Project Management

Remote Performance Management: Follow the Fundamentals

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-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's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

There is no shortage of challenges for new project managers, but I always think that managing staff is one of the most difficult. For many new PMs, the project represents the first time they have been asked to lead people, so they don’t have any experience to fall back on.

In addition, the people on their team are only assigned temporarily and already have a line manager. For many new PMs, the approach is to try to avoid any and all “difficult conversations” around performance.

But of course, that doesn’t solve the problem. Challenges have to be addressed or they will perpetuate and potentially worsen. Any experienced PM can probably recount horror stories about the first couple of performance-related conversations they had with team members.

In my case, I spent 20 minutes trying to get across to a team member that they needed to improve their attitude and application. That person admitted to me years later that they left the meeting with absolutely no clue as to what I was trying to communicate!

In the last few months, things have got even harder for new PMs. Now we are all working remotely, and the likelihood is that for many of us, this will become a much more normal way of working even after the COVID-19 crisis has passed. If performance management discussions are difficult in person, how much harder can they be virtually?

The good …

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