The Important Role of Remote Project Managers

By GuideCX
Nov 8, 2021
In a virtual conference held by the Project Management Institute, GuideCX discussed why project managers are more important than ever. Especially as companies transition part of their workforce to an online medium.
 
With more and more companies moving to remote work, the role of remote project managers is changing. In fact, Gartner estimates that 53 percent of the IT workforce in the United States will be remote by 2022.
 
Project managers approach their role with a customer-centric mindset. They make sure employees and customers have access to the right tools and engage everyone effectively. Here’s what was discussed.
 

Taking a Customer-Centric Approach

 
Project managers need to be an effective conduit between the client and the team. This is because face-to-face meetings are increasingly virtual. This customer-centric approach is achieved through being transparent. All parties should have access to the information they need to achieve a client’s desired outcomes.
 
“In project management excellence, you want everybody on the same page,” says Harris Clarke, COO at GuideCX. “You want expectations to be really clear. You want to have an easy time resetting expectations—you know, flags raised when you know you need to address certain items—and so much of that is evident in the status of each piece of work and where it stands and what needs to happen next with it.”
 
This is especially important when a scope of work transfers thought departments. This usually means one departments needs to complete tasks before another department can move forward. Outlining the necessary steps so that both customers and staff understand what needs to be done helps to promote productivity and decrease roadblocks.
 
“So many times, the classic sales problem is that they’re not outlining the work that needs to get done in order to accomplish the goal,” says Todd White, cofounder and vice president of sales at GuideCX. “If there’s not an outline of what it is that needs to happen, it becomes a difficult conversation to have, especially if there are setups involved.” 

Having Access to the Right Tools

 
Another method project managers can implement is making sure all parties have access to what they need. which is a practice that has grown as more and more online systems have become available. Gone are the days of spreadsheets and endless email updates when it came to developing and tracking a client’s project. This access is something that can now be achieved in the remote workplace more easily.
 
Providing access to both staff and customers ties back to transparency. It allows everyone to be aware of where a project is in its development or implementation. While access to some assets may require different levels of authorization, utilizing the right tool to manage those permissions ensures the right people have access to what they need
 
“This pillar of inviting the right team is so critical,” says Clarke. “The more people who are invited who have an interest in the successful delivery of that work, the better. The more we can do to guide people through a process in an engaging way, the more we’re going to see that productivity skyrocket.”
 
Poor training or implementing tools can be detrimental to effective project management. This is because they don’t work for either the company or the client’s needs. You can manage this by making sure everyone knows how to effectively operate the systems they’re using. So not only do the right people have access, but they can use the right tools that pertain to their responsibilities or needs
 
“The number one cause of churn—in the SAAS world at least—is a bad implementation,” said White. “And it has nothing to do with the intentions of the project manager: It has to do with the tools that are provided for them.”

Empowering Effective Engagement

 
One thing that hasn’t changed in the remote workspace is a project manager’s need to effectively engage with both their customers and their team. Even if how it’s done has changed.
 
Frankly, it kind of feels like project management—especially in this evolving world—hasn’t gotten the due that it deserves,” says Harris Clarke, COO at GuideCX. “The way that it really does help keep the work moving forward, delivering the value in an efficient way, and just how critical that is.”
 
This is done by getting people information in a way that not only helps them to understand the scope of work but does so in a way that works for them. This may require project managers to adjust their approach based on the client or team member’s wants or needs. But in doing so, they are able to provide that information in a way that is easy to digest and clarifies expectations.
 
“The goal here is really to make sure that we do everything we can in this modern era. To be inviting, guiding, and engaging our customers—or whatever third parties we’re working with—along that journey as customer-centric as we can be in our project management processes,” says Clarke.
 
 
Ultimately, for remote project managers, three things are vital for success. These are customer-centric approaches, access to the right tools, and effective engagement. And not only are these important for remote project managers, but for those across the board.
 

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