I often get asked about working with virtual teams and communicating project information around the world. This is often one of the hardest parts of a project manager’s job and one that I have helped project managers with for years.
Here are a common set of communication tools that I feel are critical to use on all projects, and especially with your virtual team members:
1. Project RACI – Critical for project team members to know exactly what they are assigned to on the project.
2. Gantt Chart / Project Schedule – Again, this is a critical tool where project managers can see project tasks over a time scale view. Project team members can see exactly what they are working on and whether they are running on time or late.
3. Budget Spreadsheet – Again, critical tool for project team members to understand what they are costing the project. Vendors/contractors or FTE’s all need to know the actuals and estimates of their hours on a monthly basis.
4. Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) – The WBS is a critical tool for every project manager. PM’s that don’t use WBS’s are not tracking the scope of their projects in a tool that is easy to use, easy to report and an all-around great tool for the project.
5. Project SharePoint Site / Document Control Center – There is a huge need for project managers to setup a SharePoint site or a place where you store all the project documents. When project team members near or far need access to project documents, they are always available.
There are some of the key project management tools and templates that I feel are critical for project managers to use on their projects. Especially with virtual team members, these tools are critical.
People often ask me where they can get some of these templates from my books and for the tools mentioned above and I am happy to send you here.
But, I also found a site where they have a whole ton of templates, 7,000 to be exact. You could check these out as well. Click Here!
Tell me your thoughts in the comments and let’s open a dialog. I would be excited to hear other opinions on this topic.
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Bill Dow, PMP is a recognized expert in Project Management by the Project Management Institute (PMI) for specifically developing and managing Project Management Offices (PMOs.) His extensive experience with Project Management and PMOs have enabled him to co-author several comprehensive books available through Amazon.com.
Bill has taught at the college level for more than 15 years in Washington State, British Columbia and Ontario, Canada, and has worked at Microsoft for more than 10 years. He has spoken at multiple Project Management Institute (PMI) conferences, breakfasts and events nationally.
"PMO Lifecycle: Building, Running, and Shutting Down," June 2017 (Amazon Link)
“Project Management Communications Tools,” May 2015 http://tinyurl.com/z5yt8mz Co-authored with Bruce Taylor
“The Tactical Guide for Building a PMO,” August 2012, http://tinyurl.com/z8y8bym
“Project Management Communications Bible,” June 2008 http://tinyurl.com/j2sn5bd Co-authored with Bruce Taylor
Bill Dow's Website - CLICK HERE