How to Manage Remote Project Teams - Tip #1

Introduction: In the current times of globalisation and international competition, project work at many international companies is often carried out by virtual project teams which are distributed across multiple locations, countries, and time zones. Due to the ongoing Covid-19 crisis the trend of remote project work was boosted even further, as companies in various industry sectors, such as in the IT industry, had to adapt and enable their project teams to work remotely in order to keep their businesses alive. The following series provides some concrete and practical advice based on experience gained from the daily project management work.

Recommendation #1 - If possible, meet the team face-to-face, at least once: Even though the project is conducted virtually, it is highly recommended to meet the whole project team in person at least once, if this is possible. Normally, this should happen at the beginning of the project, for example during a project kickoff meeting. In case the project budget allows it, meeting more frequently, such as at the start of each major project phase would be even more beneficial. This applies in particular to larger projects with multi-period durations. The initial face-to-face meeting offers many advantages. It enables a better team building and helps to lay the foundations for building trust between the project team members, which will pay off in the later project phases. The face-to-face meeting also makes it easier to develop a common project vision, work out roles and responsibilities for the team members, and clarify expectations on a more personal basis. From the perspective of an individual team member, it helps to identify herself better with the project vision and the project goals as well as with the rest of project team, which is more difficult to achieve in a purely virtual setup, where team members never meet in person. Overall, this results in a higher motivation and commitment.

Author: Paraschos Pentas, Date: 26 March 2021