Remote Project Management: Team Engagement in a Digital World

More and more PMs are transitioning their activities to accommodate remote work arrangements, and many are finding that maintaining team engagement within the project is more important than ever. Though some organizations have been leveraging dispersed groups for quite some time, it’s a new experience for others. The lessons learned in existing remote work environments can be helpful for PMs that are still adjusting to the challenges of managing home-based teams.

team engagement

If your organization is having difficulty coping with the transition to remote work or you’re facing a can’t-fail project that’s in jeopardy because of staffing or other resource shortages, consider partnering with an experienced project management consultancy. Their experts can offer guidance on driving high-impact initiatives to a successful completion in challenging business climates.

Weekly. To maintain optimal awareness, consider holding a weekly conference call or video meeting for each active project in your portfolio. Focus these meetings on current status assessments and ensuring everything remains aligned with the target completion date. You should also discuss any risks or schedule impacts team members have identified. Once the team shares an understanding of the potential issues, you can work as a group to develop solutions to address problem areas.

Daily. During critical project phases, it’s prudent to connect daily—even if it’s only 10 minutes—to ensure everything is still on track and any risk mitigation strategies are working as intended. Teams utilizing the Agile methodology can use phone or video conferencing to replicate their daily stand-up meetings throughout the entire project lifecycle. When task lists and their estimated timeframes are fluid, frequent discussions help remote workers remain in tune with expectations, next actions, and potential concerns that could require adjustments to their daily workloads.

On-demand. A technology solution that enables on-demand access to project data can be a game changer in keeping your team engaged and up to date. With key information available whenever they need it, workers can maintain awareness of milestones and other priority activities. They can also add their own updates so everyone has the very latest status information. This is particularly helpful if someone didn’t participate in the most recent team meeting or where time zones make real-time communications more challenging.

In addition to project-focused meetings, PMs should continue nurturing a strong sense of partnership and community when portions of their group is dispersed. Schedule regular times for your team to come together to discuss how things are working operationally. You want to spot communication, collaboration, and commitment issues long before they become real problems.

Team meetings. Bring everyone together to discuss how internal operations are going outside the project-specific sphere. Are they having difficulty connecting with other team members or people in supporting departments? Does everyone still feel suitably connected within the group? Are silos beginning to pop up? Remote work can pull people way from the team’s common goals, so focus on maintaining team engagement as a group.

One-on-one. Make time for regular discussions with each of your direct reports. Use these opportunities to discuss workloads and assess how each employee is faring. Are they struggling to keep their productivity high? Would they benefit from additional technology solutions to help them streamline activities? Is their task list still realistic and workable? Are they having trouble reaching other team members or stakeholders? If they need information or support and they aren’t receiving it, you may need to step in to facilitate those next-level connections. One-on-one meetings are a good way to identify those issues before they hamper the team’s progress. Focus on career and training goals, too, to ensure employees remain excited about the future.

 

PMAlliance, Inc offers project management consultingproject management training and projecportfolio management services.

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