Northeastern University Online Project Management: What You Need to Know

It’s time to take a step back and reevaluate your project management skills. With COVID-19 restrictions changing as we speak, work-from-home becomes the new normal. For some, the change is a pleasant one. For others, it means reevaluating everything they know about project management.

Since our online platform is open to the public, it’s the perfect opportunity to build, grow, and engage with your community. The shift to a remote workforce means the boundaries between your work and personal lives may be blurred. This raises several important questions related to remote work, project management, and productivity.

How Do I Manage My Projects?

When you’re not physically meeting with your team, it can be tricky to know where each individual’s head is at, what they’re working on, and when they’re able to meet their responsibilities. Online project management tools like Basecamp and Freshdesk are indispensable for keeping track of everything. Using these applications, you can assign tasks, set up milestones, and review progress, all from the convenience of your own office.

In addition to project management apps, remote work also means you’re reliant on your team for support. Setting regular meetings via video calls, coordinating with team members via email, and monitoring their work via online status updates are all part of the job. Keeping your team engaged and motivated is critical to their productivity, and you, as the manager, will be held accountable for this.

What is My Team’s Productivity?

One of the most important aspects of your job as a manager is your team’s productivity. You’ll be responsible for getting the most out of your team, which means setting high standards for your remote workers. To do this, you’ll need to be vigilant about their performance, ensuring they’re equipped to handle complex tasks, managing their time effectively, and asking for help when needed. Basecamp and Freshdesk can help you with this by providing you with detailed reports on your team’s productivity, including hours worked, projects closed, and remaining work to be done.

How Can I Keep My Team Focused?

Another important capability you’ll need as a manager is the ability to focus your team. With the world at our fingertips, it’s easy to be pulled in a hundred different directions. Juggling multiple projects, deadlines, and responsibilities can cause stress, which in turn, may lead to less efficient work or mistakes. To prevent this, you can set up regular calls with your team, encourage them to take a step back and look at the big picture, and create specific times slots to work, so they don’t get distracted by outside activities.

Managing a remote team is not all hard work and no play. Setting up regular meetings, collaborating via video calls, and being available to answer questions means you can engage with your team, ensure they stay focused, and get the most out of this new phase of their lives. Furthermore, by constantly reviewing their work, you can spot potential problems before they spiral out of control. This way, even before COVID-19, your job as a manager would already be 90% done.

What About My Manager’s Job?

Even if you manage a remote team of two, you’ll still have a job to do. Yes, your job will change, but your responsibilities will not. You’ll need to ensure your team meets the standards set by your company, completes the tasks assigned to them, and that they feel supported and inspired to do their best. To accomplish this, you can set up regular video calls with each member of your team to review and discuss their progress, identify any needs, and set goals for the next phase of work. You can also use these calls to update them on any changes to the company’s operations as a result of the pandemic.

These calls are no substitute for in-person meetings, but they can help fill the gap and keep the lines of communication open while maintaining a safe distance between team members. Even before the pandemic, video calls would still be an important tool in your manager toolkit.

What About My Own Productivity?

You may be working remotely, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have work to do. To get the most out of this new phase of life, you may need to reassess your own productivity. Since working remotely means you’ll have more time to yourself, you may find yourself spending more time than usual getting stuff done. Scheduling regular breaks, taking advantage of quieter hours, and being organized will all help boost your productivity. To stay organized, you can use task list apps, like Todoist, which help you manage your time more effectively, and ensure you don’t miss a thing. These kinds of apps can also be helpful for freelancers, contractors, and micro-workers who need to keep track of multiple projects, as well as for individuals who work remotely for their own businesses.

How Can I Maintain A Healthy Distinction Between My Work And Personal Life?

An important aspect of your job as a manager is maintaining a healthy distinction between your work and personal life. While the world may be shifting to a remote workforce, that doesn’t mean you need to throw away all your previous skills and start over. Being tech-savvy and using the internet to your advantage means you can continue working remotely and still run your personal life as you always have. With the right tools and a little bit of planning, you can continue having a productive work-life balance.

Before the pandemic, maintaining a healthy distinction between your work and personal life might have been difficult. Traveling to meet with your team, attending in-person events, and clocking long hours at the office means a lot of time spent apart from your family and friends. While you may feel like you’re missing out on something, working remotely is still the best option available. By taking advantage of your online tools and meeting platforms, like Zoom, you can continue to collaborate with your team, keep track of your responsibilities, and maintain some semblance of organization in your life. Being flexible with your work hours, setting up weekly meetings via video call, and adapting your responsibilities according to your needs and available time is all part of the job.

What About My Finances?

As a manager, you’ll be responsible for ensuring your team is financially stable. If you’re working remotely, this means you’ll have to set up automated payments, create financial plans, and monitor your team’s spending. In addition to basic financials, like track your income and expenses, you’ll also need to consider the legal and tax aspects of self-employment. For more information, use your favorite search engine to find a free resource, like the IRS’s Website, for legal issues. If you’re looking for personal finance advice, check out these forums for advice from expert users.

How Do I Manage My Time More Effectively?

Since we’re constantly bombarded with new demands and responsibilities, it’s easy for our time management to become chaotic. To keep track of everything, you can use time management apps, like RescueTime, which helps you identify and analyze your daily productivity habits. These apps can help you set timers to track when you spend time on activities and blockout specific times for focused work, leaving you with more free time to pursue your own hobbies and spend with your family. Having the ability to track your progress via detailed reports, set goals, and analyze your habits can also help you find ways to be more efficient. By identifying areas where you can be more productive, like eliminating wasted time, focusing on the most important tasks, and getting help when you need it, you can carve out more time for yourself and your family. These apps are a valuable tool in your time management toolkit.

Do I Need A Project Management Professional (PMP)?

Even if you have experience in project management, managing a remote team may be challenging, especially if you’re not used to working remotely. For this reason, it may be a good idea to acquire some new skills before taking on this responsibility. If you’re looking for a PMP, a Certified Professional in Project Management (CPPM) can help you develop the necessary skills to effectively manage a remote team. Acquiring the PMP credential does not mean you’ll be an expert in project management, but it does mean you’ll have the knowledge and skills to be a capable manager.