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


6 thoughts on “Remote Project Management

  1. Hi Tom,

    Very interesting take on remote meetings! I would be comfortable if the first kick off meeting was face to face and then the remaining were remote. A con is that you never know what the other person is really thinking/feeling without actually seeing them. Also I’ve been on conference calls where you either lose connection or have bad connection and cant understand what they’re saying.

  2. Tom,
    Great point. Remote working is a tricky subject. Some jobs require it 100%. However there are many job functions that do not require in the office work. I personally LOVE working from home when I can. However it requires a great level of discipline and focus. If you can find the balance of being remote and staying productive, that can be a very powerful. This is also made more realistic due to the Go2Meeting, Skype, etc…


  3. Tom,
    Thanks for sharing this important topic. I have worked on various projects remotely and I love it. There are advantages and disadvantages of telecommuting and I think the advantages surpass any associated disadvantages. The employers would save a considerable amount of money by utilizing remote project management work conditions. In addition, remote project management results in greater employee productivity, and higher levels of performance.
    The environmental impact of virtual workers is clearly positive. As the technology related to telecommunications continues to advance, workforce conditions will likely change significantly. Employers and employees will need to be flexible and creative with approaches to work in order to remain competitive.

  4. Great prompt, Tom! I love this topic because I – like many field sales reps – work exclusively from home. My “office” is the second bedroom of my condo and features my fiance’s clothing (everywhere) as well as my dog’s bed for when he wants to hang out while I’m working. Other than that, I’ve got a twin-monitor set-up, laptop, cell phone, and bluetooth – that’s all I need to make it an office.

    To answer your first question, most everything I do – including projects – is done remotely. Conference calls, Web-Ex presentations, emails, etc. are all part of my daily life. Although I find this to be efficient, the one incalculable loss associated with remote work is the lack of human interaction. Though I meet with my customers face-to-face regularly, much of my work amongst co-workers is done via the internet or phone. It is difficult to be very effective in certain projects when working on tasks separately and remotely. For example, I have a large presentation on Thursday – all of the preparation with my team has been done by conference call. We won’t actually meet to prepare or share suggestions until that day of the presentation. So, although there may be some financial savings associated with remote work, actual production can be limited due to the lack of face to face preparation.

  5. Thanks for sharing the article Tom. I think the author makes some valid points; however, I have to respectfully disagree with him on a few things:
    • You have access to the best talent in the world – While it may be true that you can hire anyone anywhere, how comfortable will you be assembling a team that you haven’t really met or don’t know much about? Ideally, you would want to work with people you are comfortable with.
    • Your profit margin increases and you can win more projects – “By utilizing less expensive offshore teams you will be cutting some of the costs”. Again, this may be true on the surface but saving cost shouldn’t be the only consideration when choosing teams. I’ve heard my colleagues who are in project management complain about the lack of coordination and communication with team members who are overseas and how ineffective they were. So, this could be true in some cases, but not all.
    • 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”. This is a huge assumption that the author is making. I find it difficult to believe people will work at 100% even when they are in the office with a manager hovering over them let alone working from home by themselves with so many distractions and temptations.

  6. This is a fantastic topic, Tom. Ever since I moved to a house 50 miles away from my office, working remotely every day from the train has become an integral part of my everyday job. With the right amount of foucse and access to VPN, there is not much else I need to get the job done outside of the office. In my experience, I actually work better when I’m remote because I lose less time socializing with co-workers and getting distracted by the free food in the office. The one caveat for me is that I work with a team. I do not think every project can be done as effectively when it involves working with and brainstorming with team-members via phone call or webex.

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