Project Management

The New Rules of Engagement: Embracing a Distributed Workforce

PMI New Jersey Chapter

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I had joined my current company as a project manager in August of 2019. I live out of state, but it was understood that while I would need to be with the team a lot initially (to kick off the project, get to know the client, and for storming and norming with the team), I would not be expected to be on site except as needed after everything was established.

From the start, the project was interesting. It was new and cutting edge, and it essentially started from scratch. It was an all-new team put together specifically for this purpose, and all starting on the same day. In addition, if we could be successful, it would have a big impact on the customer—and on the company.

I proceeded on that basis and found myself travelling to be on site with the team from Mondays through Thursdays for the first few weeks…then the first few months. I found that I was having a hard time breaking away and working more off site. I wondered if I was just feeling awkward about a new way of doing business, but I clearly felt disconnected and somewhat out of touch when I was off site.

I did manage to cut back to three days per week on site after a few months. But I was finding it very difficult to get beyond that, and thus I had a regular schedule routine of being on site (out of state from Tuesdays through Thursdays), while my team of six was on site working together five days per…

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- George Burns