Project managers continue to battle with the challenges of running the business with the entire workforce being virtual as businesses revisit their work-from-home and remote team practices. Before the pre-COVID era of 2020, there was an established norm of work-from-home. Businesses had a good mix of virtual teams to have access to the best global talent pool and to be close to their customers. When the entire business is being run by remote teams, there is a shift in running operations and managing resources.
In recent times, remote team productivity, employee motivation, and operational readiness have become more pronounced. Project managers have to devote more time to ensuring they run their business as usual rather than focusing on growth and profitability. We present to you a list of the most common challenges faced by project managers.
'Work From Home' Challenges That Project Managers Face
Project managers face several challenges when managing remote teams and these challenges often revolve around communication, collaboration, and ensuring that projects stay on track. Here are some common work-from-home challenges for project managers and project management tools that can help address them:
Communication Hurdles: Effective communication is the lifeblood of project management. In a remote work setting, project managers often grapple with the challenge of maintaining seamless communication. Project management tools, such as Hello Ivy, Slack, Trello, or Microsoft Teams, can be both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, they facilitate communication, but on the other, they may result in information overload or miscommunication if not used correctly. Project managers must master the art of conveying messages clearly and establishing effective communication channels through these tools.
Security and Data Privacy: The use of project management tools necessitates the sharing of sensitive project-related information. Ensuring data security and privacy is a paramount concern for project managers, especially when team members work from various locations, using different devices and networks. Project managers should work closely with their IT teams to establish robust security protocols and educate team members on best practices for safeguarding data.
Operational Readiness Assurance: Ensuring their home office is functional is important when teams are remote. Teams need to be available during business hours. Slowness on the internet is a dampener during meetings. Not having an optimal workspace can lead to distraction and loss of productivity. The project deadline is impacted by tasks taking longer to complete. It is possible that the team member will have health issues as a result of the resource not being available.
Too many check-point meetings: Project managers tend to make a lot of calls when there are not many in-person interactions. It takes a lot of time and effort to get the updates and see what has happened. This depletes energy from the project manager as well as the remote team members. The critical time that must have been spent optimizing the project is spent on useless babysitting and policing.
Team Collaboration: Collaboration is essential for project success, but remote work can make it more challenging. Project managers need to find ways to keep the team engaged and working together seamlessly.
Tools like Hello Ivy, Asana, Monday.com, or Basecamp offer features that allow teams to collaborate on tasks, share files, and provide feedback, ensuring a cohesive and productive remote team.
Task Tracking & Prioritization: When people aren't working together, task management goes for a toss. The project ends up in chaos when teams don't have visibility into who is working on which tasks. The project team and the project management have to keep a close eye on the progress of the task. Teams miss out on real-time collaboration, task interdependencies lead to delays, and crucial information isn't readily available. Either the work produced is less than optimal or will have to be reworked. The confusion is caused by prioritization changes on the fly. Sharing priority tasks and getting them done on time requires a lot of collaboration and effort.
Time Zone Differences: Remote teams may be spread across different time zones, making it difficult to coordinate and schedule meetings and tasks.
Project management tools with time zone features, like Teamweek or Clockify, allow project managers to schedule tasks and meetings in alignment with the team's time zones, reducing scheduling conflicts and ensuring smooth operations.
Keeping the Teams Productive & Efficient: This is the most difficult part of dealing with remote project teams. Project managers can't control the internal challenges that come with working from home. A business needs its resources to be efficient. Ensuring resources deliver work within agreed timelines is the first logical step. All remote teams need the right tools, platforms, and access to information. Project managers need to do all they can to make their teams perform well. How?
Maintaining optimal Communication: Communication is an important part of project management. It becomes more difficult to deal with virtual teams. The right information needs to be provided to the right audience at the right time. Coffee talks, shoulder tapping, and hallway discussions are no longer an option. Teams have to deal with a response wait time that has been forced. Period!! Business communication requirements and expectations are the same. Status reports, project briefings, time cards, and billing reports need to be shared on time with the clients, project team, and internal stakeholders. Obtaining all required information from multiple team members and sources is a cause for concern.
Technical Issues: Remote work brings with it the challenge of dealing with various technical issues, such as internet connectivity problems, software glitches, and hardware failures. These issues can disrupt project management workflows and affect team productivity. Project management tools typically come with robust technical support and troubleshooting resources. Users can reach out to customer support or access knowledge bases to resolve technical issues quickly. Additionally, project management tools often have automatic backups and version control to safeguard project data in case of technical failures.
How Can Project Managers Address The Remote Team Challenges?
Savvy Project managers understand the benefits of bringing their teams onto a single online collaborative platform.
A platform that offers:
Real-time granular visibility of strategic initiatives
Clarity about executive orders and business deliverables
Makes the team self-reliant to track projects, resources & schedules
Delivering projects within estimations and deadlines
Driving complex projects & processes
Freedom from having to switch between several Excel sheets
Transparent project-task-deliverable-resource mapping
Coordinated, planned and collaborative execution approach
An analytical data-driven platform
Transparent employee feedback and engagement practices
Most of the challenges can be solved with the help of remote project management and collaboration software. The core of the Hello Ivy tool is online and centralized work management. Keeping your teams, tasks, time, and business together is possible thanks to it.
Project planning works well with project templates
Project breakdown is covered in Task Management
There are custom task types, labels, and reminders
The project scheduling is done by the chart
The plan of the day, task tracking, and task progress are brought to life with Kanban boards
Resource management features can increase productivity
Project budget, cost, and expense management are reported
Role-based hourly rates allow operations and delivery teams to stay on top of their work
Deep insights into your project portfolio performance can be found in end-to-end executive reports
Which remote team challenges would you like to be solved quickly? Try Hello Ivy for Free.