Project Management

Projects Without Pants

Thomas Carney

Remote work is here to stay, but some people are more likely to thrive on distributed project teams than others. To overcome the challenges and reap the benefits, leaders need to shift focus from input to output, provide explicit feedback, and facilitate online communication and relationship-building.

Top technology companies such as Automattic or GitHub champion remote work as a competitive advantage in the war for talent, yet distributed teams present challenges for project and program leaders accustomed to with their teams in one location. You can’t just grab someone and start brainstorming solutions to a problem on a whiteboard. And body language and mood become more difficult to gauge when you primarily communicate via email, chat or Skype.

Marissa Mayer famously axed remote work at Yahoo, citing the need to have interactions that she felt were only possible in the office. But Yahoo is the exception, as an Ipsos/Reuters poll indicated that as many as one in five employees around the globe now telecommute regularly.

Project and program leaders have to adapt their skill-set and adjust to the new reality of remote work becoming a bigger part of the modern workplace.

At my company, Planio, about half the team works remotely. We’ve learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t when your team is spread across the globe.

Who’s a good fit for…

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