Project management

How to effectively manage tasks and projects in remote/telework teams.


Prioritize collaboration

  • Invite feedback early and often by sharing drafts, works-in-progress, and MVPs. Don’t wait until something is “done” to find out if it’s the right thing.
  • Iterate on feedback that is given, and repeat the cycle to build trust with collaborators.
  • Use tools that allow for simultaneous and asynchronous collaboration.
  • Invite ideas from everywhere – team members, stakeholders, and customers should all be able to “submit a bug” or “suggest a feature”.

Keep the work visible

  • Share product roadmaps and team plans as openly as possible, so people can refer to them at any time to get aligned.
  • Document everything in a “Single Source of Truth” that contains all the information, deadlines, reports, and links for the project so knowledge is shared.
  • Use project tracking software that allows the team to follow along as tasks are completed (this is helpful for any kind of project, not just software development.)
  • For software projects, keep the documentation close to the code (or written into it).

Have the whole team ‘act’ distributed

  • If you have some employees in the office and some remote, have everyone use the same online project management tools so people stay aligned.
  • Have all team members use video conferencing for meetings, not just the teleworkers.
  • Have everyone add their working hours, availability, and timezones to their calendars and group chat profiles.
  • Set team agreements for response times for different channels (i.e., group chat, email, project tickets) so people know when a quick answer is expected, and when it’s not.

Foster human connection and accountability

  • Celebrate project “wins” by hosting virtual happy hours or pizza parties.
  • Write appreciation into your project management practices (e.g., start retrospectives by acknowledging each team member’s contributions).
  • Make it a rule to assume best intentions, as virtual communications can be more easily misinterpreted than face-to-face talks.
  • Let your team know that mistakes happen, and openly acknowledging them is encouraged.

Be a servant leader

  • Instead of asking when something will be done, ask if there are blockers you can help clear.
  • Set expectations and give teams the tools to track and submit their work openly.
  • Choose trust over surveillance – allow people the space and flexibility to get their work done on their own terms, within agreed-upon timelines.
  • Encourage question asking. Clarity is exponentially more important in distributed teams.
  • Set up “office hours” where anyone can drop by with a question or to brainstorm solutions.
  • Assign a DRI (Directly Responsible Individual) for each part of the project, so everyone knows who is responsible for what.

Keep lines of communication open

  • Hold daily check-ins with project teams to quickly get the latest information:
    • What I worked on yesterday
    • What I’m working on today
    • Questions / blockers / action items
  • Have the team put questions and updates in group channels so knowledge is shared.
  • Maintain a “risk register” where anyone can view potential risks throughout the project.
  • Set standards and “rules of engagement” for dealing with tensions and conflict.

Reflect and improve

  • Use retrospectives to reflect as a group on how a project or process could be improved.
    • What do we appreciate about each member of the group?
    • What is going well?
    • What could be better?
    • Action items for moving forward
  • Run “tool-checks” by asking team members for feedback on the tools you are using for remote collaboration.
    • How is this tool working well?
    • Are there any pain points?
  • Document all reflections and action items in a shared space where everyone can refer back to them.
  • Don’t be discouraged by problems that arise from managing projects in distributed teams – write down your learnings and make adjustments as necessary.








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