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Three Important Steps
As project manager, it's a common experience to manage teams with members that are in the same office as well as those who work remotely. Whether you have multiple offices or are dealing with subcontractors or vendors, the more team members your project has, the less likely it is that they are all under the same roof.
How can you ensure that a project with in-house and remote team members is successful while encouraging the effective contribution of each member to the project's goals? Consider these three keys for combining remote and in-house project management.
Create team building opportunities. Because of the physical constraints of working with both in-office and remote team members, it is important for project managers to create situations where the entire team can interface. Occasional full team face-to-face meetings can promote positive relationships between remote and in-house contributors. If a face-to-face meeting isn't possible, consider virtual opportunities like telephone conference calls, video conferencing or live chats. By making team interface a priority in remote project management, you can help all team members feel a part of the process, ensure everyone is on the same page with project requirements, and help team members build relationships on a more personal level.
Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. There is no substitute for clear and productive communication in effective project management. It can make or break your project success when dealing with both in-house and remote team members. Make a practice of fostering regular communication between remote and in-office contributors. A project protocol that includes status reports and consistent project updates can help team members from different locations stay on the same page and can also keep you as the project manager aware of each team member's progress.
Establish clear expectations. When working with a combination of in-house staff and remote team members on a single project, maintaining a keen understanding of project goals is paramount to project success. With team members working from different locations, clear objectives at each stage of the project can make sure all contributors are working toward the same goal. In addition, both long-term and intermediate goals must be set at the outset and reassessed at each stage of completion to avoid any misunderstanding of project parameters between team members who don't interface on a daily basis.