It really wasn’t that long ago that working as a team meant everyone sharing the same office space, or at the very least working in the same location. Now, technological advances have turned that idea upside down. People can easily work on the same project regardless of the country they are based in or whether they are office or home based – the sky, as they say, is the limit.
Of course, this flexibility in working does mean that working as a team on the same project can be a little bit harder and the project manaber will need to work hard to make the remote project team work. The main issue facing any project manager under these circumstances is just how do you keep your team cohesive when they are not all based in the same location?
Make sure you have the right team members
Whilst many of the attributes you will need for your project team are the same as those for one who are all based in the same office there are a couple of considerations you should make in the case of a team who are more spread out. Your team members need to be self-motivated, in this instance they certainly need to be able to function independently and get on with the task at hand. They also need to have great communication skills – this is especially important in situations where there is little to no face to face communication, essentially, they need to be great at using such things as Skype or webcams and conference calls in order to make that communication happen. They must also be results driven – working on your own but part of a bigger team can be difficult and requires a certain level of motivation.
Use the right systems
Project management software is crucial for a team who work from different locations, it will allow everyone to know exactly where the rest of the team are up to on the project at a glance – that is as long as everyone is using it correctly and updating the system regularly. Make sure that all the team members know how to use the system you choose and if required make sure that they receive the appropriate training.
Develop a strong team
Put those project management qualifications to good use and make sure that you develop a strong working relationship with the members of your team. Whether they are a new team who haven’t worked together before or are an existing team with the addition of a few new people be aware of the dynamics. Managing a team can be hard enough when they work in the same space, but at least you can see the body language and watch for sign of trouble. When everyone works remotely the signs of trouble may be that much harder to spot.