Except for the essential medical services, this pandemic has prompted companies to favor work-from-home over in-office setups to prevent the spread of the virus. But, this is not an excuse for reductions in productivity as many project managers continue to call the shots remotely.
Whatever the industry, project management is a critical operational process in a business, particularly in engineering, construction, and information technology. Of these three sectors, the latter may be the most challenging, but not if you have the best work from home tools to start with.
So, how do you ensure the success of a project even if you can’t meet with your project team. Below are some tips to help you out.
How To Effectively Manage Online Projects In A Work-From-Home Setup
The benefits of working from home are numerous, but working remotely has some downsides, too. As a project manager, you need to manage risks, troubleshoot problems, and monitor the progress of all undertakings, as well as the project team. Yes, it is a daunting task, but keeping these pointers in mind could help make it a breeze.
1. Make a to-do list and review it every morning before settling down to work
By knowing the project timelines and milestones, you will have an idea on what to do on a daily or weekly basis. Prioritize the work according to urgency and the amount of work needed in order to finish the task. Make sure to stick to this to-do list. If something more important comes up, make sure to refocus your attention on your to-do list after the ‘emergency’ has been resolved.
2. Minimize distractions
Creating a proper work-life balance can be a struggle for employees who are new to the work-from-home setup. Some people strive to be good and attentive parents, but they also need to get things done on the job. Having a workspace that’s free from distractions is a must. Lock the door when you’re working and tell family members to knock only when it’s urgent. Don’t do anything else in your designated workspace except work, but you can multitask when necessary.
Tangible distractions may be quite easy to manage, but it might be harder to resist online distractions. Who else can stop you in ‘taking a quick peek’ at your social media sites to check on ‘updates’? If you don’t discipline yourself, you might lose your job.
3. Monitor the project progress through project management tools
As a project manager, you’d have to look closely at the tasks, deliveries, team, resources, and everything that impacts your project. See if everything is going as planned. You can do these things with your trusty, old planner, but if you’re working from home, a project management app will provide a world of technological convenience.
Commonly used project management software include Asana, Trello, and Basecamp. However, there are a slew of equally useful project management apps for free these days, so check out which works best for you and your team.
Since the management of tasks is done remotely, there’s no in-person meeting and everything is done online. Project management apps make monitoring easy through the following functions:
Tasks updating. With these apps, it’ll be a breeze to chop up big and heavy workloads into a smaller set of doable tasks to your remote team. Delegate tasks to your team according to their skill sets, capabilities, and strengths. Each member can likewise update the status of their particular task, to keep everyone aware.
Calendar. These project management apps also have an embedded calendar function that can keep track of the progress of the project or the tasks that contribute to it. It also shows how much time remains until its planned completion. Another good thing about calendars is that they allow you to schedule recurrent meetings and assign or invite attendees in advance so they can keep track of the dates.
File Sharing. For a team to effectively work together, everyone should have access to important project files. A central depository for all information about the project and its updates, as well as the capacity to update files in a timely manner, are both necessary.
Communication. This is one of the most critical elements in project management. If, as a project manager, you can’t communicate with your team often, it’ll almost always lead to the failure of a project. Not keeping in touch means you won’t be informed of problems that cropped up or the external issues that are causing delays, dragging the project implementation further and incurring additional projects costs.
Reporting. Project managers can monitor the tasks and the overall progress of the project with an integrated reporting system. In the same vein, team members can quickly share their task updates and alert the other team members of some challenges that may impact the status of the project.
With these tools, your job as a project manager becomes less of a burden. In addition to these features, perhaps, the greatest thing about these programs is that they’re available in both mobile and web-based versions so you can monitor wherever you may be, and just by using your phone.
4. Appreciate And Guide Your Team
Even if everything is done online, make sure you don’t lose your human touch. Besides, it’s a known fact that most adults suffer from workplace stress. In moderate to extreme cases, this can cause reduced productivity and frequent absences.
If you see a team member struggling to complete tsks on time, understand what’s causing the delay and help the employee to buckle up and get back on track. On the other hand, always appreciate your team for a job well done.
The Bottom Line
A good project manager is someone who knows what they’re doing, has a clear understanding of what it takes to get there, and is capable of facing the challenges and minimizing the risks.
To do these effectively, a project manager must have good leadership, communication, and team-building capacities, as well as a sound decision-making and negotiating skills. And, last but not the least, a good project manager must possess dependable project management tools to get online projects moving smoothly.