As many cities are slowly returning to normal after the worldwide lockdown, many professionals like us are still working from home as remote employees. Remote working is not a trend anymore; it's becoming the new normal. Remote work will probably be the future of multinational companies, small-scale enterprises, and SMEs. According to Global Workplace Analytics, remote workers increase employee productivity and satisfaction, saving a company more than $10,000 annually/employee.
Despite all the perks of working remotely, it comes with many new challenges. According to Buffer's 2019 State of Remote Work report, remote workers' most common problem is unplugging after work – an issue 22% of respondents said they experience, followed by loneliness and lack of communication.
We at Optimizory have been working remotely way before the COVID outbreak. In this article, we will discuss the three most commonly faced challenges by remote employees while working from home and, more importantly- how to overcome these challenges.
Though flexibility is one of the main advantages of remote working, some people tend to overwork when working from home, resulting in sleep deprivation, tiredness, and frustration. Others find it hard to stick to a schedule and manage their to-dos. Striking the right balance is much needed while working in a remote environment. With this, you can meet deadlines and impact your productivity.
Thankfully, plenty of project management tools are specially crafted for every challenge you and your remote team might experience. JIRA is a powerful project management tool for agile and traditional projects. This tool provides a central network for remote workers to distribute and track assigned tasks. User flexibility and customization are the key components of this tool. It allows you to customize the workflow for projects, issues, or subtasks and assign priority to each issue. You can also decide which task to do in each sprint based on the issue priority. RMsis is an enterprise application that smoothly integrates with Jira. It is an advanced project management tool optimized for agile teams to organize and manage requirements in versions and baselines. RMsis allows you to customize your fields and displays requirements status, priority, and flexibility information. Considering the priority level of each requirement, you can easily decide which requirements should be included in a particular release. This helps you to organize and prioritize each stage of the project life cycle.
Another significant challenge of remote working is tracking the progress of your teammates. This process can be daunting as your workers work in different geographical locations and timelines. Ensuring all projects are completed on schedule and simultaneously tracking each team member's performance is crucial.
You need a real-time tracking system like those discussed earlier, along with Links Explorer Traceability & Hierarchy. JIRA provides features like time tracking workflow status that can track specific Jira tasks and projects. Jira also provides Board views- Scrum and Kanban boards, that provide transparency into your team's work by slicing tasks into stages and allowing your team to work within the Sprint framework.
Links Explorer is an enhanced traceability tool for Jira. The key feature of this tool is the Unified Tree View. It displays a complete hierarchy of Jira issues (including Epics, tasks, sub-tasks, and Portfolio hierarchies) and its links in a single window. This real-time information helps your team to track and visualize the complete progress of the project from one window instead of switching to multiple tabs or windows.
RMsis provides a comprehensive Requirements Traceability view by mapping all project requirements against Jira issues, documents, and linked requirements. It summarizes all information in a tabular form and makes it easier to manage (add or remove) links/ associations of multiple tasks with other requirements/ test cases/ JIRA issues.
Coordinating and communicating with a virtual team is the most challenging part of a remote working platform. Poor communication can become a hindrance to the company's productivity. You tend to miss those quick discussions on task and project updates and feel out of the loop. Efficient, effective communication is the core of any functioning group, especially for remote teams.
Firstly, you need effective communication channels that are more instantaneous and flexible. Slack is one of the simplest collaborative tools that can provide all the basic features you need – instant messaging, availability statuses, notifications, file sharing, group chats, etc. You can use Google Drive for document collaboration and real-time feedback on multiple documents with teammates. Other tools like Zoom, Skype, and Go-to-meeting are great for instant team meetings and discussions. These tools can help organize visual coffee or lunch breaks, where you can interact with your colleagues over food or drinks and have casual discussions.
Secondly, having a centralized tool for organizing projects and tasks ensures that everyone who needs to be in the loop stays that way. These tools strengthen team collaboration and make your remote workers feel more like a part of the team.
Remember, remote working can bring many benefits if you diligently identify the problems you and your remote team face and handle these common issues. Picking the right project management tools allows you to successfully run and deliver even the most complicated projects with remote teams.
Remember, remote working can bring many potential benefits in project management if you diligently identify the problems you and your remote team face and handle these common issues. Picking the right project management tools when working remotely allows you to successfully run and deliver even the most complicated projects with remote teams.
If you’re looking for comprehensive project management and requirements traceability tools, check out RMsis and Links Explorer Traceability & Hierarchy and sign up for a free trial today.