As more and more companies are adopting remote work, managing projects has become more challenging, especially when it comes to managing multiple projects at the same time. With team members spread across different locations and time zones, it can be difficult to stay organized and on track. Fortunately, there are many project management tools available to help remote teams stay connected, organized and collaborate seamlessly. In this post, we'll take a look at the best project management tools for remote teams and provide tips on how to choose the right one for your business.
What is remote project management?
Remote project management is a specialized form of project management, suitable for team members who work remotely.
With increasing numbers of businesses allowing employees the flexibility to work from anywhere in the world, an ever growing number of projects are now managed remotely. Remote project management enables teams to make the most of the skills and expertise of their colleagues, without them having to be based in the same physical space.
Remote project management focuses on communication tools and technology designed to make information sharing simpler, to equip employees with everything they need to get the job done from wherever they happen to be based.
What are the benefits of remote project management?
Remote project management brings with it a number of benefits for both employer and employee. Take a look at some of the ways that this specialized style of project management can make a difference to the whole team - and the outcomes of the projects they’re working on.
Streamlined planning and delegation
Colleagues no longer need to be based in the same room to assign tasks and plan their workloads effectively. Remote project management software comes complete with all the planning and delegation tools they need to assign each task to the best person for the job, and monitor progress in real time.
Global talent pool
Businesses are no longer limited to the experts in their immediate area when recruiting for roles, or outsourcing jobs. Remote project management allows companies to make full use of a talent pool that isn’t restricted by geographical location. Team members can bring a variety of perspectives and expertise to every project they work on.
Flexibility and work-life balance
In terms of employee benefits, the work life balance that remote working can provide is hard to beat. Employees can work from the location that suits them best, and the long commutes of times gone by soon become a distant memory. This brings considerable benefits, from a boost in morale and job satisfaction to noticeable improvements in productivity.
Businesses taking advantage of remote working arrangements soon start to make savings. Companies no longer require as much office space, and businesses can easily start to cut down on bills for utilities and other equipment as they begin to reallocate resources in a more effective way.
Let’s not forget the environmental benefits of remote working. By working remotely, employees can massively reduce their carbon footprint, improving the eco-friendliness of the business without impacting its productivity in any way. This is perfect for organizations that are starting to prioritize their sustainability goals.
The challenges of remote team project management
Remote working brings some incredible benefits for staff and businesses, but it’s not without its challenges. If you’re thinking of making the switch to remote project management, consider how you might overcome some of the most common issues that remote teams encounter.
Communication and collaboration obstacles
When team members aren’t based in the same place, communication inevitably becomes more difficult. However, communication and collaboration tools such as live chat, messenger services and video conferencing can be used to counteract these difficulties.
Time zone management and workflow coordination
Many businesses opt to recruit team members from all over the world, to ensure they have the best talent in their midst. But doing so does mean that employees may be working in different time zones, which can cause problems when it comes to scheduling meetings and setting deadlines.
Building trust and team cohesion virtually
It’s difficult to build meaningful relationships if employees only converse by phone or online. This can cause problems in terms of team cohesion, and affect trust between team members and different departments.
It’s important that remote teams have the opportunity to discuss projects and build relationships, so ensure that communication channels are always open. Some businesses also opt to bring teams together in the real world at regular intervals, to help nurture relationships and boost collaboration amongst their remote workers.
Tips for Successful Remote Project Management
Choosing the right project management tool is just one part of successful remote project management. Here are some additional tips to help you manage your remote team effectively.
Set clear project goals and expectations
Set clear expectations: Make sure that everyone on your team is on the same page and understands their role and responsibilities. Set clear expectations for deadlines, communication and project deliverables.
Ensure that projects are clearly defined from day one, and that everyone is on the same page in terms of project goals and their individual responsibilities. Remember, project goals should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound).
Implement agile methodologies
Use agile project management methodologies to plan and run projects. These methodologies lend themselves perfectly to remote project management, as they focus on collaboration and flexibility within teams.
Agile project management relies on a number of continuous releases, instead of a more rigid, linear plan like those followed in waterfall project management. This is well suited to remote teams, as it helps projects to run seamlessly while still providing the opportunity for employees to collaborate as different tasks are ticked off the list.
Monitor and track progress
All good project management strategies rely on careful monitoring, and remote project management is no exception. For best results, projects should be monitored regularly, with progress clearly tracked in a way that provides full visibility for all team members.
Team members should have the means to update progress on individual tasks, giving everyone a clear picture of the stage the project has reached, and what’s up next. This allows team members to plan their workloads effectively, while also reducing the risk of unexpected challenges derailing a project’s progress.
Establish effective remote communication protocols
The effectiveness of communication protocols makes all the difference in remote project management.
Nurture a culture of communication by encouraging team members to communicate frequently and openly. Make sure that everyone feels comfortable sharing their ideas and feedback. Creating a company culture lke this is much more difficult when your team is fully remote but it remains important to keep an eye on this. There are also a few things than can be done to help, including:
Schedule regular check-ins - Regularly meet with your team to ensure that everyone is on the same page. Project management tools make tasks like this simple.
Use video conferencing - Video conferencing can help remote teams stay connected and communicate more effectively. Make sure that your team has access to a reliable video conferencing tool. But don't overdo it! Too many meetings often lead to a less productive team
Leverage asynchronous communication - Asynchronous communication can be used to improve the efficiency of remote teams, while also helping to overcome common issues such as time zone differences. Working in this way allows team members to do as much as they can with what they have, before handing over the reins to a colleague so progress is never halted.
Centralize data and documentation - Make information sharing simpler, by centralizing data and improving document sharing options for all team members. Project management software for remote working, like Hello Ivy, are ideal for businesses looking to help colleagues share information more easily. Such platforms tear down silos by putting all the information teams might need in one place, and organizing it in a way that makes sense to all involved.
Select the right project management tools for your remote needs
Remote teams now depend on a whole host of online tools and software, all of which have been designed to help them fulfill their potential. These project management tools make a huge difference to remote workforces, helping them to prioritize their workloads, visualize progress and assign tasks with ease.
Data sharing becomes simpler once information has been centralized with project management tools, and teams can communicate and collaborate more easily via shared documents that update in real time.
Explore the enormous range of project management tools that are now available for remote teams to find the best options for your business.
Read our other blog post for more tips: "The 6 principles of managing a successful project".
Why Remote Teams Need Project Management Tools
Remote teams face unique challenges when it comes to project management. Communication can be difficult when team members are not in the same location, and it can be hard to keep track of who is working on what. Often, just using a plain chat application such as Slack doesn't cut the job. But there's good news, there are many project management tools can help remote teams stay organized, collaborate effectively, and streamline workflows. They provide a centralized platform for project management and enable team members to work together in real-time (or async), no matter where they are located.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Project Management Tool for Remote Teams
When choosing a project management tool for your remote team, there are several factors to consider. Some of the most important include ease of use, collaboration features, and integrations with other tools. Other factors to consider include cost, security, and scalability. It's important to choose a tool that meets the specific needs of your business and is tailored to your team's unique workflows.
Another important factor to consider when choosing a project management tool for remote teams is scalability. As your business grows and your team expands, you want to make sure that the project management tool you choose can accommodate your changing needs. Look for a tool that can handle large projects with multiple teams and has the ability to scale up or down depending on your needs. Additionally, consider how the tool's pricing structure works and if it allows for easy upgrades or downgrades as your team size changes. Choosing a tool that is both scalable and flexible can save you time and money in the long run.
What are the Best Project Management Tools for Remote Teams?
There are many project management tools available on the market, but not all are created equal. Here are some of the best project management tools for remote teams:
Hello Ivy is probably the easiest project management tool to use, there is no learning curve. Hello Ivy focuses on making project management for small to medium sized teams easier to use. No complexity, no clutter, no tools you'll never use. Hello Ivy is a beautiful and clean app with a great UX and workflows that make sense. Hello Ivy offers tasks management, docs, files, group and 1-on-1 chat and timeline views. Overall, Hello Ivy is one of the best project management tools to use if you have a team below 50 people.
Asana is a popular cloud-based project management tool that allows teams to collaborate, communicate, and organize their work in one place. It offers a range of features, including task management, team communication, and project tracking. Asana’s user-friendly interface and customizable templates make it an excellent choice for remote teams of any size.
Trello is a visual project management tool that uses Kanban boards, lists, and cards to organize and prioritize tasks. It’s a flexible and easy-to-use platform that allows teams to collaborate and keep track of their progress. Trello is also customizable, making it a great choice for remote teams that need to adapt to changing circumstances. However the focus of Trello is solely on Kanban boards and lacks other project management tools.
Monday.com is a visual and customizable project management tool focused on that allows (bigger) teams to manage tasks, deadlines, and projects in real-time. It has a bunch of customizable templates that make it easy to use for remote teams. Monday.com also offers a range of integrations, including Google Drive and Dropbox.
Basecamp is a simplified project management tool that offers a range of features, including task management, team communication, and file sharing. It’s a simple and intuitive tool that’s easy to use for remote teams of any size. Basecamp also offers a range of integrations, including Google Docs and Zapier.
Jira is a popular project management tool that’s designed for agile software development teams. It offers a range of features, including task management, team communication and collaboration, and project tracking. Jira’s dashboards and reports make it an excellent choice for remote teams that need to stay on top of their projects and love to have every feature in the book.
While not strictly a project management tool, Slack is a communication (chat) platform that can be incredibly useful for remote teams. It offers instant messaging, voice and video calls, and file sharing. Slack’s integrations with other project management tools, such as Asana, Hello Ivy and Trello, make it easy to stay organized and productive.
ProofHub is a cloud-based project management tool that offers a range of features, including resource management, team collaboration, and project tracking. It’s an all-in-one solution that makes it easy for remote teams to manage their work from start to finish.
Wrike is project management software that offers a range of features, it mostly focuses on enterprise clients. It’s a customizable platform that can be tailored to meet the needs of remote teams of any size. Wrike also offers integrations such as Salesforce and Adobe Creative Cloud.
Google Workspace is a cloud-based suite of productivity tools that includes Gmail, Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides. It’s a versatile platform that can be used for a range of tasks, including project management. Google Workspace’s integrations with other project management tools, such as Asana and Trello.
Plutio is a project management tool designed specifically for freelancers and small businesses. It offers features such as time tracking, invoicing, file management and collaboration tools all in one place. With Plutio, you can easily manage your projects and clients, automate invoicing and payment tracking, and collaborate with team members, all from a single platform.
Hive is another project management app that offers a range of features to help remote teams stay organized and productive. Hive's main selling point is its ability to integrate with other productivity tools, including Google Drive, Dropbox, and Slack, making it easy to keep all of your project-related files and communications in one place. Hive also offers powerful analytics and reporting features, allowing you to track team performance and make data-driven decisions to improve productivity.
Nifty is a work management tool that offers a comprehensive set of features for remote teams. With Nifty, you can manage projects, tasks, and team communication all in one place. This makes it easy to manage all of your team's work from one central location. Additionally, Nifty offers a range of productivity-focused features, such as time tracking and project analytics, to help remote teams stay on top of their work and hit deadlines. Overall, Nifty is a great option for teams looking for a powerful, all-in-one project management solution.
Remote teams face unique challenges when it comes to project management. The good news is that there are many project management tools available that can help remote teams stay organized, communicate effectively, and collaborate seamlessly.
When choosing the best project management tool for your remote team, consider factors such as ease of use, collaboration features, and integrations with other tools you may be using. Some of the top project management tools for remote teams include Hello Ivy, Asana, Monday.com, ClickUp, and Basecamp.
Remember that the success of your remote team ultimately depends on the tools and processes you have in place. By leveraging the right project management tools and strategies, you can overcome the challenges of remote work and achieve your business goals.