Managing a remote project and team is easily achieved once we ensure the tools and processes we employ are designed for remote access. Whilst a lot of the tools and processes referenced in this article are core parts of technical teams, they are smoothly adopted by non-technical teams to provide the same benefits. One of the most common mistakes people make when moving to a remote team is to attempt to completely replicate the onsite experience and cadence. As remote teams differ from onsite, so must our managerial approach.
A common fear I hear from onsite managers, when faced with moving to a remote team , is their perceived lack of visibility into what their team is doing. How do I know if they’re even working? How can I prepare my stakeholders for delays or alterations? How can I see what the team is currently working on? Most managers will experience apprehension and fear at the prospect of such a lack of control and visibility. It is entirely possible to obtain better control, communication and collaboration as a remote team. My first step in achieving this is to break the challenge into 2 complimentary objectives: 1. Manage the work and 2. Take care of the people
I very much advocate for monitoring the work completed and in progress in order to determine how effectively the individuals on your team are working. The amount of hours they commit each day; or the time of day at which they wish to complete the work, is not as relevant as the actual output. There are numerous processes and tools available to assist with this so I simply cover my top 3 recommendations here.
This daily touchpoint provides you with a clear and up to date picture of how your team is progressing through their work so you can assign work or update stakeholders accordingly.
Having this Standup at a time that suits everyone may seem obvious but be mindful of different timezones and clock changes! Making it first thing in the morning can also be a good motivation to get everyone up and online.
When a team operates fully remotely it can be difficult to ascertain the mood of individuals, their level of engagement, their satisfaction in their work. All of these things have a significant impact on team dynamics and throughput, just as they would in an onsite environment. There are a number of tools and processes available to assist with managing these things but I’ll highlight my top 3:
In general, I feel Remote Team Management is very similar to Onsite Team Management in that the best approach is the one most suited to the individuals and the objectives at hand. All processes and tools must be reviewed by the team on a regular basis with an openness to change and trialling new ideas .
Talk to one of our senior team for expert advice
Sonya Hogan, Technical Director at NearForm leads one of our largest teams. Find out more about remote work and why our approach consistently delivers. Get in touch, we’re happy to chat.