Ready to learn about remote project management?
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of project managers have no choice but to work remotely.
Does that mean your project work will dramatically slow down?
On the contrary, managing your teams and projects in a remote position can help you get way more work done in half the time!
If you know how… 😉
And with all that extra time on your hands, you can finally binge-watch those shows you’ve been putting off!
At ClickUp, our engineering team releases new features every week. Even now, as our entire team is working remotely – we haven’t slowed down – despite COVID.
How do we pull it off?
In this article, we’ll talk about what remote project management is, its pros and cons, its processes, and the best tips management software to breeze through your projects!
This Article Contains:
(click on the links to jump to a specific section)
- What is remote project management?
- 4 key advantages of remote project management
- 4 essential processes in remote project management
- 3 remote project management roadblocks (with solutions)
Let’s get this started.
What is Remote Project Management?
Remote project management is all about managing team members who aren’t in the same location as you are. And ever since COVID-19 started, it means managing team members who are working from home.
How is it different from regular project management?
While remote project management shares some of the same processes as standard project management – they’re both executed differently.
Think of it like this:
‘The Simpsons’ and ‘Family Guy’ have the same concept and goal. They’re animated TV shows about American families that are created to make you laugh out loud.
However, they’re still entirely different shows.
When working in an office environment, your team is always nearby, so you would primarily communicate through face-face conversations.
But when you’re suddenly managing projects and teams remotely, it can be challenging to stay on top of tasks and deadlines.
Don’t worry, that doesn’t mean remote project management is inherently worse!
All you have to do is use a task management software to manage your remote team, and you’ll be fine!
How is it different from virtual project management?
Remote project management and virtual project management are like ‘Full House’ twins, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen.
They might have different names, but they both played Michelle Tanner in the show, and no one even noticed!
The same goes for remote and virtual project management – both terms are interchangeable.
And what about ‘distributed teams’?
They’re another synonym for remote and virtual teams!
Some teams prefer calling themselves a ‘virtual team’, while others call themselves a ‘remote team’ – it’s all up to you!
4 Key Advantages of Remote Project Management
Having more time to binge-watch Tiger King isn’t the only benefit you get from managing your teams remotely.
There are tons of other benefits you’ll experience by working from home – and we’re not just talking about more comfortable work clothes!
Here’s a look at what you can expect:
1. Far fewer information gaps
When you work in an office, you’re going to be involved in a random group discussion – whether you like it or not!
Whether its coffee-break talks or water cooler discussions – there’s a lot of information that gets passed here. And if you’re not at these discussions, you’re going to lose out on important information!
Even if you are part of the conversation, what if you don’t remember all that was discussed? Or worse – remember things incorrectly!
All these can cause a knowledge gap so big that even BMX bikers couldn’t jump it!
However, when you’re managing projects remotely, your primary mode of communication would not be face-to-face discussions, or even video conferencing!
Instead, you would use tools like Slack for real-time conversations and manage your tasks through remote project management tools.
Nearly all your team communication would be documented.
This ensures that no information is omitted, misinterpreted, or lost, and your development team is always aware of what’s going on within the project.
2. Increased Accountability
Information and accountability go together like Bert and Ernie!
As project management tools and employee monitoring software let you always see what your team is working on, they’ll naturally feel more responsible for their actions. So if something does go wrong, your remote team will own up to it rather than point fingers.
Additionally, your remote workers will have more freedom to do tasks their way. This way, they can solve their own problems without having to depend too heavily on their manager.
This saves your project team from descending into chaos the moment you step away!
3. Better work-life balance
Here’s a shocking fact:
Did you know that an average employee spends only 3 hours on actual productive work?
The rest of the time is spent chatting with our coworkers, getting lunch, attending meetings, and so on.
Managing remotely from your home office frees up a lot of time to focus solely on your projects. You also get to spend more time with your family, pets, or that new true-crime documentary you’ve wanted to watch for a while!
4. Access to a greater talent pool (and more clients!)
If you’re not happy with the variety of shows on cable TV – what would you do?
You switch to Netflix, Hulu, Prime, and a gazillion other streaming services!
Similarly, when you work out of a regular office – you’re location-limited when it comes to talent.
What does that mean?
You can usually only hire talent from the same city!
But when you start managing projects remotely, you no longer face that problem – you can hire team members from anywhere!
But hey… there’s more!
If you build a remote team full of team members based out of other time zones – you get an additional benefit.
It gives your team the time to cater to tons of clients and customers from all over the world! For example, your remote team members in Australia can work when your team in England is asleep and vice versa.
Like most news channels – your company would be running 24 hours a day!
4 Essential Processes in Remote Project Management
Managing projects remotely doesn’t have to be too different from managing projects in an office.
However, as you’re not there in person to manage projects and tasks, you’re going to have to rely on the right remote project management software.
Luckily, that’s exactly what ClickUp is.
ClickUp is one of the world’s highest-rated remote project management tools. It’s used by around 100,000+ teams around the globe, including ones from giants like Google, Airbnb, Uber, and Netflix.
It has all the features you need to manage remote projects with ease!
Now, let’s take a look at the processes of managing a remote team and how ClickUp can help you with them:
1. Create and Assign Tasks
It’s vital for every team member to understand what they need to do. They also need to know how their work impacts the rest of the team.
For example, let’s look at the Justice League.
Each team member has a very specific role to play, and if they mix that up – they’re not going to get the job done!
It’s the job of the project manager to ensure that everyone in a remote team knows what they have to do and execute it perfectly!
How ClickUp helps you create and assign tasks
Creating and assigning tasks is as easy as microwaving some popcorn for your next Netflix binge!
Just click on the rainbow + button on the bottom-right corner in ClickUp – and you’ll be greeted with a task box.
Give your task a name and choose a Space for your task to get started.
In just a few clicks, you can designate tasks for your remote team from anywhere! Just click on the icon, and you’ll see a list of team members you can assign that task to!
This way, your team will always know what they have to do in a project.
That’s not all!
You want your remote team to be as powerful as the Justice League, right?
We’ve created an even quicker way to assign tasks that even Flash would be proud of!
Slash commands help you instantly assign tasks from your keyboard. Just type /a into ClickUp, and the assignee list pops up again!
2. Facilitate remote collaboration
Just because your team members have to self-isolate doesn’t mean they have to work independently!
You need to encourage your remote engineering team to reach out to their fellow team members for help when they need it. Remember, every successful project is built on a strong base of team collaboration!
Because when your team talks to each other, they can help each other complete their tasks quicker and better!
How ClickUp facilitates remote collaboration
ClickUp is not just a popular remote project management software; it’s also one of the most powerful collaboration tools.
Every task in ClickUp comes with its very own comment section where your team can tag each other, communicate updates, and share files with each other.
But that isn’t all.
When your go-to communication channel is comments, it’s easy for information to get overlooked.
After all, there are so many comments being shared at the same time, right?
It’s like surfing through all the shows on Netflix!
But don’t worry – with ClickUp, none of your comments will ever go unnoticed.
Need project team members to immediately take action on one of your task comments? Just assign a comment to them.
It’ll pop up in their task tray, and your remote employees can get started on it immediately!
3. Use the same project management software for all processes
Now that your whole development team is working remotely, they need to use project management tools to streamline their work.
But what about other stakeholders and teams you need to work with – like marketing, top management, design, and so on?
If every team in your company uses a different set of tools, their work will be scattered and disorganized. Additionally, your team would have to install tons of different management software – just for a single project!
Instead, why not switch to a single project management software that has all the features you need to manage all your company’s processes?
*cough* like ClickUp *cough*
How ClickUp helps you consolidate your entire company’s project management
Sure, it’s annoying when different team members use different tools.
But have you ever wondered why everyone likes a different tool?
It’s because they have different preferences and work better with different things!
And unlike the Star Trek vs. Star Wars debate, we can settle this easily!
ClickUp understands that every remote team member has different needs and preferences. That’s why we created a project management software that offers flexible views that adapt to every team member’s preferences!
Here are some of the views your remote team members can choose from:
A. List View
Display all project tasks in a checklist format, perfect for those who just want to get things done!
B. Board View
Display every task (along with its task status) on interactive Kanban boards – perfect for software developers or any team using agile project management.
Displays all your project tasks in a calendar that can be viewed on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
D. Box View
Shows you high-level overviews of the tasks that every team member is currently working on – perfect for project managers and scrum masters.
E. Me Mode
This only displays your tasks. Perfect for those who just want to focus on their own deliverables.
But that’s not all, folks!
ClickUp is the only remote project management software that lets you switch between views in the same project in a click. This way, team members can toggle between different views whenever they want to!
4. Track your project status and progress
While working in an office, your team usually has a clear vision of the project’s progress. You can easily talk to team members and conduct meetings in minutes to keep everyone up-to-date.
However, when you’re managing your team remotely, you can’t have these interactions.
As a result, your team’s vision for the project will be as hazy as static!
And instead of adjusting the antenna, you should adjust your communication.
You need to constantly remind your project team to give regular status updates about their objectives and tasks. However, manually quizzing them for regular updates won’t win you a ‘best manager’ award!
How ClickUp helps you keep everyone on the same page
Want to know what tasks your remote team is working on in real-time?
ClickUp projects can be given custom task statuses. Engineering teams can have “in progress” and “bug tests” while design teams can have “wireframing” and “client review.”
As your remote team members progress through their tasks, they can adjust these statuses accordingly. This way, all you need is a quick look at a status to know where things stand!
Here are two words every project manager should know – ‘Gantt charts.’
ClickUp’s Gantt View helps you visualize the entire project timeline from start to finish. It lays out all your project tasks and even shows how certain tasks are linked to each other.
This way, you can quickly take stock of a project’s progress in seconds!
But that isn’t the best part about these Gantt charts.
They also do their job automatically!
Here are some of its features:
- They readjust the tasks whenever you change the schedule automatically
- They automatically calculate your progress percentage in real-time
- They can help you instantly calculate your critical path
However, those aren’t all of ClickUp’s project tracking features.
You also get these useful charts for scrum masters and agile project managers:
- Burn up charts – highlights the project tasks your remote team has completed so far
- Burndown charts – highlights the amount of work remaining in a project
- Velocity Charts – determines your team’s task completion rate
- Cumulative flow – visualizes project’s progress over a time period
3 Remote Project Management Roadblocks (and Solutions)
Everyone faces common challenges when they go to work every day, right?
Whether it’s miscommunication or a lack of motivation – we’ve all gone through it.
But these small hurdles become pole vault bars when you’re managing a team remotely!
But don’t worry.
We’ve included some solutions to help you seamlessly jump over your obstacles!
1. Frequent miscommunication
Yes, remote project management promotes transparency.
But there’s a drawback!
In face to face meetings at the office, you can judge body language, facial expressions, and the tone at the same time – giving people context over what was said.
But when you’re managing remotely, you don’t have these regular face to face meetings – so there’s no context.
It’s like looking at Family Guy and assuming that it’s a children’s show since it’s an animation. When there’s no context – things can go very very wrong!
And secondly, not everyone likes to communicate the same way.
Some team members might be bad at replying to group chats but are great at video conferencing. Some go blank during video calls but are used to asynchronous communication (sending messages at their own pace), like emails.
Solution: Use the right tools to communicate effectively
Before you start the project work, ask your remote employees about their communication preferences, and use those channels accordingly.
It’s also a good idea to use different communication tools based on context:
A. Video conferencing
Need to explain complicated tasks to your project team? Get on a video call.
Let’s say you want your project team to revamp a product landing page.
A quick message wouldn’t be enough for this complex task, right?
It’d be like trying to explain a Game of Thrones episode in 100 words – good luck with that!
Luckily, video-conferencing tools like Eyeson and Microsoft Teams are perfect for this.
Bonus tip: If you want to explain something to your team in detail but don’t have the time to get on a video-call with them, just record your screen while explaining things. ClickUp’s screencast tool is the perfect tool for the job!
B. Group chat
If your remote employees live in different time zones – group chat (like Slack channels or ClickUp comments) is the way to go!
You can use this communication channel to deliver regular updates or announcements. This way, your remote team members can reply to your messages whenever they’re available.
2. Lack of motivation and lower productivity
Small talk is awkward and serves no purpose, right?
Actually, small talk and personal interaction in the office can boost our emotional well-being. It helps us connect and engage with our team and the project.
But when you’re working remotely– you barely interact with your remote team members, and even when you do, it’s only about project work.
This can make you feel disconnected – resulting in your productivity and motivation taking a nosedive.
Solution: Regularly connect with your team
Don’t let your team be forgotten, like the show ‘American Gladiators!’
Now is the time to get to know your remote project team members better.
Use video conferencing tools like Microsoft Teams and Google Hangouts Meet to conduct daily meetings. Even if they’re just for a few minutes, these meetings can help your team back on track.
Ensure that you keep a portion of these meetings dedicated to casual talk and building team chemistry. All work and no play doesn’t make a good team!
If an individual team member is stuck in a rut – you can quickly have face to face meetings to discuss solutions.
3. Security issues
After the recent Zoom data leaks, everyone’s worried about the security of remote project management.
And rightly so:
Security breaches can expose sensitive company data – which can cause a major risk to your project and your company!
Just ask Mr. Robot:
Solution: Ramp-up your data security measures
You need to create a security protocol to ensure your data is safe.
- Investing in an antivirus software
- Backing up data all the time
- Use data encryption tools like Bitlocker
Also, establish clear rules in your company related to things like data sharing and passwords. Once everyone in your team is on the same page about your data security, hacking into it becomes much harder!
And one of the key ways to get everyone on the same page is by starting with your project management software.
Luckily, ClickUp gives you everything you need to protect your data.
ClickUp allows you to share project files, folders, and task lists only with the people you choose. This way, you can ensure that your project data doesn’t fall into the wrong hands!
You can decide what your team members or a specific client can do in ClickUp via ‘permissions’.
Here a few types of permissions you can set:
- Can view: guests can view project details but can’t add comments
- Can comment: guests can add comments on the tasks and task lists
- Can edit: guests can edit tasks but can’t create their own tasks
- Create and edit: guests can create their own tasks and subtasks
- Can delete: guests can delete tasks that they did not create
Let’s face it…remote project management is the new norm.
And it will continue to thrive even after the pandemic is long-gone!
The more you fine-tune the processes, the more you and your distributed teams can achieve!
However, managing your remote teams without project management software would be like trying to watch TV with the cord unplugged!
Which is only possible in an X-Files episode!
Fortunately, ClickUp has all the project management and communication features you need to make your remote job way easier!
Try ClickUp today to help you breeze through your tasks and give you more time to focus on binge-watching TV! 😉
Erica is ClickUp’s Senior Content Manager and professional beach bum. She spends her days creating emails, blogs, landing pages, and more to help people increase their productivity so they can save one day every week to do more of what they love.