Remote project management is a significant reality for most businesses today. How ready is your business?
After identifying all the possible barriers to remote project management and some of the possible solutions, your business should spend some time evaluating remote project management readiness. Here are some factors that should be included in the evaluation.
Business model and infrastructure
Will the existing business model and infrastructure support remote project management? Consider how your organization is physically structured. Does the hierarchy have the capability to effectively manage remote workers? Does the existing infrastructure offer the needed capabilities for remote connectivity?
There are several drivers that gear businesses toward remote project management. Some of these drivers can be higher level, such as a shift in overall business strategies, hiring practices, and service delivery and a change in customer base or any other factors. It’s important to distinguish between key drivers that make sense to the overall business strategy rather than following the pack and simply turning to remote project management because other companies are doing it. The rationale for making the switch to remote project management shouldn’t be entered into lightly; it must fit within the overall long-term business plans and be an improvement in terms of servicing stakeholder needs.
The right people
If you are considering the transition to remote PM, having employees with the right aptitude, capabilities, focus, and dedication to working in this highly independent fashion is critical. If individuals lack the motivation or require a higher level of supervision, this may not be a good move. That said, if the remote PM drivers fit with higher-level strategic objectives, it may be necessary to still proceed in that direction and hire individuals with the capabilities to execute projects remotely.
The necessary tools
If you have the right drivers and the right people in place but not the required software or tools, this isn’t necessarily a showstopper. There are mobile PM tools out there to choose from; the key is understanding the business and project needs for the tools as well as being able to identify how the tools or software enable strategy and streamline processes and collaboration.
This is an area easily impacted by a shift to remote PM. Because remote PM relies heavily on the use of specific technologies for communication, sharing of data, approvals, and overall collaboration, workflows will need to be redrawn. It’s critical to analyze and document the changes and to identify the impact these changes have the business and the people involved.
The project managers
Having project managers experienced in remote PM is a need, not a want. Depending on the existing processes, the maturity of an organization, and the existence of experienced remote employees, it may be possible to hire a PM with less remote experience. If an organization is less mature in its remote capabilities, it is better to hire a highly capable PM who brings remote experience to the table.
The metrics to measure success
Being able to measure the effectiveness of a remote PM team is critical to overall project success. Without being able to measure how well a remote team works together or how they deliver, it’s almost impossible to know if remote project management is working. Having a comparison to a pre-remote PM model makes it much easier to know how your organization’s remote project teams are actually functioning. Key performance indicators (KPIs) will be used to evaluate success.
Moira Alexander, PMP, I.S.P., ITCP/IP3P, is a recognized project management influencer, thought leader, a regular correspondent for PMI’s Projectified podcast, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of PMWorld 360 Magazine, Founder of Lead-Her-Ship Group, and author of “LEAD or LAG: Linking Strategic Project Management & Thought Leadership”. Moira has over 25 years of experience in business (IS&T) and project management for small to large businesses in the US and Canada and has been quoted in various publications including Forbes. She writes thought leadership content for top-tier publications and business blogs and oversees or writes sponsored content and software reviews on PMWorld 360 Magazine.