Managing A Remote Business | Part 2

Jeff Herbert | Web Consultant

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Four Pi CEO, Chris Long, has been working remotely for 10 years and has built a successful remote-first business - so he knows a thing or two about the best team productivity software and technology for remote teams, local teams and travelling team members.

This article and videos is a continuation of Managing A Remote Business | Part 1 which can be viewed here: https://4pi.com.au/blog/managing-a-remote-business-part-1

In a recent Four Pi Facebook Live Video, Chris discussed the basics of managing a remote team, provided insights into the Four Pi remote digital agency and project management software that can help keep your employees productive and keep business booming.

What Is A Jira Sprint | Managing A Remote Business

In the professional world of project management, a ‘sprint’ refers to a period of time that can keep people working hard, fast and focussed on specific time-based tasks and not the overarching main goal.

At the start of the sprint your remote team will sit down and identify what can be done in the next time period (example: one week) then get to work to accomplish those specific tasks. At the end of the week, your remote team will review their work, identify what went well, what went bad, then plan the next week of work.

The sprint methodology is widely used throughout project management procedures and not exclusive to Jira, but Jira does have a terrific sprint function that can help teams accomplish them.

You can learn more about how to conduct Jira Sprints on the Atlassian website: https://www.atlassian.com/agile/tutorials/sprints

Benefits of a Jira Sprint

✔️ Jira Sprints are designed to keep people working hard and efficiently

✔️ Helps teams work together and learn

✔️ Focus your team on what they can do in a period of time

✔️ The goal is to list out what you can get done in a period of time which you can review upon completion

✔️ Focus and fixate on a specific part of project

✔️ Boost team motivation and reward upon completion of project

✔️ Stay aligned with ongoing larger project work

Other benefits of using a Sprint in Jira

🔥 Make projects more manageable

🔥 Boost quality of work

🔥 Deliver fast & more frequent

🔥 Quickly adapt and change when needed

How To Have Productive Video Meetings | Managing A Remote Business

Video conferences are a critical part of a successful remote working team which is why Chris did a Facebook Live Video on the exact topic. You can see the article and videos here: https://4pi.com.au/blog/video-conferencing-zoom-microsoft-teams-whereby

During the Managing A Remote Business live video Chris received the question:

How can I break down my team video conferences into specific projects rather than getting side tracked in other projects?

If you’ve got an agenda to keep or foresee an upcoming video conference meeting being at risk of being too time consuming you must remember the following video meeting rules:

Prepare a meeting agenda. If you haven’t got a meeting agenda prepared then the likelihood of the video meeting negatively impacting your time and your team's time is highly likely. Agree on the meeting's purpose, identify the key points, allow a set time for miscellaneous topics that come up and only invite the relevant people.

Always have your video meeting start and end time clearly understood. Whether you have to leave early, spot on scheduled end-time or if you expect the meeting to go overtime then let your colleagues know at the start of the meeting. If you’re on a tight deadline or a busy schedule then don’t be afraid to set a time for a hard stop.

Take minutes, make notes and detail actions. Always make sure there are notes, discussion points and agreed actionables recorded from each meeting. Fall back on the agenda details if you notice things getting side tracked and keep moving forward.

Backlog Management | Managing A Remote Business

During the live video stream on Four Pi’s Facebook account Chris had another viewer question come through about backlogged issues and how best to project manage the situation.

Do you have any tips or advice between the decision making of having a backlog that’s too large compared with putting particular items into the icebox?

Firstly, it’s not uncommon for companies to experience an ever-growing backlog of tasks on non-critical projects. To avoid landing in a situation where the backlog is large, it’s best to review the management processes and employee workload management to accurately control the flow of tasks in a team.

There might be a miscommunication between the Project Manager and the Project Owner. Quite often the Project Owner is disconnected from the team's capacity and their actionable, and even though they’re acting with the best intentions, it leads to Project Managers getting drowned with tasks.

Take steps to align the Project Manager and Owner on the situation and shield the producers from the pressure of large lists of items. Manage their individual workload into manageable tasks which they can efficiently work through.

Integrating Office 365 with Project Management Software | Managing A Remote Business

Microsoft Office 365 suite of programs will seamlessly integrate with project management software created by Microsoft, such as SharePoint and Project.

Looking past the Microsoft options, the industry leads tools like Trello, Jira, Atlassian and other business productivity tools will have the capacity of integrating the Microsoft Office 365 suite.

Same can be said with integrating the Google Suite of cloud based business productivity applications - their single sign on will make it quick and easy to connect your businesses software.

✔️ Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Projects and Microsoft SharePoint will of course seamlessly connect with Microsoft products

✔️ Trello and Jira have single sign on which should work well with your sign on’s

✔️ ‘Sign on with Google’ is a great way to connect

✔️ You can simply link up G Suite's Google Docs and Google Drive with Jira, Trello and other project management tools

Asana vs Trello | Managing A Remote Business

Asana is another project management platform that you can consider implementing with your remote team. Asana is particularly good for marketing and creative teams that has a heavier focus on due dates and deliverables.

How does the project management platform Asana compare to Trello? Ultimately you’ll have to assess your team and the type of work you deliver - is the bulk of your operations focussing on delivering deadlines (Asana) or larger long term projects (Trello or Jira)? If you still aren’t sure you can always give each project management platform a trial to determine which fits your needs best.

Both have FREE subscription options. You'll get more with the paid versions but if you’re going to trial either a try then it’s a great place to start: Asana Pricing and Trello Pricing.

✔️ Both are great for marketing and creative teams

✔️ Asana has a greater focus with due dates, deliverables and deadlines

✔️ Trello and Jira are great for constantly adapting and ongoing projects

✔️ Trello has a Kanban project view while Asana has pretty much every other type of view

Trello and Jira Summary | Managing A Remote Business

In the below video Chris provides his final summary of Trello and Jira with a few useful recommendations on how to get started with a project management platform.

Get in and get started! Many of the platforms discussed above have free trial periods and/or free subscription options. If you aren’t sure what one fits best for your business then it’s worth the $0 investment to download and try a project management platform for free.

Make use of free online tutorials. YouTube is absolutely full of helpful tutorials for Trello, Jira, Asana, Atlasian, Microsoft SharePoint, Microsoft Project and probably every other project management software you can get your hands on. If not YouTube then some of the larger platforms, like Jira, will have guides and resources on their website.

If it’s simple and it fits your business - go with it. If you’re a larger company with projects that continue for a longer duration of time then you’d want to consider opting the more feature-rich options, such as Jira, which have timeline and roadmap overviews.

✔️ Get in and get started on Trello with a FREE account

✔️ Make use of tutorials for both Jira & Trello

✔️ If your a small team, go with what’s simple

✔️ For large teams then Jira might be the better fit for your business

Need Help With Your Project Management or Remote Team?

Have a question about project management or remote working? Feel free to contact Chris and the team any time: https://4pi.com.au/contact

You can see the entire video playlist of Managing A Remote Business here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLZrl9Ih8iMdzptoY5xa2t8Zp5XUW_yksV

Other remote working resources you’ll find interesting:

Managing A Remote Business | Part 1: https://4pi.com.au/blog/managing-a-remote-business-part-1

Video Conferencing | Zoom, Microsoft Teams & Whereby: https://4pi.com.au/blog/video-conferencing-zoom-microsoft-teams-whereby

Slack Instant Messaging - The Basics | Part 1: https://4pi.com.au/blog/slack-instant-messaging-the-basics-part-1

Slack Instant Messaging - The Basics | Part 2: https://4pi.com.au/blog/slack-instant-messaging-the-basics-part-2

This videos above are clips from a Facebook Live on the Four Pi Web & App Development Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/4piweb

For more remote working tips and guidance you can follow the official Four Pi Web & App Development channels:

Four Pi Webite: https://4pi.com.au

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/4piweb

Instagram: https://instagram.com/4piweb

Twitter: https://twitter.com/4piweb

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/4pi-web-and-app-development

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