We heard of a situation recently from one of the world’s largest companies building a massive new online platform. The project was 75% done, and a key partner hadn’t been engaged early enough, meaning the platform wouldn’t integrate properly. The project had to be re-scoped and essentially re-started from scratch, over a year’s work and millions of dollars down the drain.
Unfortunately, this is a very common refrain we hear all too often.
When it comes to remote project management, it’s not enough to have a solid plan. To turn your project into a success, you need an execution strategy that focuses on engaging stakeholders effectively so that all the approvals and deliverables are identified and moving forward. Not only that, but if things aren’t on track, identify these risks early so you can reset before you have a disaster.
We developed a methodology called Days of the Week© that we describe in our new book, The Power of Remote, based on the following principles. It is a simple weekly cadence geared towards reducing project risk, making it easy for team members to move towards a common goal. You can download the chapter using the link at the end of this article.
With Days of the Week, the team knows there are regular check-ins and meetings to keep everyone updated and identify what’s lagging early.
Project team members often work in different departments or across the globe, making it challenging to keep everyone aligned. To keep your project on track, you must ensure that everyone has timely reminders and updates to ensure that everyone is completing their tasks. Not only that, you need to follow up early and often.
Reports and status updates are a great way to achieve this, but it’s important to ensure that these are consumable and standardized so that higher-ups receive their reports in the same format and platform weekly. If there are risks, you can use caps and bold and asterisks to make sure that it is easy for a reader to glance at the material to see what the issue is.
In today’s fast-paced environment, objectives and trajectories can change quickly, making it important to identify risks early and have a solid escalation strategy in place. As part of this strategy, team members must feel comfortable sharing any issues they encounter upward, enabling the team to prepare for any possible changes in advance.
For example, if a team member’s personal situation might force them to leave the project, they should let the project lead know as soon as possible. It is important to foster an environment where sharing anything that might impact a project’s success is viewed as a positive. You should encourage your team members to communicate openly and collaborate with each other to find solutions to problems.
Risks and roadblocks can range in their level of concern from minor setbacks to massive issues requiring a significant project scope shift. To avoid surprises, you should identify all stakeholders early that are key to the project. In our example at the beginning of this article, the key partner was engaged too late in the process, resulting in a catastrophic failure.
This could have been easily solved by mapping out the project backwards and looking at the potential blockages. By the time you get to the execution phase, if each key stakeholder critical to success hasn’t been asked the question, “What do you need for this project to be a success,” then no execution strategy in the world is going to save this project.
Scheduling relatively easy-to-achieve “wins” throughout your project can help to keep morale high and create momentum towards the larger objectives. Celebrating these “wins” can help motivate team members to continue working towards the project’s completion, even when they encounter setbacks.
It also gives an opportunity to evaluate future phases and ensure that everyone is on board for success.
Using Days of the Week, we transform project success by keeping everyone updated on deliverables, establishing an escalation strategy, understanding potential risks and roadblocks, scheduling “wins,” and fostering communication and collaboration.
With increased demand for hybrid and fully remote work styles, most firms understand that some form of distance work is here to stay – and have put some remote protocols in place. But are they the right ones?
It’s time to take advantage of the many opportunities remote work presents. Stop saying “we’re not there yet,” and start saying “we’ve arrived!”
This book will show you how.
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