In this post I want to explore some of the ways you can manage a remote project team. Whether you are based in the US, India, and China, or are all in the same city and work from home, managing remote teams requires a lot more effort in co-ordination, but can be done very efficiently.
Remote teams are great. There are many benefits to having a remote team. You can take advantage of a larger pool of talent; have lower business costs, with no need for an office; everyone can have more flexible hours; and no one will have to commute and waste time!
Below are five practices that should help manage your remote project team, and allow you to fully accrue the benefits from having access to the world's workforce!
- Planning and Reminders
- Respect Time Zones
- Get To Know Your Team
- Reporting Is Critical
You have to make time to communicate with your team. All project plans and tasks should be explicitly written down, and communicated with your team members regularly. A shared web based tool such as Siasto can help a great deal with this, giving your team members one place to check any time of day.
Everything must be very clearly presented and planned in advance. This means that at moments where due to time difference, or other concerns, everyone team member is still able to see what they should be working on. Obviously internet based collaboration tools can help a great deal with this as well.
Know what time zones your colleagues are based in, and make sure not to schedule calls at unreasonable hours. Also remember, what is culturally acceptable in the United States, is not always the case in Japan or elsewhere; so respect your co-workers needs.
Don't remain anonymous. Get to know your coworkers, if you are near each other, go for a beer once in a while. If your coworkers are abroad, get to know them via digital means. It will help a great deal when you are working on projects, as everyone will feel a greater sense of togetherness, and camaraderie.
You may feel that you are being too hands on, but knowing what everyone is up to, and keeping up-to-date with what has been completed, and what is outstanding is even more important in a remote team. It's very easy if you are not in the same office with others, to completely lose track of what tasks are upcoming, and what has been completed. Obviously an online collaboration tool, can further facilitate that.
A remote project team will necessarily require a more hands on approach. You will have to establish norms early like, 15 minute calls every day to catch up, or kick the day off. You'll also have to insist on what feels like over communication. Once these practices are established though, your remote project team will work together very fluidly, and you will have truly benefited from being able to choose your team from around the world!
Siasto was designed with remote work in mind. We recognize that often you will work with people who are not in the same location. That's why a big effort within the software was to also make communication and monitoring within the software so simple, and intuitive.
We hope these tips were useful, please write any tips you have for remote work in the comments below!