Whether you are managing projects across multiple remote locations or employing a team of offshore website developers, it is important to manage your distributed teams effectively. There are many financial and non financial considerations you need to keep in mind.
Distributed teams or the “human cloud” is a concept that has been made possible through the advances in technology, but really working practices and objectives have remained largely unchanged.
We still need to set goals, define timescales, ensure constant communication and review progress. It’s just that the people doing that might not be working in direct proximity to each other.
Therefore, it is essential that the project manager ensures everybody involved in a project is on the same page and working to one common goal. Here are 5 ways to ensure your distributed projects run smoothly and for the good of your business.
1. Establish Ground Rules Early On
If you cannot be with your team in person during the working day, it is important that ground rules are established as early on as possible. This means staying connected with your teams, agreeing on working hours, requesting work progress reports on a timely basis and any other factors that are specific to your business or the project at hand.
2. Ensure Constant Contact And Communication
When you are running a distributed team you do not have the same insight as you would have working with a team in the same office or an office down the corridor. This calls for a little discipline when it comes to communication. Whether you agree to have a Skype session every Friday afternoon or every week day morning or you are happy for a work progress report to be sent by email each week, it is important that the communication channels are open and used. Poor communication is the number one project killer.
3. Invest In The Best Collaborative Technology
Without cloud computing, high speed internet and mobile devices, a distributed team would be almost impossible. With so much technology at your disposal it is essential that you leverage the right technologies early on and establish solid working practices within your team. When implemented correctly, cloud technologies and collaboration tools can harness real power within your teams and turn them into an efficient and productive human cloud benefiting from collective intelligence and communication.
4. Manage Workloads Effectively
Maintaining control of any team is a challenge but when you are managing a distributed or virtual team it becomes even more so. To avoid duplication or non-completion of project tasks, ensure that all work is assigned properly and in writing or within a project management system. Ensure that your team members have a clear understanding of what is expected of them and when it is to be delivered.
5. Try To Arrange At Least One Face To Face Meeting
As great as the best HD video collaboration system is or the latest mobile video software, nothing can come close to a real face to face meeting. In fact, studies have shown that productivity can increase when team members meet each other in the flesh. Perhaps it is because they now see that person as real and tangible and share a common ground with them. Whatever the reason, do your best to arrange at least one meeting where everybody is in the same room together.
This is a guest contribution written by Aviva Tabachnik, resident currency expert at OPP award winning comparison website MyCurrencyTransfer. Last week, the company represented the UK at SXSW in Texas, one of the largest US technology show. It debuted it’s new innovation, CurrencyTransfer.com.
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