PROJECT MANAGEMENT AND CONTROL
Executive summary of project management
This paper consists of a report on the subject of project management and ways it can be controlled while working from home.
The problems faced by project managers when they work remotely have been analysed in this paper; also, the merits and demerits of working remotely have been discussed in this paper.
The contents of this paper are a project proposal, planning and implementation of projects from home, methodologies and tools used for planning projects while working from home have also been included.
Other than that, how the tools can be utilised has also been discussed along with techniques and methods and ways in which projects can be monitored while working from virtual offices.
Introduction of project management:
This is a project proposal that is based on the topic of project management and control. Here the researcher has provided certain aspects of project management remotely like a project proposal planning and implementation, methodologies and tools and utilisation of appropriate tools.
Apart from these topics, the researcher has also included other topics like techniques and methods, monitoring, merits and demerits of managing a project remotely and at the end, the research concludes all their findings.
This project consists of various aspects evaluating ways by which project management can be done from home.
This project will discuss ways in which projects can be managed from home and implement. Methodologies used for implementing these plans and projects from home have been mentioned below.
Which tools can be used for executing these plans and how helpful they are have also been analysed in this paper.
These tools include some applications that are available on digital platforms and help the employees remain in touch even while working from home.
Techniques and methods used for running a project from home have been incorporated in this report. Ways by which these methods can be checked from home are also mentioned in this report.
The advantages and disadvantages of working remotely have been discussed here as well. In the end, a conclusion has been provided by the researcher based on their findings.
Planning and implementation of project management:
Communication while working remotely is key. Employees need to have good communication skills to convey messages accurately to both their employers as well as clients. Companies should ensure employees who are lacking on this bit are trained appropriately to overcome their issues.
This will be beneficial for everyone, including the company, employees as well as clients. Employees should frequently make video calls to their superiors, subordinates and their clients.
This will ensure that the message they want to convey has been accurately received from their ends. This also includes employees to keep their colleagues and employers updated on their work and progress on tasks. Staying in touch will make employees feel motivated and focused.
Sending emails, messages, and PowerPoint presentations will also improve their work and communication (Akash and Tripathi, 2020, p. 1).
In case a team is not working face to face, they are still a team and need to work together by coordinating their tasks and helping each other whenever required.
To ensure that the team spirit is maintained and the work progresses smoothly, these teams and their members can have virtual meetings regularly to discuss their progress and issues.
Virtual work requires more meetings than usual physical work. This will also enhance the connectivity of these employees. This will help them discuss important things regularly and mitigate problems as soon as possible. Updates on personal health are also a very important thing while working remotely since others cannot see or touch them physically.
Any deterioration in an employee’s health must be immediately reported so their tasks can be allocated to another person and the injured or diseased employee can rest and join work as soon as possible (Bana, Benzell and Solares, 2020, p. 5).
Employees must come up with a very thorough plan while working on a project. This plan needs to be cross-checked before starting the work.
This plan will ensure particular which employee of the team needs to work on which part of the plan and how long they will be required on this project. This way, employees will be able to avoid confusion on the plan about their tasks as the plan made has been incorporated with every possible detail the employees need to refer for their share of work.
These plans can be in the form of PowerPoint presentations or can be blueprints of their project, which has been discussed on a video conference call (Bird, 2019, p. 16).
Methodologies and tools:
The methodologies and tools used for working remotely are very difficult to formulate.
While working from home, the employees need to be creative to a certain extent to have their work completed with the help of the best assets available to them within the time limit.
It is very important to have a proper workspace while working from home. Working from home does not necessarily mean that a person can work from anywhere.
They are required to set up a workspace for their own comfortable and easy work experience. Employees must also keep in mind that working from home includes many virtual meetings for which they should be prepared in suitable attire and a suitable background that they have no problem for others to see.
This should be a space where an employee can remain mentally focused on their work, and also, there should be too many distractions (Campbell, Eley and Mcallister, 2016, p. 5).
For a comfortable workspace, employees must ensure they have a good internet connection and devices that have good connectivity at home.
These spaces need to be comfortable whether they include a cushioned chair or a scented candle. Employees should have some office supplies at their homes.
Employees must set boundaries while working at home to avoid disturbances; their spouses and kids must be aware that they are working and need to be left alone.
They must set a proper routine at home for how long they are going to work and from when. An irregular schedule might cause delays and distractions for an employee working virtually.
Staying in constant touch with their colleague is very necessary to have all the updates on a project (Cannito and Scavarda, 2020, p. 801).
Some of the tools that can be used while working remotely are provided in the next segment.
Utilisation of appropriate tools:
It is a very efficient system for prioritising, documenting and consolidating various kinds of project tasks.
This tool can be used for tracking the progress of separate projects, and it can also prioritise features that are scoped with the help of a simple format which is using a board.
Using the assistance of this tool, people can create multiple tools as per their requirement for variant aspects of their products; it can add scores that symbolise the user impact and can also personalise the status of individual progress of every task.
Its features also provide an insight that is very useful for combining and assessing all the feedback, requests and research in a single space (Dharma and George, 2019, p. 411).
The usage of this tool is dependent on the nature of the project and the structure of the team. This tool is great if it is used as a development-side index.
This will help the employees in cataloguing all the ideas for products, various dates of project cycles and all the separate projects certain people are presently undertaking.
Team members have the option of customising their system as per their taste which will help them understand and get to things easily.
This is necessary for improving the organisational and visualisation features of the tool for every person using it (Dujarier, 2019, p. 7).
Meeting deadlines, avoiding delays and delivering the work to clients is essential and requires time management. Calculating the time spent on each project is also important.
This tool can automatically calculate the time one invests in a particular project, including the initial phases and also the main task.
This further helps people to calculate the billing aspects that will be produced to the client (Grant et al. 2019, p. 16). Some other features of Timely are that it can calculate the amount spent on each project and compare it with the budget set for the project.
It can review the progress and activities that have occurred in a project and also generate reports that can be shared with the shareholders of a company investing in a project, and these reports are professional (Kurowska, 2018, p. 21).
At the moment it is the best rate and also the most popular video conferencing application in the world.
Its popularity increased after the outbreak of the global pandemic of COVID 19. It is a video conferencing tool widely used for project management.
This tool makes a huge contribution to successfully managing projects remotely. This tool is mainly used for solving problems, brainstorming ideas, starting new projects and reviewing.
Giving live demos using this application is also very easy because it is very handy and suitable for remotely working employees.
Recording virtual meetings is also an option here which is helpful anytime when a person is unable to be a part of a meeting; they can later receive the recording of the meeting (Meager, 2020, p. 5).
Basecamp- it is a very useful tool for accumulating all the required documents, links and assets for a particular project into one particular place.
It can be used as a hub for project communication. It features a message board and offers a chronological list covering aspects like actions, updates and messages.
This feature makes it easy to not miss out on any piece of data that needs to be reviewed. The feature of posting allows its users to write about products in detail in the background (Molino et al. 2020, p. 5911).
The comment section allows users to add weekly updates on the progress they have been successful in making on their respective projects.
This tool also allows them to discuss any errors or issues faced in their projects.
Moreover, this tool is very efficient for sharing useful project-related information and documents with non-development teams like sales, marketing and customer services (Patton, 2019, p. 523).
Clubhouse- starting a project with the help of this tool is extremely easy. The users will only have to create a Story for a particular task, feature or chore.
The preformatted templates available on this application can save a team enormous time and effort.
With the help of Epics and Milestone tracking, users can easily check their progress on a project as well as the progress of the whole team on a certain project.
This can support increasing employee inspiration and engagement. It can be used for product building as well as technical implementation.
Tasks can be mapped here and allow developers, content, designers and QA teams to work together on some projects or their issues (Paulin, Lachance and Mcgee, 2017, p. 463).
Slack- this application is built as if it is itself a virtual office which offers great features like quick syncs and check-ins. keeping an entire team working on project updates on the progress of the project, including the shareholders, is possible on this application.
This saves people from receiving unnecessary emails, meetings and updates and spamming them. A project channel can be created for every individual project and keep the communication about the project accessible to its team members.
In case a user is looking for an old note or some data, they can easily search for it in the past communications sections.
Sharing project resources is also easier on this application, and assets and files can receive immediate feedback.
It also has features that allow one to share their project progress with other departments so that no one has to work in isolation (Prasad et al. 2020, p. 13).
Techniques and methods:
The classical technique is a procedure that is inclusive of a proper plan that covers all the future tasks and ranking them in a priority schedule along with allocating resources to each of these tasks.
These resources are allocated based on the importance of individual tasks. This also helps in giving and receiving feedback from employees which also helps build the team spirit and correct mistakes.
Monitoring the progress of the team is also possible, and the work is done within the deadline (Reis, 2016, p. 97).
The waterfall technique is a form of project management technique where a team progresses on to the next stage only when the previous stage has been completed.
Here the tasks are required to flow into a direction that is required for the smooth functioning of the project to ensure that the work is completed within the deadline, and this happens in a sequential format.
An employee while working on complicated projects and using Gantt charts for better management (Sull, Sull and Bersin, 2020, p. 10).
The agile project management technique allows people to subdivide large project steps into smaller parts so that more attention can be given to the details of a project during its development. This detailed analysis further helps to make changes in the plan if ever required and helps in adapting an effective strategy as per the requirements of the project (Van and Lippényi, 2018, p. 20).
The rational unified process works almost in the same way as the waterfall technique just with a few changes in its framework.
In this process, the feedback that has been obtained for making improvements in a project or for its future are collected directly from the user of their products (Viktorovich et al. 2020, p. 10).
Monitoring of management project:
Monitoring projects is very crucial, whether it has to be done from physical offices or remote workspaces. There are various ways in which employers can keep a check on their employees and the progress of the tasks allotted to them.
Some of these methods can be identified as conducting virtual meetings where the progress of the tasks are discussed and evaluated. Constant communication will reduce the chances of employees working in isolation and ensure that their work is error-free.
Employees must put up their daily progress on their company websites or on an application that is being used by their team members as well.
There are certain drawbacks of working remotely, especially if the person working remotely is a project manager. Monitoring certain conditions like a large construction zone can be extremely difficult.
There is often a lack of good internet connection and fast running devices (Wang, Chen and Duan, 2017, p. 93).
Certain sites need to be inspected, and this can be best done only by being physically present there. Remote work will not allow a project manager to have a look at each corner of the site even if they receive images from their subordinates on the site or are video conferencing to see the site.
These problems can be solved with the help of a good IT team helping the other employees, and having advanced devices might also be of great help. Good quality cameras can capture good quality images that will provide the project manager with most of the details of the site.
And a good internet connection will solve the problem of connectivity among employees enabling them to be in touch with others and track each other’s progress.
Merits and demerits of managing projects remotely:
Working remotely for managing projects can be very cost-effective. The expenses of running an office and the cost of utilities also reduce or are not present at all. Costs reduce for both the employees and employers.
The cost of travelling for employees is incurred in such situations. Most of the major IT companies and e-commerce companies prefer having home offices. The cost of office and space and equipment costs can be avoided this way.
There is more flexibility in this way of working. Schedules can be more flexible as the hassle of coming to the office by a certain time and leaving it and getting home within a time frame is no more a problem here.
The employees become capable of adapting to new situations and work environments very easily (Xin et al. 2018, p. 619).
Chances of an increased rate of productivity are eminent. Studies have shown that employees working from home tend to be more productive and efficient.
The quality of their work is very high. This is possible as an employee can work from their comforts of home, they can avoid the problem of coming to their workplace, so there is more time in their hands to get their job done.
Moreover, there are no distractions at home, office politics do not bother these employees, and other malpractices are also avoidable. There is also less stress and frustration.
Working from home can often lead to having a lack of motivation and interest in one’s job. Employees, while in their offices, have their colleagues and superiors around them, this might help them have a sense of commitment and push them to meet their targets.
Knowing other’s progress and achievements can be a motivation for employees. But all these things are missing when one works virtually.
There can sometimes be more distractions at home while working as people around employees, or family members are doing things that are completely irrelevant to an employee’s job.
This is very ineffective in motivating the employee and might distract them. Household noises can also be a form of distraction. Often the balance between work life and family life becomes imbalanced (Xin et al. 2018, p. 619).
Working remotely can also be very chaotic. Sometimes an employee might need the assistance of another employee who will not be readily available while working from home.
Disturbing phone calls and network issues can cause a delay in one’s work and will not allow them to communicate with their employers. Certain thighs are best discussed in physical presence.
Similarly, sometimes a plan might need to be discussed which cannot be easily communicated through phone calls or video conferencing but need either member of the team to be present physically.
Employees often need access to certain official documents that are not accessible from home or are not present with them at the moment of their need.
This will delay their work. Certain documents are only available at physical offices or are kept with the heads of an organisation, in that case, the employees will have to wait till they receive these documents and progress with their work (Xin et al. 2018, p. 619).
This paper is based on the topic of remote project management and how it can be controlled. Working from home has its advantages and disadvantages.
Still, it can be said that the entire experience of working from home is very different from that of working from a physical office.
This might suit some people, while other employees might not be able to adapt to such conditions. However, certain tools are available for making the work experience of employees working from home easier.
Such tools are the gift of technological advancements, some of these are Zoom, Airtable, Timely, Slack, Clubhouse, Basecamp and Productboard.
These tools are very helpful for tracking progress their users make on projects individually as well as a team as a whole. These tools allow employees to communicate and interact among themselves, which enhances their engagement.
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