Project managers are often tasked with managing multiple projects in various locations and, often, across time zones. How much does each team’s geography really matter in remote project management, and should it? Learn why, in the end, geography is only part of the equation.
In a fast-paced and rapidly changing business environment, project management has shifted from something in an organization’s periphery to a core business capability. That’s with good reason, especially considering that not only do 70 percent of projects fail, but organizations that undervalue enterprise project management have a 50 percent higher failure rate, research shows.
Many components help organizational leaders deliver results, from business strategy to processes, financial management, and management across functions, regions, and even globally.
As remote, hybrid, and offshore collaboration increases, so does the need for robust enterprise portfolio and program management and remote project management capabilities.
Take a sizeable wholesale food distribution company, for example, that spent a year upgrading processes, improving Sharepoint and Power BI capabilities, and creating a new project portfolio management and reporting process to streamline its annual planning processes and prioritize IT requests. To further enhance processes, it established a high-performing program management office and worked to grow it in maturity before scaling.
Working through common challenges such as collaboration, productivity and team building can help enable integration and product innovation and enhance decision making throughout complex project deployments. To overcome the geography hurdle in project management, consider the following techniques:
Establish Clear Lead Roles to Represent Offshore and Onshore Teams
Effective communication and collaboration are critical if your team is spread across geographic locations. To help keep an open flow of information, identify an individual (and a backup) at each location to serve as a main point of contact and to help keep the team focused.
Monitor Intersection Points (Interim Milestones)
Proactively plan for the impact of internal and external dependencies when considering international time zones. Before leaving for the day, ensure all teams, both domestic and offshore, are prepared to begin their work. Check the environment and resource availability, codes needed to properly check in, data availability, and other project-specific needs.
Implement Simple, Consistent Metrics Across the Team
Requesting basic metrics consistently across all onshore, offshore, remote, and hybrid teams enables improved communication. Good examples include planned and actual dates, percent complete, and other established project KPIs.
Hold Brief Stand-Up Meetings to Ensure Teams Are Enabled
Create a 15-minute stand-up meeting at least once each week. Encourage team members to share accomplishments, upcoming activities, and anything from others to keep the project on track and budget.
Ensure Team Inclusion Through Consistent Program Leadership Communications and Onsite Visits
Regularly provide verbal and written updates and recognize the team’s milestones and individual contributions. Plan for onsite visits to team members to reiterate the importance of each team.
A successful remote project management model requires focus and discipline. Geography need not be a barrier but instead a key part of the regular workings – and deep culture – of your team.