How to Manage Remote Project Teams - Tip #3

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 #3 - Use one-on-one meetings: Apart from using video conferencing for the project team meetings, it is recommended to use regular one-on-one video calls with the individual project team members or, in case the project team is very large and consists of many sub-teams, at least to make regular calls with each sub-team, such as the business analyst team, the development team, the test team, individual vendor companies, and so forth. This should be done on a weekly basis or even more frequently. Even though one-on-one calls mean additional communication overhead, they offer a better regular opportunity to talk about things that cannot be discussed in the large group, such as sensitive, confidential or personal issues. Overall, that leads to a more effective, personal and reliable form of project communication. In a one-on-one session, tasks can be assigned to project team members more specifically, expectations can be clarified individually, and questions can be addressed in a more focused and individual manner. The project manager also has a more effective instrument for tracking task progress for each team member separately, as nobody can hide in the big group. On the other hand, the one-on-one exchange provides a better opportunity for the project manager to motivate and develop team members individually, to understand their specific needs and to provide tailor-made advice and leadership, which in turn will result in a more trustful relationships between the project manager and the individual team members. 

Author: Paraschos Pentas, Date: 28 March 2021