How to Build a Cohesive Team if You’re Not All Office Based

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The author spent the first part of her career working in IT and IT Project Management in the oil industry and investment banking on complex global projects involving the management of outsourced project teams. She now runs a digital marketing company with particular expertise in technical SEO and Content Marketing.

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.

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Project management has developed into a fully-fledged chartered profession since the granting of the Royal Charter in the UK to The Association for Project Management (APM) in 2017. Training courses for project managers were already available and highly popular to help people gain professional project management accreditation, but with this wider recognition of the profession it is now seen as a desirable career path for many. Whilst the APM has the coveted Royal Charter and continues to develop its APM PMQ (formerly the APMP) programmes, there are also other internationally recognised qualifications that continue to be highly regarded such as PMP and PRINCE2.

Organisations have become increasingly project-focused in this era of rapidly emerging new technologies and they value the expertise that comes with experienced and fully qualified project teams and managers. By investing in their project management capability businesses can be confident of delivering their new projects in time and on budget more often and more successfully. Many major corporation are now training their people to have the right project management qualifications as well as relevant experience, through internal Learning & Development (L&D) programmes; or by using external project management training providers.

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