Project management from home! - 4 key points
Due to the coronavirus all events are currently cancelled and it is advised to work from home as much as possible in the coming weeks. Compared to other countries in Europe, in the Netherlands we mostly work from home. The average for Europe is 5 percent and in the Netherlands 14 percent of the working population regularly works from home. Despite the higher percentage, working from home will also be disappointing and challenging for many people in the Netherlands. How, for example, can you manage your projects from home? How can you collaborate with your colleagues and/or clients from home to successfully complete projects? And what are useful tools for digital consultation and document sharing? This insight provides a number of useful tips and tools on how to get started as productively and efficiently as possible and ensure that your project runs seamlessly, even from home.
1. Communicating with your colleagues and customers
Do you want to know what your colleagues are doing at home and keep each other and the customers informed? Here are some useful tips and tools. Working from home does not mean face-to-face meetings and (coffee) conversations with your colleagues or clients. These conversations are now conducted by phone or laptop. But what do you need to pay extra attention to when communicating digitally?
- First of all, it is important to ensure that you can communicate data safely. After all, digital conversations with colleagues and customers often contain sensitive information.
- Furthermore, it is important that you can exchange information quickly and create a good overview. So make sure you have a direct chat option that can replace the dozens of emails for when you want to start a longer and active conversation.
A number of useful options to ensure good digital communication are, for example, Microsoft Teams and Slack. With both, it is possible to integrate other apps and services such as office 365 and/or Dropbox. In addition, these tools have a chat option where documents and messages can easily be sent privately or to groups. It is also possible to use a "videocall" to meet with your project team. An additional advantage of videocalling is that you see each other! In this way you can also pick up that very important non-verbal communication and the conversation becomes a lot more personal.
2. Planning and execution from home
Current developments concerning the coronavirus and the measures introduced by it may affect current and future project planning calendars. Therefore, it is important to review them and assess how realistic they still are. In doing so, you can ask questions such as: how do the measures affect your projects? Is it possible to realize the current planning, or does something need to be postponed? What exactly can be postponed? If nothing can be postponed, what measures should/can I take? In these questions it is also important to involve your clients and other stakeholders. The changes in planning, prioritization, working method and the next steps must be clearly communicated.
When you no longer can physically sit around a table to plan and discuss, what options do you have? There are a number of useful tools online for efficient and effective planning, collaboration and project management. The points below are important when using a planning tool:
- It is suitable for organizing and coordinating teams and managing projects. Tasks can easily be divided and assigned to team members.
- It is important to easily monitor deadlines, gain insight into the project status and be able to plan ahead.
- The planning tool can easily be used and discussed during meetings.
- For project groups that like to work in an Agile way, it is important that the work that needs to be done can be determined and tracked in a sprint.
A number of handy and widely used alternatives are Microsoft's Planner, Trello (for smaller projects), Asana (for larger projects) and PlanITpoker. The latter tool is specifically designed for Agile project teams to use an online planning poker app to easily estimate and monitor tasks.
3. Sharing documents (safely) from home
In order to be able to continue working on the project, it is also important that you can continue to share documents with your colleagues and/or customers. But working from home also means that a secure connection must be taken into account. Working from home can have consequences for information security. Make sure you have a secure connection such as VPN. In addition, it is also important to look at how you want to deal with the use of non-business devices. It may be necessary to install applications to create a business workplace. Think, for example, of people who now work at home from their own laptop instead of a business computer. Secure ways to share your documents are for example SharePoint, Microsoft OneDrive (business) and Dropbox (business). These tools can also be used to work together on documents and keep track of information.
4. Rhythm and working from home
The above tips and tools will help you to work as productively and efficiently as possible from home and ensure good communication with your colleagues and/or client. Of course, it is also important that you pay attention to your own rhythm. With the right rhythm you will create a basis to get through your working day well. The two most important tips we would like to give you to ensure this:
- Take a small break every time after 2 hours of work. In this way you ensure better concentration and can deliver good quality work.
- Take breaks to get some exercise as well. This can also help you to refocus your thoughts for a while, and then get back to work with a fresh perspective.
Want to know more about how to conveniently plan an effective remote meeting? Then download our additional insight below!
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Questionnaire about project progress
Current developments concerning the coronavirus and the measures it introduces may affect current as well as future project calendars. How do the measures affect your project? This questionnaire consists of 7 questions related to the progress of your projects. Using these questions we want to gain insight into the changes that occur in project progress as a result of working from home. We will of course share these insights and tips with you in the short term!
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