Working from home has always appealed to me back from when I was a developer, no time wasted in traveling to work and I seem to get a lot more completed when at home.
With my current job they are looking to move location to a more central location (Twickenham) which is fine for me but parking would be pretty hard and traffic is always a bit busy up that way. One of the proposals for the move is to allow people the freedom to work from home more often maybe 1-2 days a week and it got me thinking about being a PM and being able to work from home.
As a developer it pretty easy to work from home as long as you can access all the required services and files remotely, but as a PM there is a little more that a physical present is needed.
With more resource tools and communication tools becoming available it is making increasingly easier to Project Manage from home.
One tool which is becoming very handy is Slack, The whole team here is on Slack including offshore teasers allowing us to group chat about certain project, individual chats of any issues outside that project. With the capability of sharing files and integrating with programs such as Jira it’s becoming the main hub of chats/talks/discussions away from email.
The other tool that allows a DPM to work at home is Jira. Jira lets me track, view and plan the projects that I run and also let developers ask questions and product owners to respond making the process faster in terms of getting answers to any potential blockers.
One of the biggest reasons to be in the work place when running an agile project would be the grooming sessions, the retrospectives and sprint planning. These meeting are best held when all persons are in and when a white is the best tool for just writing and discussing.
Tips for working at home
Here are A few good tips for being a project manager working from home
- Always be contactable – any part of the day, instant messaging is great but also having a phone line for people to call is key, sometimes it’s just easier to explain/ask over the phone the typing. Also set up video calling such as Skype or Google+ for group chats and discussions.
- If using video calls make sure your not sitting dressed in you pajarmas, it really doesn’t set a good example.
- You may find yourself spending a lot of time on the phone speaking to different people, so might be worth spending money on a good hand’s free head set.
- Don’t try to run Sprint planning, Retrospectives or kick-off meetings from home, You really need to be in the office for these but of course be the owner of other types of meetings/calls that can be done from home.
- Make a point of speaking to each member of the team at least once during the day including the sponsor so they know you are engaged in the project and being proactive.
- If you are also working from home then you will need to allow other team members the same benefits from time to time making sure the are able to work from home using the right tools for communications with the rest of the team.
One of the most important things I feel when working from home is to have a good desk/office setup, if you have a office or a spare room this would be ideal as you can work away from any distractions from around the house and letting you 100% focus on the work in hand.
Overall working from home can be a great thing it’s just a case of making sure you have all the tools and resources around you and finding the good balance that suits you and the project.