With working from home being the ‘new norm’ in 2020 for the vast majority of companies around the world, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the shift from daily face-to-face interaction at the office has changed the way that we, as Project Managers, have been able to manage our projects and our teams.
Since we have been a fully remote project team here at After Digital for the last 7 months, we’d like to share what we have found to be most effective in keeping our projects moving forward and our team motivated!
Have trust in your team
Trusting your team and their ability is essential, regardless of if they’re working with you in the office or working remotely at home. If a project manager doesn’t have the confidence and trust in their team to meet the project goals and their expectations, then the project itself will suffer. If your project team believes that you don’t trust them without being able to physically see what they’re doing, then there’s already a breakdown in the team and that can be hard to move forward from.
Using an online time tracking software helps to keep your project team accountable to the work they do but it also makes the work visible to their manager and the rest of the project team. Having this information available to the entire team helps to motivate and build trust as everyone is able to see what other team members have been working on – without the need for micro-management.
Clear and constant communication
Communication is the key skill a project manager uses throughout the lifespan of their role in order to keep their projects moving forward. This is especially true and is the main priority for project managers working remotely. From meetings, emails, Slack, and Zoom conference calls; project managers have to do it all so that they can be successful and efficient in managing the project teams engagement and delivering a solution that their clients are happy with.
Make sure that you communicate with your team on a regular basis, as team members may begin to feel isolated while working from home. Although you may not want to overload people with conference calls and Zoom meetings, having daily communication will help to keep your team members engaged in the work that they are doing.
There are a lot of collaboration and communication tools out there to use but we’ve found these to be the most effective amongst the team here at After Digital:
- Zoom – For conference calls internally and with clients
- Slack – Internal and client communication
- Google Workspace – An online suite of collaboration tools such as docs, drive and sheets where users can work together on the same document in real-time.
- Jira – An agile project management tool used to add project tasks and for the project team to provide updates and answers to any project related questions.
- Freshdesk – A helpdesk service where clients can log any issues related to their website that they would like to be reviewed by the team at After Digital.
Provide your team with the tools they need
Make sure that each of the team members on your project has the correct information, assets, software, and tools that they need to ‘get the job done’. Having this in place in the first instance is fundamental to making sure your team is fully engaged with the work that they are about to do. Put it this way, you wouldn’t try to make a cup of coffee without the coffee, right? Well, the same rule applies to your project team – you can’t expect them to do the work if they don’t have what they need to do it?
All of the tools and software that we use at AD can be accessed remotely as long as there is an internet connection available to use. So, the transition from office to home working was relatively smooth and easy for everyone as we are continuing to utilise the same online collaborative tools that we used before we began working remotely full time.
Set achievable goals for you and your team
Setting achievable goals or tasks to work towards as a team will provide clarity when it comes to what work is expected of each individual team member. And, it will help to get everyone on the same page and working towards the same end goal of completing the project successfully. From a project management perspective, setting goals will also allow us to measure the progress and success of the project itself.
While working remotely, we need to make sure that these goals are clearly communicated and defined so that they cannot be misinterpreted by the team.
If you’ve been working in project management throughout the pandemic and you feel you have some tips to share that we haven’t covered here – we’d love to start a conversation! You can reach us on Twitter @AfterDigitalUK. Or, if you’re looking for the next step in your career, you can check out our jobs page for any current Digital Project Management roles.