6 Ways to Improve Remote Project Management Offices

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An increasing number of teams work remotely, and this was prior to COVID-19. Even though there are collaboration tools like Slack, Office 365 / Teams, and Atlassian, remote work had a stigma to it. However, this is 2020. Teams have to switch to remote work to maintain business operations, and they’re feeling the impact on their productivity.

TL;DR: we compiled this case study in an infographic. Get me there

In order to make remote project management office (PMO) services a success, you need to overcome significant challenges, including:

  • Time zones
  • Communication issues
  • Turnover
  • Technology
  • Access to data
  • Organizational and cultural awareness

However, when done right, the remote PMO benefits outweigh the risks. Managing a remote project management office has virtually zero impact on performance. In fact, they can actually cost less (and in this environment, are safer) than being on-site.

If you’re wondering how to manage a remote PMO, here are our six considerations to improve your performance.

IN BRIEF

Infographic Delivering Remote PMO Services

1. Infrastructure

According to a 2019 PM Summit Survey, 72% of PM professionals believe remote working increases efficiency. When it comes to remote working in 2020, many are still coming up to speed by necessity rather than choice. Dropped calls and files are some of the most basic challenges we’re all working through.

Our remote project management offices benefit from secure IT access points and video chat technology. It gives the feeling of being just across the hall from the client while limiting physical contact to keep people safe. Given the pandemic, our consultants adjusted to working from home to keep different types of projects going no matter what. This includes establishing the right tech at home while working with clients to establish remote project management office methodologies.

Pretty much everyone realizes how long it takes to establish ideal working conditions for your virtual team. They’re a reminder that Infrastructure is the most important consideration to ensure that work does not grind to a halt.

2. Team Hubs

While working remotely has been proven to boost productivity, reduce turnover, and decrease operating costs, it does carry one major flaw – isolation. By having our consultants in our offices, we gain a natural boost in team spirit.

Wherever possible, consolidate your remote workforce into team hubs, thereby boosting morale and team productivity. While social distancing is mandated, you can stay connected with chat rooms, daily stand-ups, and regular check-ins.

Remote working in home office
Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

3. Experience

Hiring managers agree that hiring has gotten harder, with 59% agreeing that skills are more specialized than 3 years ago. We recommend partnering with a leading project management provider with experience in delivering remote PMO solutions. They will provide you the best talent and project management tools when you need it.

We recruit highly-skilled engineers trained in multiple project management methodologies and our latest delivery practices. That way, they can offer you the highest value.   

4. Language

Unfortunately, remote project team members can often miss out on non-verbal cues from in-person meetings. Video conferencing helps during meetings to establish presence and connection between the teams.

However, as so much of project management is based on communication, conversing in your native tongue is a great advantage. Our PMO methodology involves multilingual consultants, allowing them to talk easily with clients around the world, in-person or online.

5. Organizational Knowledge

While working remotely has gone global, some do feel out of sight, out of mind. We believe a large part of the success of a remote team is based on the strength of their relationships. Because we’ve supported our clients for decades, we know their organizational culture and how things really get done. 

Additionally, we support our PMOs with team leaders assigned to their Team Hub, providing immediate direction and guidance. The team is aided by a network of project management consultants in the client’s organization. They’re sharing lessons learned, best practices, and knowledge.   

Woman in Blue Denim Jacket Using Macbook Pro
Photo by Matilda Wormwood from Pexels

6. Robust Transitions

In ideal conditions, not all project management activities should be delivered remotely.  We work with the client to determine which phases of each program should be delivered remotely or onsite.  We call it “adaptive virtualization”.

Before delivering any work remotely, we organize a thorough, in-person transfer of activities with the client. This transition solidifies strong relationships that will lead to greater success.

As more teams move towards virtual PMO offerings, we should see increased productivity, reduced operating costs, and better access to talent. Therefore, there will be increased value from project management services. 

Doing remote project management offices right with zero impact on performance may not be easy. However, the odds are much higher than “remotely possible”.

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