project management with a virtual team

How to win at project management with a virtual team

So, you’ve been doing this remote working thing for a while at this point, and your virtual teams seem to be tracking well despite the shifting global landscape.

But is there a storm brewing on the horizon? If you’ve felt a niggling sensation in the back of your mind that something isn’t quite right, you could be onto something.

With many multi-team projects now flung into the world of remote work, many teams are beginning to struggle with keeping up the pace of project management.

From tracking progress to communicating feedback, knowing how to keep the wheels turning in sync should be a pursuit held high by leaders across all industries.

Let’s explore the keys to successfully tracking progress and executing best practice project management with virtual teams.


Three steps to manage projects and track progress with virtual teams:


#1: Get it digital.

When working with virtual teams it’s crucial to make sure that any important information and documentation is made available digitally.

Whether that’s through a cloud-based storage platform like Dropbox or through dedicated, project-centric Slack channels, having a digital source for project-based information is critical to long-term remote working success.

Moreover, if you want your team to truly embrace and make use of digital collaboration tools, it’s worth making your processes surrounding digital project management straight-forward and easily actionable.

A big, complex, slow-moving system is going to detract from overall performance, not to mention adoption of your proposed project management approach.

Make it simple, and make it worthwhile.


#2: Make it visual.

During virtual meetings and video conference calls where your team is discussing projects in depth, it’s worthwhile having someone annotating the conversation live with the use of screen sharing.

Before your meetings, pull up a document with some key headings and the main topic of the conversation clearly visible.

Keeping visual notes throughout these meetings will help to not only keep the conversation on track, but also assist in clarifying the direction of the project so that everyone is on the same page even if they are intermittently interrupted but their incredibly cute (and very vocal) dog.

This snippet of remote working strategy was laid out in a recent podcast interview from Sam Harris, and it’s a process we’ve been loving on lately at Pragmatic Thinking. Give it a go and let us know how you find it.


#3: Communicate often.

Now, how often are your virtual team members connecting with each other?

If you were to poll your crew and find that the only time your team was connecting with each other was during your morning leader-facilitated video conference call, I’m sorry to say but you’ve got a problem brewing.

Science shows us the power of teamwork and collaboration, and with distributed teams it’s ever more important to communicate ideas, feedback and key changes.

A commitment to frequent communication will help your teams avoid miscommunication and misinterpretation throughout the course of a project.


Did you find these insights useful, and maybe a tad pragmatic? If you’d like to delve deeper into frameworks for thriving in a remote work environment, give our Virtual Leaders program a look.