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3 Tips for Remote Control

It might be time to put on your virtual reality glasses. In the era of IT, projects are less likely a face-to-face affair. Writing for the Project Management Institute, Dave Wakeman hones in on the importance of managing remote project teams. Wakeman sets this activity into three categories: 1. Managing based on outputs, 2. Setting a clear communication plan, 3. Establishing a chain of command.

Output-Based Management

When managing remotely, the emphasis should be on delivery. Avoid the temptation to become preoccupied with the activities of team members and trust in the abilities of those engaged in the project. Wakeman offers this example: 

The next time someone asks what you need him or her to work on, offer an assignment that is based on a deliverable and that is time-sensitive. That's because activities are not the best metric for measuring team members' participation.

Not only will the emphasis on end goals make it easier to measure the current success of a project, the flexibility of allowing team members to manage their own approaches will ensure that creative means are used to deliver results.

A Clear Communication Plan

Since this article deals with remote management, it almost goes without mentioning the important role communications technologies play for ensuring a project’s success. Set early expectations about how communication will proceed. If not, isolated team members will inevitably succumb to speculation and unproductive observations that will hinder the flow of productivity. A communication plan will help remote interactions become a thing of habit, allowing your team to focus on the project at hand.

An Established Chain of Command

If the paradox of being tasked to manage a project you can’t entirely manage feels daunting, remember that the same technologies that enable remote communication are the ones that can extend your vision of the project to distant locations. By using tools such as work flowcharts, you can set a clear chain of command to effectively disseminate goals that will keep the project moving, and all without hovering over a single person’s virtual shoulder.

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About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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