Most project managers have to deal with a fast-paced schedule that requires everybody to be efficient and on track from the beginning of the project to the end. Project management software can help keep things organized, but there are other ways to keep your team on track as a supplement to PM tools. Here are some suggestions that you can use to make sure your virtual team doesn’t stray from their schedule and gets the project delivered on time.
Don’t Rely Too Much on Email
On the surface, email seems like a good way to handle project management needs. It’s fast, reliable, and leaves a paper trail that makes things easier to check on later. However, it would help if you kept in mind that email gets used for many different things, so it’s also easier to get lost or forgotten about in the sea of information. Rather than rely on email, make sure you carry out important conversations on your project management platform. Enterprise PM tools offer you many options for communication and make it easy to keep track of follow-ups, providing you with useful checklists and threaded conversations that have less chance of getting lost or forgotten about due to information overload.
Keep Detailed Documentation
Have you ever had an issue where multiple people on a project each have a different take on what instructions were given to them at a status meeting? Such a problem tends to arise when there is a lack of clear documentation. Even if you think your instructions were clear and to the point, somebody else might have taken the discussion unexpectedly. Email can mitigate this to a degree, but even that sometimes causes problems with context and tone. The best way to keep things efficient in this regard is to tap into PM tools that provide strong document management and easy access to action items. This can reduce misunderstandings and keep everybody on the same page throughout the life of the project.
Consider the Time Zone
A common trap that people in every work environment find themselves in is the tendency to think of time as a universal thing that everybody experiences in the same way. Even though most people realize that time zones and scheduling differences can shake things up, it’s not often something we consciously recognize. When it comes to a virtual team, remember that the group is likely decentralized and working across many different time zones. This should be taken into consideration when it comes to matters such as meetings and deadlines. Project management software usually provides ways to mitigate this problem of perspective. Celoxis, for example, offers multi-time zone support for its tools.
Enterprise project management software is the single most useful tool you can have in making sure that your job goes effectively and smoothly. Using these tools and the tips above will help keep even an inexperienced virtual team on track, which will keep the project moving along at top efficiency.