First, let me say thank you to all of our readers who responded to the survey … without your responses, well, I wouldn’t have this article to write. The turnout was not quite as good as last month – I think the subject of PMP certification just brings out opinions of all kinds.
Question #1 – Does your organization support or allow for remote management of project personnel on projects?
Yes – 76%
No – 24%
Clearly, our reader base works for organizations who are in tune with what seems to be going on in IT. We’re leading projects for customers who may be across the country or around the world and either out of choice or out of necessity we’re running these projects with project managers and team members working much of the time out of virtual or home offices.
Question #2 – Have you previously or are you currently performing project management activities in a remote role ?
Yes – 82%
No – 18%
Again, not only are our organizations allowing for this type of project management role, most of us are also taking advantage of it. In fact, every responder who worked or works for an organization that allows it has previously or is currently managing projects remotely.
Question #3 – What did you like most about remote project management?
Time savings / no commute – 57%
Fewer supervisor interruptions – 50%
Fewer co-worker disruptions – 36%
Fewer meaningless meetings – 36%
Clearly, our time is valuable to us – and you’ll see this in responses to the next question as well. Spending less time on the road heading to the corporate office to manage a project that you can manage remotely (especially if most or all of your team is geographically dispersed) seems logical. And safer due to less driving. And greener due to less driving and pollution and all the green things that go along with not taking up office space.
I was a little surprised that fewer supervisor disruptions ranked higher on the list than co-worker disruptions, but that’s one of my big ones as well. Many times we have great managers. But we’ve all had those managers who like to interrupt progress needlessly to get a status for their supervisors because they don’t want to take the time to review the detail we give them on each project every week. Ok, then why do we do it, right?
Finally, fewer co-worker disruptions and fewer meaningless meetings were cited by 36% of responders as reasons they liked remote project work. Those meaningless meetings still happen, but less frequently and I usually find ways to still do productive work while the meeting is going on if I’m remote. Ok, and one time I even replaced the screen on my backup XP laptop while the meeting was going on. Multi-tasking at it’s finest!
Question #4 – What did you like least about remote project management?
24/7 availability expectations – 50%
Difficult to control team and get feedback – 43%
Frequent electronic communication and no face-to-face – 29%
Isolation – 21%
Again, the answers to this clearly show that our time is valuable to us. 50% of responders gave my top answer – the 24/7 availability expectation. And I think we place that on ourselves even more than our managers, our team members, or customers do. I know I do. I tend to stretch the day out when I work remotely – often getting status reports and project schedules sent out late at night after I get the most up-to-date info possible loaded into them.
A full 43%, interestingly enough, responded that they thought it was harder to control the team members and get feedback. That’s very true when you can’t just walk up to their cubicle and get immediate status updates from them. In a remote situation, the project manager is definitely easier to avoid. 29% cited frustration over all electronic communication and no face-to-face interaction. I personally consider this a strong point of remote project management, but it’s not for everyone. And finally, only 21% cited isolation as a negative. I thought that figure would be higher and I’m glad to see that it was not.
Question #5 – Would you do it again / are you still doing it?
Yes – 92%
No – 8%
Apparently, an overwhelming majority are either very comfortable with remote project management or their working situations make it mandatory because 92% of responders who have managed projects remotely would do it again or are still doing it. An miniscule 8% stated that they would not do it again.
I was very pleasantly surprised at the overwhelmingly positive response to the concepts of remote project management that this survey brought forth. I have been a long supporter of this type of working situation because I feel it’s more productive, more environmentally friendly, often safer, and I just plain hate wasting time.