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Remote-project Management

We were all busy with our daily routines when it hit! It took the world weeks to realize the seriousness of the virus but when we did, most of us did not have a plan B for our businesses. Remote project management for the running projects and the ones in the queue turned out to be our greatest challenge of the 2020.

If the pandemic had thought us many lessons, one certainly was the fact that: the traditional physical office work mode is outdated; the modern workforce prefers to work remotely! The foundation of flexible work, however, goes back to 1967 when the political economist and management consultant, C. Kaemmerer, advised the German aerospace company Messerschmitt-Bolkow-Blohm to provide various work schedules to its employees who were suffering from late arrivals everyday due to morning traffic and adverse road conditions. The concept proved to be successful and it was further developed in 1970s to spread across the globe. Developments in information and communication technologies across the globe transformed the norms of standard employment to a new model where employees could enjoy nonstandard working hours and diverse workplaces. Today, flexible work policies are recognized and recommended by the International Labor Organization (ILO), the European Union (EU), and the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and governments.

Many large and medium size businesses already had CRMs in place, which helped them a great deal to manage their operations. Software companies also introduced many new CRMs that could be customized based on clients’ needs. Some were affordable and some were priced ridiculously high.

Even with the CRMs in place (or not), remote project management, communication, and coordination remains as a critical challenge. It is still possible to overcome such challenges through virtual meetings and simple, free google software. The first step is developing a common vision which will include the project scope, the timeline, the deliverables, the budget, and the roles and responsibilities of each team member. Next, to share these project plans, it is best to gather every team member in an audio-visual meeting. It is important to make sure that everyone is there, everyone is onboard with the project plans, and everyone has had the chance to discuss plans freely. The project manager can utilize the free internal share folders, google OneDrive, or Dropbox to share and update project files and folders. Everyone should have access to these folders and should be able to view/edit as required. The last but most important step is to keep up with the team members, conduct follow-up meetings, and regular team meetings. Get engaged with the work process and let your team members know that you are there for them, even if they can’t meet you face-to-face.

Remote project management can offer many benefits to team members and to organizations. Team members can benefit from higher work-life balance and lower stress levels. Organizations can benefit from improved performance, lower overhead costs, and better chances of acquiring and retaining top talents.

Dr. Vida Moradi

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