The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a work-from-home (WFH) movement on a scale we've never seen before. And while we're all adjusting to this new way of working, one thing remains the same: the principles and practices of good project management.
Define your project's goals and objectives
The first step to any successful project is defining its goals and objectives. What are you trying to achieve? What are the project manager's deliverables? What are the deadlines? Answering these questions will give you and your team a clear direction. Trying to accomplish a project without defined goals is like driving without a destination in mind – you're likely going in circles.
Create a project plan and timeline
Once you know what you're trying to achieve, it's time to devise a course of action. This is where you'll define the project's tasks, assign them to team members, and establish due dates. Creating a timeline is also vital for keeping your project on track. Trying to manage a project without a timeline is like driving without a map – you might get where you're going eventually, but it will take a lot longer (and be much more stressful) than it should.
Communicate with your team (and stakeholders)
Effective communication is essential for any successful project, but it's imperative when managing a team remotely. Technology has made it easier than ever to stay in touch, but there's more to effective communication than just using the right tools. You also must ensure you're communicating the right information at the right time.
The best laid-out plans often take time, especially when managing a project remotely. No matter how well you plan, unforeseen challenges will always exist. Being flexible is key to handling unavoidable obstacles that may crop up during your project.
Keep track of progress (and setbacks)
As a Project Manager, it's essential to keep track of your project's progress so you can identify and solve problems. But it's also necessary to keep track of your project's setbacks. Because setbacks are inevitable, the goal is to learn from them and use them to improve your project.
Delegate and empower your team
One of the most important things you can do as a manager is delegate tasks and empower your team. It is detrimental to your project to try and do it all by yourself. Delegating tasks will take some of the pressure off of you and give your team members a sense of ownership and responsibility for the project.
In addition to making decisions quickly, you must be able to set your priorities right. Trying to do everything at once is a recipe for disaster. You need to be able to prioritize the tasks that are most important to the success of your project.
Managing a project is a stressful job, and it's only going to be more stressful if you're not taking care of yourself. Make sure you're taking the time to do things that make you happy and relieve stress.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how we work, but it hasn't changed the principles and practices of good project management. Whether new to managing projects or a seasoned pro, these fundamental principles and techniques will help you hit the ground running (or continue running) as a successful WFH manager.