Many project management teams have members who work from remote locations, including home offices, so why not you? Thanks to modern technology, you can set up and operate a PMO from your home, and still be as effective as you are in the office. We’ve got some great tips to help you get that ball rolling!
Craft the Ideal Workspace
Whether you’re constructing a new room for your office or squeezing into an existing space, you need to make sure that your new PMO workspace is well-lit, clean, and above all, comfortable. You’re going to spend hours at your desk, so you’d better make sure it’s somewhere tolerable. You’ll be on the phone a lot, speaking with your team and the clients, so find a quiet space where you won’t be disturbed (or won’t disturb anyone).
A fast, reliable Internet connection is non-negotiable. Get the best connection you can afford (or close to it), because you’re probably going to be transferring a boatload of files and video conferencing all the time. Speaking of which, get your team set up on a program like Skype or Google’s video chat. Some project management tools offer video conferencing as well, if you want a one-stop solution.
If most of your team works from home or on flex schedules, set up scheduled meeting times so the team can still get together virtually.
Step Up the Organizing
Working remotely means organization is even more critical than normal (and that’s saying a lot). You need to pay more attention to task assignments and team performance, since you can’t glance over and see what they’re working like you can in an old-fashioned office. You need to make certain your team has up to date information on project health and current timelines—especially if you’re working in an Agile environment. Project management software can help in this regard, but as the project manager you have to be the one to tap people on the virtual shoulder if things are starting to slip.
Prepare for Failure
You’re not going to have an IT department to call on (except for maybe yourself), so make sure you take proper precautions with your equipment. Have backups of everything—including computers. Keep your local computer repairman on speed dial, and have an emergency work location in case your Internet goes down at a critical moment. Coffee shops or your library are a good choice. The objective here is to set up a system where you can still function even if everything goes to hell.
With this setup, as long as you keep up your motivation and stay free from distractions, you’ll be able to manage your projects from the comfort of your own home!