The Remote Project Manager
The Remote Project Manager
The nature of project management is changing
The times when project teams were located together in the same office are disappearing fast. Increasingly project managers are being asked to organise disparate groups in multiple locations across the world. Language and cultural differences as well as limitations with technology and communications make each assignment a unique challenge.
Faster and cheaper internet access and the exponential growth of the cloud is making the world ever smaller. Companies who need to source scarce skills that they can’t find locally are now finding that they can easily tap into a much larger pool of highly skilled resource world-wide. The world’s most valuable resource is knowledge and the market for services and skills is becoming truly global. In a crowded world, limiting migration is being seen as a political priority for a growing number of governments and in this environment the trend towards employing off-shore expertise is only likely to grow.
My experience of remote work goes back further than most. I was running a remote work pilot back in 2005 when most people were on dial-up rather than broadband and internet video conferencing didn’t exist. The trend towards remote work turned into a stampede as the COVID-19 pandemic hit and it seems clear now that a mass return to the office is highly unlikely.
Remote project management is growing rapidly
Many of the approaches that the best project managers use are far more difficult to deploy in an environment where often they may be a disembodied voice in a conference call. Eye contact, body language and the feedback you gain from being in close proximity is lost. More than that, chasing people down for a brief discussion gets trickier. Informality becomes more difficult to achieve and it gets a whole lot harder to pick up on the mood of both individuals and the wider organisation. This is an environment that amplifies the potential for misunderstandings and mistrust. The term ‘remote’ in Remote Project Manager is true on so many levels.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic the popularity of remote work and remote project management was already growing fast. The pandemic hasn’t been responsible for a change in behaviour so much as being a massive accelerant. Remote work is here to stay and Remote Project Management is going to be the predominant way that project management functions in the future.
The soft skills are as important as the technology
This book looks at both the softer aspects of how you manage remotely as well as telling you how to get the most from the available technology. The market for software packages to facilitate Remote Project Management is exploding with a wide range of videoconferencing, meeting, instant messaging, shared storage, knowledge base e-mail and project management solutions available. The number of project management packages on sale alone runs into several hundreds. The book provides information to help you select the right software support for remote work.
“The style in which this book is written lends itself to just keep on reading. As someone who works with teams across multiple time zones and culture I recognised a lot of the topics that are discussed and I can relate to situations described. The author provides some good advice and references that are worth following up and there are some things I just hadn’t considered before. I liked the summaries at the end of key sections which will be good for going back and referring to later. A worthwhile read!” Amazon
“When I first became a project manager, I knew that I was starting something new and I got training and help. Now I am (sometimes ) a remote project manager but I only realised that when I read this book. It is a change that has crept up on me. This short, clearly-written book has helped me to bring into focus the new challenges that I face and start to acquire the new tools and skills that I need in order to overcome them.” Amazon
“Another set of sound common sense from the author. The need for an enhanced set of communication skills is emphasised and I particularly liked the reminders about recognising and adapting to cultural differences. Very few project managers will be able to always manage local teams so this book will be useful to all.” Amazon