No, it goes beyond that. Your personality, technical skill set, interpersonal skills, and leadership ability among others will play a big part in whether or not you are ready – or even able – to manage projects remotely. In general, I like to consider the following four areas as key determiners of one’s ability to perform well in a remote project management situation: communication, organization, collaboration, and dedication. Let’s look at each of these further…
The project manager must be an expert communicator. I fully believe that effective and efficient communicator is the #1 characteristic of the successful project manager. And when you’re managing a geographically dispersed team where all you have is verbal communication, the criticality of that skill is only escalated. Poor communicators who lack confidence need not apply.
The remote project manager must be a very organized individual. Likely juggling several projects at once without the hands-on assistance of project team members this category of project managers must be ultra-aware of project status and how to efficiently disseminate information to all project stakeholders.
The ability to collaborate on the project is critical. Without collaboration, all project progress responsibilities fall to the project manager. The remote project manager must be ready to release some of this responsibility to his team members as it instills ownership among team members and makes the project manager’s job a little easier.
Finally, the remote project manager must be dedicated. With personal life pulling you one way and professional work pulling you the other, it’s important to be dedicated to the work and ensure that everything gets done when it needs to get done. You may be sending out project status reports at 1:00 am to all team members and the customer, but that’s ok if it means you’re giving them the latest and greatest possible information for the status meeting.
About the author: Brad Egeland is an IT/PM & Business Strategy consultant and author with over 25 years of software development, management, and project management experience. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can visit his website at www.bradegeland.com.