Remote Project Management Strategies for Effective Collaboration and Team Productivity


Ever since 2020, working from home has become the best possible option to have/keep a job for millions of people. When the only way to continue working is to do it from the comfort of your living room, even the most conservative of managers can’t deny the advantages of it.

Now, as the world is coming back to normal, remote work has become a lifestyle, and one wanted by many. That’s why all over the world, remote project management is becoming an integral part of a successful business strategy. If you’re just starting down this path, know there will be a steep learning curve to master, but the effort will be well worth it. Having an engaged and productive remote team can benefit your company on every level, and if you’re wondering how to make it happen, here are some tips to help you out.

Successful Remote Project Management – How to Make it Happen

Being cooped up in an office is becoming a thing of the past, and we now know that’s not conducive to the best work we can do. You can apply much of what you already know about project management in a remote setting, with some additional tweaks. 

Among many other strategies, there are a few that stand out. You want to pick employees carefully, help them understand how their work contributes to the company, and avoid micromanagement at all costs. If you set the foundations right, your team will not only be productive but thrive, meet deadlines, and become a big asset to the company. Here are some strategies to consider and use when managing your remote team.

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It All Starts with Recruiting

The most important step in successfully running remote projects is assembling a team that fits your requirements. Yes, this is easier said than done, and recruitment can take much more time than expected, but it’s absolutely vital to do it right.

You want to have employees that are self-starters, responsible, high performers, have excellent communication skills, and aren’t afraid to take accountability for their work. There are several steps you can take to make this happen:

  • Know the qualities of your ideal candidate and share them with your recruiters
  • Consider the criteria for the remote position and communicate them clearly through the job description
  • Do at least two rounds of interviews – one to establish whether they’ve got the hard skills you require, the other to see if they would be a cultural fit
  • If possible, ask for a show of references and check in with your candidate’s previous employers
  • Curate where you share your job ads, in order to get access to the best talent

Communication Is Key

We all know how complicated written communication can be, which is why it’s crucial to hire remote employees who know how to communicate effectively. When most conversations are done through emails or direct messages, misunderstandings and confusion are bound to happen, but how we deal with them is what makes a difference.

Good communication doesn’t just happen, you need to develop and nurture it through regular check-ins with the team (once a week) and each team member (once or twice a month). You should also clearly set expectations and deadlines so that everyone is on the same page. This is a good starting point, because it will allow you to keep your finger on the pulse of the project and reorganize as necessary.

Make Things Easier for Your Remote Workers

Remote work has many many perks, but one of its biggest downsides is that you can feel isolated from the team and the company. Excellent communication can mitigate a lot of it, but still, people can struggle to be productive and passionate about their work when they do it in their pajamas.

One of the easy things you can do is create a handy remote work guide that can help them navigate the challenges they face. This can include advice on how to keep a healthy work-life balance, stretching exercises, tips, and tricks for distraction-free desk décor and how to organize their workspace, and everything else you think would be useful, the sky’s the limit!

A nice touch is to send out a small care package from time to time to your remote employees, to remind them you value their work and time. We leave it up to you to decide what to put in it – anything from a silly mug and muffin gift baskets to spa vouchers is a great idea.

Provide All the Necessary Tech Support

You want to communicate clearly, and equally important, you want to use proper channels to do it. There’s no shortage of tools that can help you organize your project and keep an eye on its progress, just make sure you pick the one that best suits your needs. Here are a few of the most popular platforms and tools:

  • Kanban Zone
  • Slack
  • Basecamp
  • Trello
  • Teams
  • Asana
  • Microsoft Whiteboard

These are just a few of the most versatile options to take into consideration, but maybe you’ll want a tool or a program that’s more custom-tailored to your project. Do your research and make a choice ahead of time, because changing platforms in the middle of a project is tedious, not to mention a waste of valuable time.

Trust and Feedback

These two values are the beating heart of strong and organized remote project management. If you want a positive and healthy work environment, the first thing you need to understand is that micromanagement doesn’t work. It never did but in remote work settings, it becomes completely obsolete.

You need to trust the people you work with. Trust that they’re doing the best that they can and that they have the know-how to achieve their goals. That’s why savvy recruiting is the foundation of remote project management, if you hire quality people, you can give them the freedom to work in a way that benefits them, the project, and the company.

Established trust will nurture the next vital component – open and constructive feedback. So many people are traumatized by improperly given feedback, that the word itself has become a trigger. The truth is that feedback is essential in running high-performing teams, as long as it’s done right. If someone is doing an amazing job, tell them. If someone could do better, give them mindful concise feedback about it, and be prepared to actively listen to what they have to say. How a person responds to feedback shows a lot about who they are and that information can help you move forward in a way that’s best for the team and the project.

Conclusion

Remote project management will continue to evolve as we move toward fully remote work more and more. Remember that you might not always set up everything perfectly, and yes, mistakes will happen, but with these strategies in mind, obstacles will be much easier to foresee and overcome when they do show up in your path.

This was a guest blog. Please review our guest blog disclaimer.

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About the Author: Donna Maurer

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Donna is a marketing intern with a degree in Masters in Business Administration with a focus on modern marketing and work management. With a brief academic background she has gained knowledge and practical experience in the field, especially in areas such as digital marketing, social media marketing, and customer relationship management. In her free time, she enjoys music production.