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Seven Guidelines for Virtual Project Management

In our global business environment, we work with people from different backgrounds. To be an effective team, we need to focus on proactive project management. Here are a few tips I have learned during my career as a global project manager: 1. Relationships:  Relationships always matter, but it is more involved with a global team. When you […]

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In our global business environment, we work with people from different backgrounds. To be an effective team, we need to focus on proactive project management.

Here are a few tips I have learned during my career as a global project manager:

1. Relationships: 

Relationships always matter, but it is more involved with a global team. When you start a global project or if you join the project mid-way, make sure to take the time to build relationships first. Engage the group and have a few minutes of general conversations before you jump into the project details. Take the time to learn about the people and cultures as you build those relationships.

2. Goals: 

Once you have the initial connections, start working on and sharing goals for the project and its strategic importance, verbalizing the information and ensuring that you also create visuals with the same information. You will have both visual and auditory individuals on your team. Sharing the information via multiple channels will guarantee that you are communicating the goal clearly.

a. Roles and Responsibilities: 

Create a document outlining what the key roles are, either via a RACI chart of a visual using MS PowerPoint. The main purpose is to confirm that the whole team understands what their role is on the team and how they are going to contribute.

b. Timelines: 

I use MS Project to include all the key tasks in a document. You can also use Excel if that works better for you. Keeping track of who needs to do what and by when will keep the project in order and clarify the responsibilities for the team.

c. Time Zones: 

Be proactive about the various time zones you’re working with and find a balance when you are trying to set up meetings. Make sure that early morning or late night calls are spread out among the various time zones. Use tools collaborative tools to connect.

d. Respect: 

Global projects are usually longer, more complex, and come with added pressure. Despite these challenges, make sure to keep respect. Timelines can move and project scope can change, but once you lose respect, you cannot get it back.

e. Celebrate: 

When you reach major milestones on the project, celebrate them in ways that the whole global and virtual team can enjoy.

Project management is about people helping you meet the goals. Invest in the relationships, and the team will achieve its goals.

What has worked for you as a project manager? Please share: [email protected]

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