The project manager is the one in charge. #1, Top Dog, the Go-To guy, Project Guru, the Head Honcho, and…of course…the one with the target on his head. No matter what, though, if you are working in the role of a remote project manager, you probably feel like you need to go that extra mile to prove to those on-site individuals that you are fully on top of your game and as in control as is possible. Afterall, these projects can go crazy and chaotic on a moment’s notice.
Just in case you start to feel like you might be dropping out of touch or maybe you are the project manager in the PMO or organization that is out of the loop…what can you do to make sure you maintain your relevance? What can you do to be sure you are heard and are in sync with the other project managers in the organization? The following list of my personal five suggestions should help you get there…
Be sure to over report.
One of the best ways to remain relevant – or with a perceived relevance – is to go over the top. Frequent communication, frequent reporting, detailed information…all of this will help you stay connected in the organization, in the minds of senior management, visible to key stakeholders and decision-makers and likely a sharp eye on your performance and accomplishments.
Shout the positives from the rooftops.
Pass along all positive client comments to your senior management. True, there is no such thing as bad press…except in the world of project management and customer service. So, when you get those positive testimonials and statements – especially something documented in an email – from the clients who’s projects you lead, then let your organization know about them. But include the ones about your team as well.
Do something different as a PM to standout above the crowd.
Not sure what I mean here? That’s because it can be anything you want it to be. Look for ways to provide value-added service on current projects to your customers (and tell everyone about them in the status reports that go to all stakeholders and senior leadership). But another way to make company impact – maintain and even increase relevance within the organization as you are working remotely – is to offer ways to innovate on PM practices and business practices within your organization. Are you reading or finding that a new way of reporting status would be helpful? Shout about it. Write an internal white paper to senior leadership about this new reporting process you are interested in that you think will help the entire PM infrastructure. And it can be anything that would demonstrate improved productivity in your group. Think of what frustrates you and your fellow project leaders in the organization and offer up an improvement.
Report up the chain of command.
Be sure include your executive company leadership in your project reporting process. They may not need to know about your projects and they may not even care how each of those projects are going today. But by regularly providing them with updates, they will become very familiar with you – at least on paper – and that will definitely help maintain your relevance within the organization.
Make sure they miss you.
Make them miss you well before you leave on assignment by building a strong network and showing that your leadership is indispensable — wherever you might be. Start by making yourself easily available to executives and other top decision-makers to increase the likelihood that seeking your feedback will become a habit they can’t break even after you leave for assignment.
Summary / call for input
Needless worrying is part of the game in project management – partly because there is also a lot we need to worry about every day. We often forget that good old high-level performance and productivity should be enough. But if remote project management or virtual teams is not a norm in your organization, then it’s not a bad idea to increase your visibility and perceived importance in the infrastructure. You may have to go outside of just PM best practices to get that done.
What about our readers? Are you working remotely and feel like you might be out of the loop? What thoughts do you have on keeping up your visibility and maintaining or increasing your relevance in the organization?
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