27 Aug Hitting the Targets: Sales Beacon’s Remote Project Management
Our goals going into any organization are to keep everything on track and keep everyone happy and stress-free.
Sales Beacon’s virtual project management success rate is 99%. Not bragging, just stating a fact. Clients keep coming back to us because they appreciate what we bring to the table, which is less stress for them and consistent results.
How do we continually achieve success for the companies we work with? It’s not by accident, it’s through diligence, keen observation and the use of our proprietary tools which we apply to all our projects.
Our goals going into any organization are to keep everything on track and keep everyone happy and stress-free. Pretty simple in theory, but how do we get there? What are the nuts and bolts, the strategies that we use to make it happen?
Don’t Deliver Weak Coffee!
We often liken a project to a hotel hosting a conference. You tell the hotel to make sure there is lots of good, strong, hot coffee ready to pour at all times. This is your most important request. The hotel is going to great lengths to give you linens, china, great displays and extra snacks but the coffee is late in arriving and lukewarm. It might even be decaf!
No matter how much you may appreciate all the time and effort this hotel is putting into staging your conference, you’re not going to be happy because they’ve done a poor job with the coffee, your most important item. This hotel wasn’t listening to you, diverted too much of it’s energy to things that didn’t matter to you, and failed to deliver on it’s promises. Would you go back to this hotel again?
Projects are like this too. If you don’t understand what is truly important to your stakeholders, you can deliver what you think is a success, only to miss the things important to them, especially with reduced scope or aggressive timelines.
Virtual Project Characteristics
If you don’t understand your stakeholders, you can deliver what you think is a success, only to miss the things important to them.
When beginning any project management assignment, there are three things all traditional project managers want to know:
- The scope of the project – What is the goal?
- Project timelines – How much time do you have?
- Project budget – How much capital and resources do you have to work with?
Once there’s a clear understanding of these questions, traditional project managers can start to formulate a strategy and start to execute.
But then you add virtual to this and you start running into issues, that traditional PMs don’t plan for. There can be a ton of hoops to jump through, including shifting strategic priorities and shuffling personnel to cope with. A virtual project can be stopped in its tracks if a key stakeholder moves jobs.
Here are some of the snags that we need to plan for as remote project managers:
Challenges and Variables
Remote projects are typically in very large global companies. These multinational corporations employ people in different countries, who work in different time zones, who speak many languages.
- Be sure to find out if there’s a common language – and if it isn’t yours, find someone else to hand off the project to!
Many of the leaders of global project teams are business managers, not project managers. Yet they are tasked to run initiatives. We need to keep them on track and within their comfort zone. These leaders are not dedicated solely to the project, they have full work schedules already and may not see our job as worthy of their complete attention. Since they have full-time day jobs with never-ending to-do lists, this is understandable.
- One of our key tasks is to create compelling communications so that everyone buys into the project early and often. By using a RACI, along with compelling succinct communications, virtual project managers can keep their initiative top of mind for stakeholders.
Staff work in different departments and have a tough time communicating with each other, even on basic big picture stuff like timelines, deliverables and scope. There are too many distractions for everybody. How can people stay focused on complicated tasks when they’re bombarded by unwanted emails, texts and meeting requests?
- Our job as virtual project managers is to keep track and remind everyone exactly what they need to do and when they need to do it.
The scope of the project can change drastically due to unforeseen circumstances like changes in the market and competitive shifts.
- Sometimes we need to scale a project deliverable down to what is most important to stakeholders. Delay the linens and deliver the coffee!
Timelines are rarely based on a realistic rollout date. Often executives pluck a date from thin air that will make them look like aggressive go-getters, which sets up unrealistic expectations and is an excellent prescription for failure. Projects are often underfunded for the same reason – the executive announces without full budget in place. It isn’t unusual for only 50% of the needed resources are budgeted for.
- We need a strong communications strategy to make sure that executives look like they are delivering what they promised, even if the finished product is months away. We can do this by using proof of concept strategies or by scaling the project deliverable down so that it looks like a “win”.
Big Data – the sheer volume of information coming in can be daunting at the best of times, now think about all that data coming at you during a big company project!
- Make sure you include reporting in your plan and build in business analytics roles.
Corporate re-structuring – Fortune 500 companies can undergo major overhauls every six months, meaning projects are extremely fluid in terms of staffing, resources and short and long-term goals.
- A strong project repository that makes it easy for new leadership to understand the value add of the project – can make the difference between cancelation and continuation. We also do regular quarterly business reviews so that a departing stakeholder can easily communicate project value to his or her replacement.
How To Overcome Virtual Challenges
We need to expect change. We cut through the noise and make ourselves heard and respected.
In this ever-changing business environment, traditional project management is the kiss of death. To enter a situation so fraught with stress, egos and high expectations, we at Sales Beacon have had to create a new approach.
First and foremast, we need to expect change. We cut through the noise and make ourselves heard and respected. Not by shouting and bullying but by laying the groundwork to a workable solution that makes sense.
So, the big question: how do we do it?
Sales Beacon has developed two proprietary solutions for all our virtual project management engagements:
- ABC – a program framework that incorporates aspects of management consulting, project management and change management – specifically designed for planning a virtual engagement. ABC works as a continual quality control loop.
- Days of the Week – our virtual team management methodology that keeps everybody on track and focused on the daily/weekly/monthly activities needed to achieve project completion.
Our remote project management experts are stimulated when faced with a real challenge. They are confident because together we have created a lot of arrows in our management quiver, and we always aim for the bullseye! With over 800 unique projects under our belt, we have confidence that there’s no job too tough for our team, our tools and our experience.
Get in touch with Sales Beacon
Having trouble with a current or upcoming project at your company? Need another group to take a fresh look at a stale problem? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We love a challenge and look forward to hearing from you.