With the way things are currently set, it is only wise to find ways and implement strategies for your team to work from home. For this reason, the number of people working from home offices is rapidly increasing because more companies are now embracing remote working. Although it is almost inevitable in some sectors, in others it is a way of efficiently creating a better work-life balance.
However, project management from a home-office can be a very challenging endeavour. Before you get the intricacies of it, there have to be successes and failures as you try to implement the new system. Managing a project is hard enough even with the team right there in the office, and it is bound to be harder with the team working remotely with some constraining factors like time differences, language barriers and cultural differences among others.
Monitoring the team progress while working from home may be challenging, but it’s not impossible. Here are some incredible tips you can use to effectively monitor the performance of your teams as the project unfolds.
1. Make Use of Remote Project Management Tools
One of the most effective ways of managing a team while working from your home office is ensuring that you have the right project management tools and software to run the daily business. These tools must include a video conferencing tool to make sure that you catch up with your team. It will also act as a central place for you and your team members to communicate and reconcile your individual progress.
Additionally, you should also incorporate an online project management software. It will come in handy in helping you track the team’s milestones and the set deadlines, automate and streamline your business processes, assign and re-assign tasks to different team members, providing an open communication channel among team members and ensuring that your team has access to any information they might need.
2. Find the Correct Team
When you successfully put together all the necessary management tools, it is now time to find the right workforce to build the project. Different employees have different personalities. It will be up to you to spend adequate time to understand what exactly the project needs and what you want to be accomplished at the end of it all. This will guide your hiring decision even as you look out for different personalities in employees.
Deciding who you hire can be one of the best project decisions you will make. Therefore, you must put together a team of people with different personalities to ensure that there is steady progress. You should also be careful enough to make sure that these personalities will work well with each other.
To make sure that there is diversity in the team, make sure you set some time aside to get to know each one of them on a personal level. This will give you a chance to find out more about them in regards to their work habits, goals beliefs, personalities and sometimes their preferences. Diversity is key in any work setting.
3. Communicate Daily while Monitoring Communication Effectiveness
Communication is a very important tool in project management. It is necessary to encourage team members to call in every day to deliberate on progress made on that day, bring up any challenges faced so that you could find the best possible way forward.
Even as you continue encouraging them to call in every day, you should understand that there are bound to be communication pitfalls that could be detrimental to team progress. Sometimes the message might not be properly conveyed and it leads to a mess. If you are using multiple communication channels, this is bound to happen one way or another. For instance, you should encourage team members to make calls rather than send emails. Sometimes emails get lost in inboxes and you might miss to see them.
Always keep an eye out to make sure that there are no communication issues. However, if you find any, always be ready to come up with solutions.
4. Choose Agile Methodology over Waterfall
If you are going to be monitoring projects from your home office, best methodology to use is Agile over Waterfall. Waterfall methods follow a sequential order of events where team members can only move to the next task once the previous once is completed. The agile method, on the other hand, ensures continuous development of the project progress. Everything run concurrently thus allowing for more and better communication between team participants.
Agile method ensures that you are always in the loop of things every step of the way. You team members will always be organised and motivated hence easier to produce better results. Since it is based on incremental progress, you will clearly know the tasks that are complete and which ones aren’t.
5. Better Team Coordination and Engagement
Ensuring your team is well coordinated and engaged all through the project is very essential. The best way to do this is by conducting status meetings via video conferencing. You should understand that team coordination from home will be more challenging and you may not easily tell how engaged your team is. However, such status meetings will help you enhance team coordination and collaboration.
6. Concentrate on Adaptive Networks rather than Hierarchy
It is very common for different organisations and companies to organise their employees hierarchically. This helps in managing all the process like budgeting, measuring, planning and staffing among other managerial processes. Although it works for most of them, the structure may not be exactly beneficial when working from home. The structure easily misses new opportunities to function better because they may not align with its primary purpose of existence.
On the other hand, a network ensures that your teams will have representatives from different levels and departments who don’t really care about their titles rather take part in the project as one. This changes the working atmosphere since barriers will easily be identified and sorted out. It will also be easier to implement change and identify new opportunities.
7. Give room for Freedom
Although you may want to encourage employees to embrace working remotely in their home offices, it is also important to learn to give them room for freedom. Not only team members maybe 100% productive when working from a home-office. Let everyone choose what works for them and where.
Furthermore, you should keep in mind that checking in on your team members frequently might borderline feel like babysitting. No team member will appreciate babysitting. Therefore, as a manager, ensure that you ask your teammates to give you updates periodically and targets to beat. You will not only be doing your job but also ensuring that your teammates feel like they have the freedom to work freely without feeling like you are breathing down their necks. It goes a long way in fostering respect and they will respect you in return.
These strategies will go a long way in managing your projects from home easier and very fulfilling. Despite the distance, they help foster human interactions even in a world where people are increasingly working via computer screens.