Starting up and managing a large business project can demand much of your strength and time. Doing it all yourself may seem like crossing the thin line into madness. To avoid overstressing oneself, businesses hire project managers to make the process easier and more manageable. A project manager will help from the start, continuing to the end of the project. However, having an in-house project manager is expensive. Not all companies, especially not smaller companies can afford to pay for such services. That said, there is the virtual route of hiring a virtual project manager to manage the project for you. This trend is becoming more popular. Here’s what you need to know to succeed with virtual project management.
A virtual project manager
Do you know what a virtual project manager is? There are two parts to the answer. A project manager is a person hired to manage projects from start to end. Such a manger must ensure that the project delivers on time and on budget. Secondly, there is the virtual part – in this scenario the person works remotely – anywhere in the world. Either way, this person will set the timelines, manage the team, outline the workflow, own the responsibilities of the outcome and set the deliverables. The project manager, in leading the team, will guide the team to the end goal.
Various types of project a virtual assistant can handle
There are many variables at play – ranging from the size of the project, to the time frame, and more. Either way, each project will have its own set of challenges and requirements. For instance, a project manager might ultimately manage the whole project. This could involve a team of stakeholders, from vendors, to part-time staff, contractors, employees, and even freelancers. The job of the project manager is to manage all the people involved in the various aspects of the project, constantly checking on the progress. A manager must also motivate the team, so that the end goal is reached.
Scheduling and resource planning
In terms of scheduling and resource planning, the project manager will be creating a plan with timelines and deadlines. Tasks will also be assigned, ensuring that there is adequate time management at play. More than simply managing the process, the quality must be adhered to. Also, a manager will offer feedback, and check that all is done according to plan. In short – a project manager is a well-organised person capable of achieving the end goal successfully.
What about costs?
A critical step in project management is to ensure that the budget is developed and strictly applied. If the team exceeds the budget, the project could be recorded as a failure.
The reality is that every project will hit one or several roadblocks over its lifespan. The project manager should make sure that the team avoids such from the start. However, if there is any trouble, the risks are assessed, and a plan of action taken.
Placing it on all on record
Furthermore, what a project manager will do is to document all the work. This can be achieved through reports, updates, or by offering reviews. These documents will indicate the stage of the process, whether targets have been met, which stakeholders are involved, and what their roles, together with suggestions for future projects.
How to work well with a virtual project manager
It is a fact that a (virtual) project manager is experienced at what they do. The only difference between them and your onsite employee is they are working remotely. However, after the COVID-19 pandemic, remote work should not be a strange concept. Here are some steps you can take to make the relationship fruitful.
Have workflow and systems in place
Delegate systems, documents, or workflow which you might have already established for the project to your virtual assistant. On the other hand, if there is nothing established, the virtual project manager can manage these tasks.
Use communication and organizational tools
If you have explicit organizational or communication tools which your corporation routinely uses, you should inform the virtual project manager of these at the outset. Your virtual project manager should onboard this info and also ensure that the whole team makes use of the same tools you have recommended.
Also, the project manager should know how things are organized and how everyone communicates. The reality is that your team might be sprinkled around the globe, working in different time zones. Also, it’s key to keep the communication flowing.
Project management software
There is some project management software that might make life easier. Software includes programs such as Monday, Asana, Trello, Airtable, and even Basecamp. All these programs accommodate simple and effective ways of working remotely yet together as a global team.
- Video conferencing
- Instant messaging channels like WhatsApp, Slack, or Microsoft Teams. These instant messaging programs will let you to stay in touch with your remote team in a well-organized manner superior to using emails. An advantage to many of these kinds of communicate channels is that they do not always display whether a remote team member is working online
- Cloud-based file sharing and storage programs such as Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive will preserve your files safely, securely, and make them shareable with your remote team
- Standard emailing
- Voice messaging like Viber or Voxer offers secure and immediate voice messages to anybody around the world.
Virtual phone or video meetings
Having frequently planned virtual meetings is indispensable to a fruitful project. A project manager will bring together all the various stakeholders for the meeting. These meetings will then be conducted via video conference platforms, for instance Skype, Zoom, Skype, or even GoToMeeting. Preferably, the project manager will calendar a preliminary beginning meeting to announce all the significant stakeholders, and to run through the project’s plan.
Your virtual project manager will know the significance of ensuring that the planned time works for all the remote working team members so that everybody can profit from the meeting. A computer-generated meeting is the perfect time to practice a fixed agenda; likewise, it is an opportunity for everybody to become more acquainted with one another. The team members can then readily share info, ask queries, appraise the progress, set the main concerns, and generate action items.
The importance of face-to-face communications
Throughout the process, if the remote team can meet by means of video chat, that is an extra advantage. Being able to see your virtual project manager and remote team face to face will assist in trust building and allow members to feel more like a team. The benefit is that you are able to see somebody else, therefore gauging his or her body language and facial expressions.