While businesses are revisiting their work from home and remote team practices; project managers continue to battle with challenges of running the business with the entire workforce being virtual.
Working from home has been an established norm even before the pre-COVID era of 2020! Businesses had a good mix of virtual teams to have access to the best global talent pool there is and to be closest to their customers as possible.
But, there is a radical shift in running operations and managing projects & resources when the entire business is being run by remote teams.
Remote team productivity, employee motivation, operational readiness and visibility to bottlenecks have become more pronounced in the recent times.
Project Managers have to devote more focus and energy on ensuring they run business as usual rather than on optimizing business growth and profitability.
We present to you a quick list of most common working from home challenges faced by project managers and how they were overcome.
Frequent Work from home Challenges that Project Managers face
Ensuring Operational Readiness
When teams are remote, accessibility & ensuring their home office is fully functional is critical. Teams must ensure optimum availability during the business hours. Internet connectivity or slowness acts as dampeners during meetings.
Not having an optimal workspace lead to distractions, frequent interruptions and loss of productivity. Tasks take longer to complete and impact the project deadline.
Lastly, may also lead to health issues for the team member which will also end up with the resource not being available.
Too many check-point meetings
When in-person interactions are negligible, anxious project managers tend to make frequent calls for every other update or progress tracking.
A lot of effort and time is consumed in getting the updates and seeing what has happened, what changed between the calls to keep a tab on actual progress.
This in fact drains energy out of the project manager as well as the remote team members and also impacts motivation.
Most importantly, crucial time that must have been spent on optimizing the project is spent in useless baby-sitting and policing.
Task Tracking & Prioritization
Task management goes for a toss when people aren’t working together. When teams do not have visibility to who’s working on which tasks and what comes up next, the project ends up in chaos.
Keeping a tab on task progress and completion becomes a challenge for both the PM and the project team.
Task inter-dependencies lead to delay, teams miss out on real time collaboration and crucial information isn’t readily available.
Net result, either the work produced is less than optimal, has been duplicated or will have to be reworked.
Also prioritization changes on the fly add to the confusion. Sharing of priority tasks and getting them done on time with quality requires a lot of collaboration and effort than usual.
Maintaining optimal Communication
Robust communication is a crucial aspect of project management and collaboration. It becomes all the more important and tricky while dealing with virtual teams.
Lot more efforts need to be provisioned to ensure the right information reaches the right audience at the right time.
Hallway discussions, coffee talks and shoulder tapping for quick updates is no longer an option. There is a response wait time that has now been forced and teams have to deal with it. Period!!
But, business communication requirements and expectations remain the same.
Status reports, project briefings, time cards and billing reports all will need to be shared on time with the clients, project team as well as to your internal stakeholders.
Thus, capturing & obtaining all required information timely from multiple team members and sources is a cause of concern.
Keeping the Teams Productive & Efficient
By far this is the most challenging aspect of dealing with remote project teams. Work from home brings a lot of internal challenges that project managers will not have control on.
And business requires its resources to be 100% efficient! Resource utilization is directly tied to the organization’s revenue
Ensuring resources deliver work within the agreed timelines is a first logical step.
But having the rights tools, platform and access to the information is a must have for all remote teams. Project Managers must do all it takes to enable their teams perform optimally. How?
How can Project Managers address the remote team challenges?
Savvy Project managers understand the benefits of bringing their teams on to a single online collaborative platform.
A platform that offers
- Real time granular visibility of strategic initiatives
- Clarity around business deliverables & executive directives
- Makes the team self-reliant to track projects, resources & schedules
- Delivering projects within estimations and deadlines
- Driving complex projects & processes
- Freedom from juggling between multiple excel sheets
- Transparent project-task-deliverable-resource mapping
- Coordinated, planned and collaborative execution approach
- An analytical data driven platform
- Transparent employee feedback and engagement practices
Online and centralized work management is the core of the Orangescrum task management tool.
It allows for keeping your teams, tasks, time and the business together.
- Project Planning is effective with Project Templates
- Task Management covers breakdown of projects right into milestones, parent tasks, subtasks & checklists.
- Prioritization & categorization with custom task types, labels & reminders.
- Project scheduling with task inter-dependencies is taken care by the Gantt chart.
- Plan of the day, task tracking and task progress are brought alive with Kanban boards.
- End to end time tracking with timer, time sheets with approvals.
- Increase resource productivity with robust resource management features
- Resource availability
- Resource allocation
- Resource utilization
- Project budget, cost & expense management with Profitability reports
- Operations and delivery teams can stay on top of their billable works with roles based hourly rates
- End to end executive reports provide deep insights of your project portfolio performance