What does it mean to be a Manager? The first answer that comes to my mind is to make things happen with the best possible results and the least possible problems. That’s the easiest way for me to answer every time someone outside the Software Development industry asks me about what I do.
Okay, but how do you achieve that? As an IT Project Manager, you need to identify and apply the best techniques, processes and tools for organizing and coordinating a group of individuals working towards a common goal or task. First of all, keep in mind that these items are not simply fixed lists that you find through a Google search; just combining them will not always work as expected under different scenarios.
In the real world, the right combination of tools and techniques will depend on a series of variables that will definitely affect the final outcome: member’s personality, geographic dispersion, your client’s vision, nature of the project, development language selected and technology to be used.
In this case, my specialty is working with remote and diverse teams: groups of people from all around the world, from different countries and cultures working together for a common goal, sharing the same project management and plan. In order to erase the impacts of distance and minimize the cultural differences, you need to articulate and communicate a compelling vision, provide and foster a spirit of collaboration, earn team members trust and demonstrate credibility, engage in conflict resolution, respect the cultural differences (learn and care about them), and size up individual skills and strengths to make the team stronger and enable knowledge transfer. Of course, initially identifying and choosing the right team members is critical, while continuing to keep them motivated and clearly communicate the roles and responsibilities among the team.
The first step to work effectively with a remote team is to set up a clear and simple communication plan.
Stay in touch with the team in real time, promoting intercommunication and collaboration inside the team. Meetings, video calls, emails and phone calls are all important and needs organization. Creating team bonding will give the team a plus in terms of collaboration and empathy. Pay special attention and be extra careful with the way you communicate to give feedback, rewards and bad news. The tone and the words you choose to use could affect your team’s morale.
Now, with DevOps becoming a popular methodology for software delivery (especially in the OMNI-Channel environment), the role of the project manager becomes even more critical. Wiki defines DevOps as (a portmanteau of development and operations), as a software development method that stresses communication, collaboration and integration between software developers and information technology (IT) operations professionals. You must be nimble in your thoughts and actions, and leverage the skills outlined above to enable the communication and collaboration so critical to a successful dev/ops approach. However, using the typical dev/ops methods of standardized environments, automated quality assurance (such as continuous integration), and automated regression testing, actually simplify some of these communication challenges across such diverse teams – by ensuring all participants adhere to a common framework.
Managing diverse and geographically dispersed teams can be challenging, but I’ve found it’s also one of the most rewarding opportunities that a project manager can experience – as you experience an eclectic group of people come together under a common goal to deliver an outstanding IT solution. I look forward to continuing to work with such a talented group of people as part of the GlobalNow team.