Remote Project Management

“Remote project management and virtual teams can be a great project model if your organization allows it and your staff is focused on productivity.”  – Brad Egeland

Do you agree with the above statement?  Virtual workplace or some might call it telecommuting was instituted in early 1970s when information technology started to play a greater role in daily operations of the companies.  The Internet has had a revolutionary impact on our daily lives as well as our jobs. Today, some of our occupations would not be existent if Internet was not introduced. As internet connections become more common, workers have ample internet speeds to connect to their corporate headquarters through intranet right from their couch, beach or thousands of miles away from the office.  We are starting to see more and more virtual teams as well as projects that are solely managed remotely.  In his article Brad Egeland gives us few arguments why virtual project management is successful.

  • You have access to the best talent in the world.  Essentially you can hire anyone anywhere and communicate with them without any problems.  This would allow your team to complete your projects much faster since you would have the best talent.
  • Your profit margin increases and you can win more projects.  By utilizing less expensive offshore teams you will be cutting some of the costs.  Also, you do not need any extra space if your project would grow since every employee would be telecommuting from their home.
  • Project managers are freed up for real work when it’s needed.  Without actual commuting project managers can spend more time working on the project.  Time is money and telecommuting not only gives you time but also flexibility on your working hours.
  • The overall cost savings and productivity can be high.  If everyone works on their time then we can assume that they will be working at 100% so the productivity will grow.

Since the invention of the internet, flexible work arrangements have increased and they are still on the move.  With introduction of smart phones, virtual workplace and project management is gaining even more consideration.  Today we can manage our projects from anywhere in the world, while eating dinner, at the gym or even while driving a car which I strongly do not recommend.

Have you ever experienced a project where you never faced other team members?  Do you think there are many cost savings to having remote project management?  Do you feel that you would perform better if you didn’t have set work hours?  How does remote project management software help you do your job better as a project manager?

If you would like to read  more about remote project management I strongly recommend Brads article that can be found here Remote Project Management


A Thousand Lives: The Hidden Cost of Clothes

Three weeks ago the Rana Plaza factory building in Bangladesh collapsed, killing 1,127 people. A majority of these were workers producing garments for sale in the United States and Europe. The factory manufactured apparel for brands including Benetton and Walmart among others. An investigation revealed that the building was deemed unsafe just days before the collapse, but factory supervisors ordered their employees to continue working in these hazardous conditions.

jp-bangladesh1-articleLargeThe obvious question is why a tragedy like this would occur, even after there had been a forewarning. The answer is because factories like Rana Plaza and others in Bangladesh are under immense pressure to produce a high volume of low-cost garments for their biggest buyers, Walmart, H&M, Inditex (which owns Zara), and Gap to name a few. These companies pride themselves on their ability to get apparel into stores only weeks after designing them. However, this incredible efficiency requires a tremendous amount of manual labor, and no where are labor costs cheaper than in Bangladesh. The massive global supply chains of a majority of apparel manufacturers flow through the South Asian country which trails only China in terms of garments exported. Unfortunately, most of the large Western companies are unaware of the conditions that exist in the factories where their products are being produced.

The latest tragedy has finally caught the attention of European and American companies. This past week H&M, the largest buyer of garments from Bangladeshi factories, agreed to a plan to improve fire and building safety in Bangladesh’s apparel factories. The five-year plan calls for independent safety inspections and for companies to make the findings public. Joining H&M were Inditex, the world’s biggest clothing retailer, and several other European apparel companies. However, PVH, the owner of brands such as Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein, is the only American company that has signed the pact. Companies including Gap, Walmart and JC Penney have considered the plan, but have not yet signed on, mostly due to the cost and how legal issues would be resolved.

130430150217-made-in-bangladesh-620xaI believe this safety pact is a step in the right direction on the road to abolishing subpar working conditions around the world. Therefore, from a management perspective, I think that companies that are not signing the pact, like Walmart and JC Penney, are making a mistake. Not signing sends a negative message to consumers and investors, if the companies are unwilling to spend money to protect human lives customers will question the ethics of the company’s management. Ethics is an important facet of operations management. The managers at American apparel companies need to recognize these issues, like their European counterparts have, and address the dangerous working conditions that exist in their supply chain. I think in the long run the benefits of ensuring safe conditions for all in the supply chain will outweigh the cost.

What is your opinion on the decision of many American companies to not sign the safety pact?

Do you think it is the duty of American companies to ensure the safety of workers in foreign countries?