When COVID-19 forced businesses to move their employees to home-based offices, some discovered they didn’t have the right skills and technologies to work efficiently in a remote environment.
PMAlliance’s project portfolio management consulting teams have long operated remotely, and we tapped into that experience to help our clients continue to oversee and execute their initiatives even as workers transitioned between onsite and remote locations.
Using our expertise in successfully managing complex projects and portfolios across distributed work environments, we put together an outline of the remote capabilities you should have if you want to maintain a healthy portfolio in the work-from-home age.
Flexible collaboration tools
If your company’s deployment of collaboration technologies was a bit haphazard during the pandemic, now’s the time to put some structure around how these platforms are used.
Your group’s discussions need to be secure and private, but you also need the flexibility to loop in other departments, business partners, and vendors when appropriate. Educate team members on how to safely connect to the different collaboration systems deployed within your organization and instruct them on which platforms (if any) they should avoid due to a lack of security features or noncompliance with relevant regulatory guidance.
Access to centralized information
No matter where stakeholders are working, they also need the ability to view and update the organization’s project and portfolio data. Team members should have a centralized platform that enables on-demand access so they know they’re using the most current information available. A system with filtering and sorting capabilities can also help boost efficiency, reducing the time stakeholders must spend sifting through information to find the actionable insights they need.
Communication and information sharing are core elements behind project success, and managing your overall portfolio requires a robust set of processes and technologies that enable disparate stakeholders to work together in dynamic groups as well as individually, to analyze and act on data effectively, to solve problems as a team, and to capitalize on opportunities to improve outcomes.
Onboarding and training
Firms that historically relied on in-person orientation activities found it difficult to bring new employees into the project team when workers transitioned to home offices.
Your onboarding process should accommodate remote workers, providing them with an understanding of how project and portfolio activities are executed and which internal departments are available to help with issues such as procurement and invoice processing, for example. Structure your team-building efforts to engage both onsite and home-based employees, as well.
Ongoing education programs should be similarly flexible to ensure team members can continue their professional development even as their work locations evolve. Implementing a well-designed e-learning option has become table stakes for project teams and provides a critical gateway for training employees on the most effective techniques and strategies for their project and portfolio management tasks.
Experience working remotely
Most employees adapted quickly to work-from-home but making a dedicated effort to strengthen your remote capabilities can help even high-functioning teams achieve better performance over time.
Assess your current workforce to identify team members who may have worked remotely in a previous position. When recruiting new employees, consider any remote work experience they bring to the table. By developing your internal mentors, you’ll be better positioned to weather any ongoing changes to your team’s work arrangements.
Selecting vendors with a background in working across remote teams can also boost your results. Our clients have benefitted from PMAlliance’s experience providing support and guidance in distributed environments. You’ll be more successful at maintaining focus on project and portfolio priorities, driving stakeholder engagement, and nurturing a collaborative atmosphere with the right partners supporting you.