Remote Control: The Virtual PM

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting Inc., an Ontario, Canada-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at andy.jordan@roffensian.com. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

Virtual teams are rapidly becoming the norm for projects with one or more team members working remotely, but what about when that person is the project manager? I recently spoke with a hiring manager who was looking for a PM and felt that they had found the perfect candidate in terms of skills and experience--but logistically, the PM wanted to work virtually for a lot of the time. The hiring manager was understandably concerned that some of the things that made this particular PM a strong candidate would be lost if they weren’t in the office for most of the time, and they wanted my advice.

I have some personal experience of working remotely, and while I always enjoy the opportunity to work in the same location as my team it’s not always feasible--and there is no reason why a remote working arrangement can’t work. However, it does require a project manager who recognizes that they have to go out of their way to avoid their virtual status from negatively impacting on the project.

The issues
One of my other articles this month is a two-part piece on virtual teams where I argue that the issue is “just” one of communications. In theory, the situation is no different when the virtual team member is the project manager, but the challenge is more significant because the PM is the hub of so much project communication.

Additionally, the …

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