10 project management techniques that make working from home easier – and more productive

COVID-19 has transformed the way companies manage their projects. Check out these 10 project management techniques for the work-from-home revolution.

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit everyone hard these past few months. Companies everywhere have struggled to function amidst the enforced lockdowns and global social distancing protocols. 

Countless businesses all over the world have filed for bankruptcy in 2020 because of the effects of the pandemic. Many other companies have had to drastically shift to work-from-home set-ups to keep their employees safe from the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Of the many things that had to change in company cultures over the past few months, project management in business has been one of the most transformed. Project management techniques that required people to meet up in person became essentially obsolete because of the COVID-19 situation. Work-from-home set-ups became the new normal for managers around the world.

The work-from-home revolution gained momentum over the past few months, mainly out of necessity. However, business giants, like Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, JP Morgan, and many others touted this as the best option, given the circumstances. 

So now, managers have to deal with adapting their techniques to the virtual landscape. They have to figure out how to manage their projects effectively and successfully, without ever meeting their clients or team members in person.

How can managers cope with this lack of physical interaction? They know the importance of project management in organizations. So how should they adapt their project management techniques to the virtual landscape?

If you’re a manager needing tips in these unprecedented times, check out these 10 project management techniques you can apply to your company’s work-from-home set-up.

1) Set expectations early

Project management helps an organization execute a project successfully; but with the massive shift in project execution in these unpredictable times, you need to set everyone’s expectations straight before jumping into any major plans.

Meet with your team to discuss their scope and limitations while at home. Do any of your team members have a bad Internet connection at home? Will they be able to join regular video meetings or can they only respond to you via e-mail?

It’s possible that your best employees won’t be able to do their jobs because of their situation at home. At the same time, it’s possible for other employees to step up and take on more responsibilities than you expected.

As a manager, you should coordinate with your team to set everyone’s expectations early. This will allow you to make the changes to your team’s usual techniques and help you plan towards effective execution.

2) Plan how you’ll communicate

Based on the expectations you set early on, what’s the best way to communicate with your team? Plan how you’ll communicate with your colleagues; so that your tasks can be executed as smoothly as a work-from-home set-up will allow.

There’s a wide variety of software available for project management that can help organizations improve their business performance. Yanado, for example, can be used for running effective meetings via e-mail. It’s an effective tool that streamlines and simplifies your communication with your team.

Plan the best means of communication for your employees, based on the expectations you all set as a team. This task administration technique will help your team be on the same page, as you all stay at home.

3) Centralize all communications

Centralizing your communications will simplify everyone’s lives and result in less stressed employees in the long run. 

Imagine all the possibilities of miscommunication as a result of missent e-mails or unopened notifications. Think about how none of you will be able to meet up in person and talk about your tasks face-to-face. Putting all your discussions in one place will make all your lives much easier.

Make everyone’s lives easier by centralizing your communication in one place. This way, you can manage your tasks with ease while at home.

4) Keep communications simple, clear and concise

Navigating group discussions and meetings can be tricky if you’re all at home. People can easily tune out of the conversation or get distracted because you’re not all physically gathered in one place.

If you plan on running effective meetings online, one task administration technique is to keep everything simple, clear, and concise. Don’t fall into the trap of discussing everything, all in one go. Keep every meeting simple with a clear agenda and a concise discussion of your plans.

The best project management examples of successful projects executed online are the usually the simplest ones. They’re communicated simply, clearly, and concisely, which is why they’re executed successfully, too.  

5) Open the floor to questions

This might be one technique that doesn’t seem crucial to you as a manager. It’s important to encourage everyone to ask questions about how you’re executing projects, given how unpredictable everyone’s situations are right now.

No one is an expert in this current pandemic situation. Project management techniques that used to make sense for you before may not be useful anymore in this post-COVID-19, work-from-home world you live in now.

If you or anyone else in your company is struggling to figure out how project management can help you succeed, then just think back to this principle. Allow yourselves to ask questions; so that you can help one another out during these trying times. 

6) Accept feedback

This is an equally important principle, in relation to encouraging your employees to ask questions. As a leader, you should be open to accepting feedback for your techniques, skills, and decisions.

One of the benefits of project management is that you get to collaborate with so many diverse people from different backgrounds and fields of expertise. You have a pool of bright minds to learn from, and many of them will want to give you feedback.

Accept their feedback with an open mind. You should hear what they have to say; so that you can all make the best decisions for your company’s projects. Even if you never get to see your team members in person, they can still contribute to the success of your company’s projects.

7) Adjust accordingly

Once you receive helpful feedback for your projects, adjust accordingly. A quick response and openness to change will allow you to troubleshoot any issues that may arise from your business’s current work-from-home set-up.

It’s important to act on changes that may help your business succeed and survive in these trying times. In adjusting accordingly, you get to learn what could have been done better in a project right away. You also get to monitor your team consistently because you always have an eye out for any issues.

Accepting feedback and adjusting accordingly are definitely some of the more important planning and management techniques you can utilize, as you shift your business online.

8) Take your time

These are unprecedented and unpredictable times. The COVID-19 pandemic has dealt damage to businesses everywhere and has forced everyone into their homes for the foreseeable future.

It’s important to take time to plan out your shift to the online landscape. You have to take stock of what does and doesn’t work when you do your task administration from home.

You should also understand that you’re developing project management skills of your own in a completely new set-up. Learning new skills takes time; so allow yourself to find that time when you work at home.

9) Be on time

As understanding as you’d want to be, you’re still a manager. You still have deadlines to meet and clients to satisfy. 

The reason why you took so much time in the preparation phase was; so that you could still meet your clients’ expectations. You took time to plan, execute, and adjust according to feedback; so that you could still be “business as usual” in a work-from-home set-up.

Socially distant project administration is difficult. But if you prepare enough in advance and troubleshoot any issue along the way, then you can still meet your goals and be a successful manager.

10) Take all the help you can get

Lastly and most importantly, you should take all the help you can get in virtually managing your business’s projects. With all the business risks present in the world right now, you should take advantage of any assistance you can get while you still can.

There are lots of digital resources and downloadable software out there that can keep your business from failing this year. From video conferencing apps to planning websites, you have a lot of digital assistants to choose from online.

Why not start organizing your work with one of the many free project management tools available, like Yanado? Simple tools like this can help you organize your projects with ease, so that you can make the most out of your time working from home.

Photo by Daria Shevtsova.