Remote project management comes together with remote working. As you can imagine, carrying out a project with a team in the office is not the same as doing it with a remote team.
For this reason, the way the employees’ time and freedom should be managed was reconsidered. As well as implementing software to communicate and keep track of the tasks of each of them.
Would you like to know more? Below, we’ll tell you all about remote project management and give you basic tips on how to implement it.
- You can be a certified project manager or just an experienced one.
- SMART objectives are effective and make you focus on a period of time.
- There are some software and digital tools that will help you foster communication in your team.
What you need to know about remote project management
Managing a remote project is not an easy task. In fact, it requires a good knowledge base and determination to manage all the tasks of your team. Therefore, we have compiled some essential information that will help you to successfully manage your project.
What is remote project management?
Remote project management is defined mainly as the remote management of a group of professionals to achieve a specific objective of an organization. With the help of tools and planning prior to the start of the project (1).
This form of management has been used since the 1970s, when the first automated information systems (Internet) were implemented (1).
Although it has been used for several decades, it was only used in a few jobs, such as call centers, or when it was necessary to incorporate international teams and experts in certain projects (1).
It was only in 2020, due to the pandemic, that it was established in many work fields. Social distancing made a quick digitalization of work necessary, adapting and creating new jobs for working from home (2).
This type of management is based on the same principles as the office-based management. However, being in an online environment, creates more alternatives to control time, employees and their work tasks (1).
Advantages of remote project management
There are many advantages that come with remote project management. Many of them exist because of the implications of working remotely.
- Time flexibility: This is one of the most important, since when working with remote teams, an office schedule is not the most effective (2). For this reason, a number of daily working hours is usually suggested, and each team member chooses the schedule that suits him or her best.
- Asynchronous communication: Communicating through work chats is a great advantage (3). If you ask a question in the chat in the middle of the night, it is likely that someone else on the other side of the world will answer you right away.
- Shared information in one place: Another great advantage is that all the documents and conversations that take place within the work platform stay there. So if you forget something, you are very likely to find it there.
- Freedom: You can manage a project at home, on an island paradise, or in the forest, as long as you have an internet connection.
- Interculturality: You will probably work with an international team, so you will be able to meet people from different parts of the world, as well as their cultures.
Here you can read more about the most recent statistics and trends on project management.
What to study for remote project management?
Did you like the advantages of this type of management? Now we will tell you how you can become a remote project manager.
Please note that for this position you need to have skills in planning, budgeting, managing resources, coordinating teams, etc. There are therefore two ways to get to this position:
Certified Project Manager
As there is no specialized career in project management, one option is to study for a 4-year degree, and then do a master’s degree in project management. Based on this, the most recommended careers are business administration, marketing, and commercial engineering, among others (4).
However, if you hold a degree in literature, you can also opt for a master’s degree in project management.
On the other hand, if you do not have a degree, or have not yet decided on one, you can take the 0-3 years of experience courses offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI). This institution and its certifications are globally recognized and are highly valued in the labour market (5).
These courses will give you the foundations and experience to start managing projects from scratch.
Project manager by experience:
Another way to become a remote project manager is to gain experience in your field of study or work by managing projects (6). There are many people who are instinctively given the instinct to manage or give tasks to achieve a goal efficiently.
Do you think you are one of them? Then, you need to look for spaces where you can contribute as a project manager within your company or organization.
Even so, it is important to inform yourself and study the different areas of knowledge that a project manager should handle. Here we show you the most relevant ones according to the PMI Project Management Body of Knowledge Guide(7).
Now that you know them, we recommend that you reinforce or study the areas in which you still do not have experience, or do not know how to manage. This way, you will master all the areas that a remote project manager needs as a basis.
If you want to know more about these areas of knowledge, we will talk about them in detail later on.
How is a remote project prepared?
To start developing your distance project, the first thing you need to do is to identify an overall objective (8). Without an objective, you would not know what decisions to make.
Therefore, your objective can be given to you by your organization, or you will have to identify it from an in-depth analysis of your sector (8). For example, if you are in the marketing department, you should analyze how the last campaign performed and identify the target for the next campaign based on the data collected.
We recommend that you consider the SMART model for creating objectives:
This way your goals will be more precise and realistic (9). For example, create a campaign that will attract 100 new followers on Instagram by the end of the month. As you can see, the SMART model is a simple model that will help you create goals easily and quickly.
What are the phases of a project?
Now, when you have your goal clear, we will proceed to explain the phases of a project, also known as the life cycle of a project (10).
These are divided into Initiation, Planning, Execution, Monitoring and Control, and Closure.
Within these phases, we find the areas mentioned above under the section on what to study for remote project management. Below, we will give a brief description of each one, explaining their order in each phase of the project.
|Management Area||Description||Project Phase|
|Integration||Here the manager will be in charge of integrating the elements of the project that are dispersed, in order to generate a connection.||Initiation.|
|Scope||In this area, the limits of the project are set. In addition, the tasks necessary to achieve the project are specified.||It is located between initiation and planning.|
|Time||The tasks are divided up, they are given a deadline and the schedule is defined.||Planning.|
|Costs||Project costs are approximated in order to minimise expenditure against the estimated budget.||Planning.|
|Quality||The standards and revisions that will be made during the entire project to ensure the quality of the project are proposed.||This area goes from the beginning to the closure.|
|Human Resources||Qualified personnel are chosen to carry out the project.||Execution.|
|Risks||Increase the probability of success and decrease the probability of failure.||Planning.|
|Communications||Gathering, transmitting and storing information.||Execution.|
|Procurement||Purchase of the materials needed to carry out the project. Normally, there are several legal processes during the procurement process.||Planning.|
|Stakeholders||The external information required to carry out the project is managed, creating interconnections with stakeholders.||This area is used from the beginning to monitor and control.|
What are the challenges of remote project management?
Although remote project management looks like a pretty exciting experience, it does have some challenges that you would do well to consider.
- Communication: Something that cannot be avoided in the digital era, is face-to-face communication. This type of communication makes transmitting a message more effective and immediate (3).
- Team-building: Because it is based on face-to-face communication, it is more difficult to work on team-building online. This is because face-to-face communication helps to create bonds and build trust. Thus, it is difficult to create bonds in a remote team, since its members most of the time do not get to know each other in person (3).
However, don’t be discouraged. There are several tools that can ease these challenges and help you manage your remote project in the best possible way.
How to manage a remote team?
So, now that you know everything you need to create your own remote project, we will explain how to manage your team effectively. This way, you will be aware of the essential steps to coordinate your team and achieve your goals.
- Determine objectives (11).
- Establish communication rules (11).
- Optimize communication tools: Thanks to software specially designed for teamwork.
- Training responsible and self-sufficient employees: Please keep in mind that remote work is still new in some areas and for some people. In this sense, it is important that you teach them how to work with the tools you are providing them with, if they do not have experience using them. Also, give them the confidence they need to work without your supervision 24/7. It is much more effective to give them a task and a deadline to accomplish it, giving them the freedom to manage their time.
- Encourage teamwork (11).
As mentioned above, communication in remote project management is a challenge. However, if you give it the attention it requires, you will manage to pass this challenge as a mere bump in the road. By applying this recommendation, and those listed above, we are confident that you and your team will meet your goals easily.
Software and tools for remote project management
As expected, in the management of remote teams and projects, the use of software and technological tools is essential. In fact, we have already mentioned it several times throughout this article.
These mainly help improve communication and assigning tasks to team members.
Currently, there are many programs for remote project management in the market. Some of them are paid and others give you the possibility to use their free version. Here we would like to show you some software and tools that are currently the most popular among remote teams. Actually, they are so popular that they are even requested as a requirement in some jobs, or it is seen as a plus to have experience using them.
This software is one of the best-known in the business world. It gives you the opportunity to create several channels within the same workgroup. This way, you can have team 1 working on one channel and team 2 working on another, without messing up the messages.
In addition, you can hold meetings, put pins in the chats so that the most important messages don’t get lost, and you can even switch between one workgroup and another. Finally, important documents stay in the chat up to a certain time limit with the free version.
This is a well-known tool for project management. It has several boards that you can customize, adding tasks with their respective periods to perform them.
You can create to-do lists, and you can assign people to each board. Designing your project in this tool is very simple, since the website and the app are quite intuitive. Besides, it is free.
The most complete tool, Google Workspace. Here you have everything that comprises the G-suit:
- Google Docs, Sheets, Slides
- Google Drive
- Google Calendar
- Google Meet
As you can see, it has several elements that you probably already use. And this is the best thing about Google Workspace, as your team is more likely to be familiar with it.
Finally, it’s a must-have tool these days, as you can edit documents in the cloud with your group, share documents, make video calls and schedule your tasks.
The management of a remote project is done online, coordinating teams and tasks, with the help of tools and software, to achieve a specific objective. As you could see, this management approach, although not new, has been promoted in the past few years due to the pandemic.
Now, if you think you want to be a remote project manager, you can be certified, or experienced. Please note that you must have a good command of the areas of management to hold this position, as project phases and those areas go side by side. Finally, don’t forget that encouraging communication and teamwork is essential to achieve your goals.
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