COVID-19 is affecting many industries, including design. Because of social distancing rules, many companies have made the move to working with distributed teams, where remote management becomes essential.
Establishing effective communication and collaboration processes are some of the most challenging parts of remote work. With traditional in-person work, people can see each other face to face. As a result, communication is fast and easy. Remote communication doesn’t automatically create this feeling of shared context, and it can be hard to maintain open and quick communication.
In this article, we’ll discuss practical recommendations for design team managers. You’ll learn how to collaborate effectively if your team is remote. By establishing solid routines and processes, and by employing digital collaboration and communication tools following our three key strategies, you can mitigate the difficulties of remote work while helping your team produce exceptional results.
Key Strategy #1: Plan and maintain project transparency
People often underestimate the amount of planning that is required for effective remote management, which leads to delayed launches, confusion, and frustration. Here are some tips for making sure your project runs smoothly.
Manage the product backlog
One of the first decisions a project manager should make is to put all of the team’s tasks into project management software.
If the task is not in that software, it does not exist.
When it comes to project planning, my key recommendation is to use ‘chunking’—break down large tasks, like requests to implement specific features (which designers and developers call ‘user stories’) for example, into smaller tasks. Then, prioritize them and set a deadline for each one.
By doing that, you break down your whole product design journey into a number of steps that you can evaluate and measure, instead of having one, large, intimidating task. This also makes it easier for the human brain to process the information without becoming overloaded, which can lead to procrastination on the larger task.
Create a clear roadmap
Product teams produce excellent work when every team member knows what they are supposed to do and by when. This is the key to remote management. So, it’s essential that the product roadmap is crystal clear to everyone, and team members should understand each other’s roles and responsibilities.
"Product teams produce excellent work when every team member knows what they are supposed to do and by when. This is the key to remote management."
I recommend using a Gantt chart to keep everyone on the same page. Gantt charts make it easier for team members to see and understand priorities and dependencies, which can help identify roadblocks and move projects forward.
About the author
Nick Babich is a developer, tech enthusiast, and UX lover. He's spent the last 10 years working in the software industry, with a specialized focus on development. He counts advertising, psychology, and cinema among his myriad interests.