.
We would suggest you use Zoho Cliq, a team communication app, perfect for remote team engagement, collaboration, and communication. No matter whether you run a marketing team, software team, operations department, or tech support, Zoho Cliq makes it easy to collaborate, share ideas, conduct virtual meetings, organize conversations, centralize workflows, and ensure data security.
At First Direct Corp, we can help you implement Zoho Cliq and integrate it with Zoho Projects for better communication and collaboration. Contact us here to discuss your needs.
3. Document Everything
You don’t just need technologies and tools to manage projects. There are several documents that are necessary for managing project activities and necessary deliverables. You need:
# Project Charter: A project statement of work that details the demand, customer requests, technologies to be used, legal and social requirements, goals, processes, and more.
# Project Management Guide: A project manager requires to create a project management plan that details the costs, communications channels, project scope, project risks, schedules, project updates, human resources, quality of deliverables, etc.
# Work Breakdown Structure: This document must contain a scope management plan, project scope statement, requirements documentation, and organizational process assets.
# Risk Management Plan: This document should provide information on the potential risks to the success of the project and how to deal with those risks if they arise.
To prepare project management documents and share them with colleagues securely and easily, you can use Zoho WorkDrive. This online file management tool comes with Zoho Office Suite, including Zoho Writer, Zoho Sheet, and Zoho Show. Zoho Writer helps you instantly create important records and share your project requirements, approvals, and documents with remote teams online. Zoho complies with ISO 27001 and SOC 2 Type II security standards, so you can rest assured that your company’s data is protected during transit and at rest. Your remote teams will not have to search on their emails for a particular document again and again. They can simply go to the Team Folders where they can access the required files easily, at any time.
We can help you build a virtual workspace using Zoho WorkDrive and Zoho Office Suite. We provide Zoho implementation, integration, and training support to remote teams who want to utilize Zoho tools to manage and control their projects more accurately and effectively.
4. Add the Human Touch
“Human touch” is often the most overlooked concept in project management. It does not matter whether you are working with a remote team or in-house team, they are people. Do not consider them as resources. You must connect with your team members to encourage a cohesive work environment.
If you know, 50% of project management is people management. It becomes vital for remote project management. So how can you bring that human touch in your project management, if you are working with teammates globally?
# Make sure to conduct virtual meetings daily, maybe once or twice, depending on the nature of your business. These virtual meetings will help your team to share status updates, discuss project-related problems, and more. Do say “Good morning,” Good afternoon” and “thank you” as a gesture.
# Make it a part of your team culture to celebrate successes through emails, during virtual conferences, and special greetings.
# Provide flexible work scheduling even when everyone is working remotely.
# Practice active listening and encourage everyone to give and take feedback.
5. Stay Organized and Engaged
There are six factors that define a project to be successful: It’s delivered on time, its cost doesn’t exceed its budget, it works as designed, the target audience uses it efficiently, the project owner is happy with it, and it meets the defined goals.
The project success depends on employee’s productivity which is accelerated through employee’s commitment towards his or her work. Enhancing employee engagement from a remote location is a bit difficult. Start with empowering them. Remote workers want to be a part of decision making. Involve them in project decision-making, seek their advice, and implement their ideas. Encourage knowledge sharing on communication tools you use for video calling. Team collaboration is the main factor in increasing productivity. As we mentioned earlier, Zoho Cliq is built to enhance team collaboration in real-time. Use it to get work done faster. There are many Zoho tools that make team collaboration easier. Check them out how you can collaborate to celebrate using these Zoho applications.
There are many ways that can help you stay organized. Use Zoho WorkDrive to create documents and set priorities, deadlines, milestones, and goals. Use automation and scheduling tools to automate repetitive tasks, delegate assignments, and keep track of the team progress.
Staying organized, using project management and communications tools, adding human touch, and documenting everything are the 5 best ways to manage projects remotely. All of these things will help you and your team to be more productive and engaged, less stressed, and happier overall.