## 6 Project Management Tips To Keep Your Virtual Team On Track

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# 6 Project Management Tips To Keep Your Virtual Team On Track

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Millions of words have been written on how to handle a physical project with a physical team. Heck, if you wanted to read them all, you’d hardly have time to actually run your team! The area that has received less attention is on how to run a digital team. The thing is, that’s an important area as more and more teams are no longer located in the same space. Instead, they might be in different places, different countries and different time zones.

All that means that you’ve got to consider some things and their impact that might never have occurred to you before. Here we’re going to talk about some such things. So that you’re prepared and can take steps to make sure your team runs well and stays on track.

## Start by defining how you’re going to work

When you meet face to face it is obvious how you’re going to communicate. When you’re in the online world, that can be more difficult. For that reason, the very first thing that you need to do is select the platform that you’re going to use. Are you going to communicate via email, slack or some other platform? Where and how will you share files that other people need access to? What platform should people check for updates about where you are at in the program?

These things are important, particularly if you’re working with bigger teams. For if you don’t have them set up, there is a good chance that people aren’t working on the same version of documents, others are missing updates that are being put on line and your team is often talking past each other. This is what used to happen all the time in e-learning until people started focusing on this task, so take a page from their book.

## Define roles and obligations

The next stage is to make sure that roles and obligations are well defined. Only when everybody knows what they’re supposed to be doing, can work proceed apace. What is more, when you make it clear what everybody is supposed to be doing through a central document that also immediately makes it clear what tasks are being left undone.

Also, make sure that people correctly understand what is expected of them. This may seem like a trivial step, but it is anything but. In the real world is it often possible to see when you’ve not been understood correctly by the facial expressions of the people around you. In the digital sphere, you don’t have those signals.

To compensate for that make sure you ask people if they’ve understood everything or if there is anything unclear. Even better, get people to summarize what they think you expect them to do – in that way, you’ll have a much better idea if you’re actually understanding each other or talking past each other while believing that you’re agreeing.

## Have examples

Online a big problem is that you don’t have the same number of communication channels as you do offline. You can’t use tone, pauses or facial expressions as effectively. That means there is a lot more chance for miscommunication.

The best way to get past that is to give examples. So, if you want an article written in a certain way, point to an example article, or get one written up (here are some reviews of companies to help you with that). That will allow the person to refer back to it frequently and work towards creating something similar.

You know that saying about pictures being worth a thousand words? Well, they could have said that about good examples as well.

## Have meetings

Sometimes it’s just a great idea for everybody to be online at the same time so that you can actually talk. I don’t know if you prefer everybody typing into a messaging app or if you prefer something like a conference call on Skype. It really is up to you, but whichever tool you decide to go with, make sure that everybody is there so that you can discuss what has happened, offer praise where it’s needed and prod people along when it’s not.

The advantage in the meeting isn’t just that they help everybody keep track of what’s going on, but they also create a sense of community and groupies. These things can help people push that little bit harder when it’s necessary to deliver a great product.

If you’ve got team members in different time zones, that can be really hard, or it can be really useful. It depends on how you deal with it. If you micromanage or need constant access to that person, it’s obviously going to be hell, as either they or you are going to have to work at ungodly hours.

If on the other hand, the person can be given a responsibility and left to their own devices, then it can be incredibly useful. For example, I’ve worked on a number of teams as a writer, where at the end of their day the team communicates a text that they need. Since it’s the beginning of my own day, I can then get straight onto it and have a version ready for them by the time they once again start on their new day.

In this way even though nobody works at an unreasonable hour, the work on the project can continue around the clock and people don’t need to spend as much time waiting around for other people to finish their part before they can continue.

## Stay in touch with the right people

If you find somebody that you can easily work with digitally, make sure you stay in touch with them. After all, as working digitally is still quite new, there are going to be a lot of people still struggling with learning the necessary skills. That means that finding the right people for your team is going to be harder than it is in the physical world, which adds a lot more uncertainty into these kinds of projects.

That uncertainty can in part be offset if you’ve got at least a few people who you can trust to do the job that you ask of them. Then you can focus your attention and your time on making sure new team members understand their job correctly and do what is needed from them.

## Last words

The great thing about working digitally is that it is constantly getting easier. That means that you can access the talent pool of the whole world without ever having to leave your office or your hometown. That’s great. What’s more, the technology is quickly getting better and working together on these kinds of projects getting easier.

That said, it isn’t in anyway the same as working with a physical team. You’ve got to be prepared for that what entails. It means that you’ve got to deal with problems that would never have occurred if you were all sharing an office together. Only if you realize that and accept the dangers that lurk below the surface can you make this kind of thing a success.

### Janet Anthony

Blog Author

Janet Anthony is a passionate blogger and content writer at writing services.Her purpose is to share some value among interested people. She is always seeking to discover a new way in personal and professional development.

## 7 Levels in Delegation Poker Group activity - Project Management

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7 Levels in Delegation Poker Group activity - Proj...

Delegation is something that every Project Manager... Read More

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PRINCE2® is one of the methodologies which will lend you a helping hand in managing your project in a successful manner.In this article, we will discuss its various aspects, just enough to provide you with the perfect launching platform to comprehend everything about PRINCE2®, all the information that you will need before you dive in for more details later on.Not only that, you will also get an overview of how you need to engage yourself with this project management method.Let us begin with the basics.What is PRINCE2®?PRINCE2®, an acronym for PRojects IN Controlled Environments, in fact, is a process-based method to manage any project effectively.One of the frequently-used project management methods, PRINCE2® is used by many people and organisations from various sectors and industries. It is practical, flexible, and innovative. Whatever project it may be, whether it is about constructing a flyover, developing software, or even putting forward an advertising campaign, the themes, processes, and principles of PRINCE2® will help you realise all of them. This method belongs to the public domain, and provides a generic but the best guidance to managing any project.Key Features of PRINCE2®:Focus on business justificationDefined organisation structure for the project management teamProduct-based planning approachEmphasis on dividing the project into manageable and controllable stagesFlexibility that can be applied at a level appropriate to the project.History of PRINCE2®PRINCE2® originated from PROMPT II (Project Resource Organisation Management Planning Techniques).PRINCE was originally based on PROMPT, a project management method created by Simpact Systems Ltd in 1975, and adopted by CCTA in 1979 as the standard to be used for all Government information system projects.In the year 1989, a version of PROMPT II was adopted as a UK Government standard for information systems (IT) project management by CCTA, Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency. In June 2010, the Office of Government Commerce Best Practice Management functions moved into the Cabinet Office.However, it was renamed in a Civil Service competition to ‘PRojects IN Controlled Environments’. In a short span of time, PRINCE was applied even outside the IT environment, both in the UK Government and private sectors.On PRINCE being launched in the year 1989, it effectively superseded PROMPT within Government projects. PRINCE remains in the public domain and the crown holds its copyright. PRINCE2® was published in 1996, having been contributed to by an association of some 150 European organisations.PRINCE2® was released in the year 1996 as a common project management method.Since then, it has gained increasing popularity, and now it is a de-facto standard for project management in many UK Government departments and across the United Nations systems as well.After being revised again in the year 2009, the acronym was changed, this time to ‘PRojects IN a Controlled Environment’.Ever since PRINCE2® was launched (1996), it has undergone two significant revisions:‘PRINCE2®:2009 Refresh’ in the year 2009‘PRINCE2® 2017’ Update in 2017Which are the most popular regions for PRINCE2®?As you came to know in the section above, PRINCE2® was born in the UK, and later on, this methodology took many regions of the world by storm. Its simple, yet effective themes, processes, and terminologies have brought a new perspective in the world of project management.Till date, the UK has more PRINCE2® certificate holders than any other country across the globe. But now, there are more certificate holders across the rest of the world.According to the Axelos 2016 report:88% of PRINCE2® certificate holders said it had been valuable to their career85% of practitioners stated that PRINCE2® certification has been useful current roleOver 80% of professionals surveyed see the value of working in an agile way.Meanwhile, along with the massive global presence and momentum of PRINCE2®, there are already many established countries that adopted PRINCE2® .Here are the most traditionally popular PRINCE2® regions:UKThe NetherlandsAustraliaEastern and Western Europe – Poland, Denmark, GermanyIt has been some years now, and PRINCE2® has really strengthened its grip in the economic market of superpowers like India and China. In the year, 2012, PRINCE2® examinations in India increased by 168%. A year later, the increase in the rate of examination in China overtook India. These figures look perfect for the project managers. China and India both are ambitious nations and it makes complete sense about why they have adopted PRINCE2® methodology for their projects.More current figures from AXELOS, represent the regions going through the biggest increase in PRINCE2® examinations with every passing year:Why do I need to implement PRINCE2® in my organisation?Well, as stated earlier, PRINCE2® is a high standard method for project management. But what makes it stand out from the other methodologies?Simply because it is adaptable and flexible. Let us elaborate on this.The reason why PRINCE2® is adaptable and flexible is that it represents years of best practice in project management. It focuses on a diverse variety of disciplines and activities, ones which are important while driving a project, and emphasises on the direction the project needs to head towards, that is, ‘Why’, ‘When’, and for ‘Who to’.What it has to provide your organisation with are stated below-It provides a common and seamless approach.Helps in keeping a project organised throughout the process.Repeated and timely reviews of progress are made against plan and Business case flexible decision pointsEnsures that the project continues to meet the business requirements.Provides flexible decision points.Aids to management control of any deviations from the plan if there are anyThe involvement of management and stakeholders at the right time and place during the project.Helps in maintaining good communication channels between the project, project management, and the rest of the organisation.Provides a method of capturing and sharing lessons learnt.Secures a pathway to increasing the project management skills and competences of the organisation's staff at all levels.All right, but why use a project management methodology?It has been known from various surveys that the project managers of high-performing projects are most likely to have been PRINCE2® certified. It enables them to manage the project, take risks, and have control over the use of resources.Since PRINCE2® and its methods are widely renowned and understood, it provides a common language for all the members in a project.It represents years of project management best practice that provides information about a lot of ‘Dos’ and ‘Don’ts’ to the participants in a project.With PRINCE2®, it will become easy for you to maintain a flexible and improved communication system throughout the project by employing Agile methods.Tell me about the training and certificationsPRINCE2® certification is awarded by AXELOS, and in order to get the certification, the user needs to take part in a training course with an Accredited Training Organisation, after which the user needs to sit for an examination. There are three ways to undertake the course: Virtual, Online, and Classroom. Trainers must be re-accredited once in every 3 years and undergo a surveillance check once every year.However, PRINCE2® examinations are either undergone:As a part of a PRINCE2® accredited training course through your PRINCE2® training providerOnlineAt a public PRINCE2® examination centre.Whichever option you select, the PRINCE2® examinations you appear for will have the same style and structure.There are four levels of certification for PRINCE2®:1. PRINCE2® 2017 Foundation: This level of certification confirms that the holder has adequate knowledge and understanding of the method of PRINCE2® and is qualified to work in a project management team using the very method.If you opt for this, then you must be able to:Describe the motive and major content of all roles, the seven principles, the seven themes, and the seven processes.State which management products considered as input or output by using the seven processes.State the main purpose and key contents of the major management products.State the relationships between processes, deliverables, roles, and the management dimensions of a project.2. PRINCE2® 2017 Practitioner: This level of certification confirms that the holder has developed an adequate understanding of the way the concepts of PRINCE2® can be applied in a certain given scenario and will be able to apply the same in a real project scenario under proper guidance. However, qualified PRINCE2® Practitioners who pursue the APMP qualification of the Association for Project Management (APM), are not eligible to attend certain topics of the syllabus, ones that are covered in PRINCE2® Practitioner qualification.         If you go for this, then you must be able to:Produce detailed explanations of all principles, themes, and processes and worked examples of all PRINCE2® products as they might be applied to address the particular circumstances of a given project scenario.Show that you comprehend the relationships between principles, themes, and processes and PRINCE2® products and can apply this understanding.Demonstrate that you understand the reasons behind the principles, themes, and processes of PRINCE2® and that you understand the principles underpinning these elements.Demonstrate your ability to tune PRINCE2® to different project circumstances.The examinees are strongly advised to read the book and review the test exams time and time again.3. PRINCE2® Agile Foundation:This level of certification was released in June 2018 and establishes the fact that the holder has sufficient knowledge and understanding of PRINCE2® and the Agile way of working and is able to work in a project management team by combining the concepts of both.4. PRINCE2® Agile Practitioner: This level of certification identifies the holder as being able to implement the principles of PRINCE2® in project management and apply the concepts of Agile, such as Scrum and Kanban.So, in a brief, to get PRINCE2® Agile Foundation or Agile Practitioner certification, you need to:Show that you understand the basic concepts of the common agile ways of workingShow that you understand the purpose and context for combining PRINCE2® and the agile way of workingDemonstrate your ability to fix and flex the six aspects of a project in an agile contextDemonstrate the ability to tailor the PRINCE2® principles, themes, processes and management products to a project in an agile context.You can visit our link to know more about PRINCE2® Foundation and Practitioner Certification TrainingWhat is the process of Examination?Although you were informed about the four levels of certification in the previous section, the examination format varies accordingly.We will provide you with a brief insight on each format and the prerequisites so that you get a general idea about the same before selecting a course with us.So, here are the four examination formats.The PRINCE2® Foundation Examination format:The duration of examination is 60 minutes.There will be a total of 60 questions.It will be a closed-book examination.You will need to have at least 33 out of 60 questions correct, that is, a pass mark of 55%.Prerequisites: There are no specific pre-conditions for the Foundation level certification.You may study this on your own or as take it as a prerequisite to the PRINCE2® Practitioner course.However, with respect to the PRINCE2® Certification Requirements, while it is not mandatory, having a basic knowledge of managing projects is always preferred.The PRINCE2® Practitioner Examination format:The duration of examination is 60 minutes.There will be a total of 68 questionsYou will need to have at least 38 out of 68 questions correct, that is, a pass mark of 55%.It will be an open-book exam (official PRINCE2® manual only).However, if you take the examination in your native language, then the duration of the same will be for 150 minutes. If not, it will be for 188 minutes. The distribution of the questions will be as follows:35 questions from the theme25 questions from the processesAnd 8 questions from the principles.Prerequisites:In order to appear for the PRINCE2® Practitioner examination, you must be able to provide a proof of passing one of the following exams:PRINCE2® FoundationProject Management Professional (PMP)Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)IPMA Level A (Certified Projects Director)IPMA Level B (Certified Senior Project Manager)IPMA Level C (Certified Project Manager)IPMA Level D (Certified Project Management Associate).The PRINCE2® Agile Examination format:It will be an objective test.There will be 50 questions, each worth one mark.You will need a score at least 30 marks to pass (out of 50 available), that is, 60%.The test duration will be of two-and-a-half hours (150 minutes), no additional reading time.It will be an open-book exam (official PRINCE2® Agile guide only)What are the Prerequisites?In order to sit for the PRINCE2® Agile examination, you must have a Registered PRINCE2® Practitioner status (i.e. hold a current PRINCE2® Practitioner certificate).But why should I get PRINCE2® Certified?There are many reasons why it is recommended to study PRINCE2®.The most notable of them are:It is the industry standardIf you are looking to work in project management, then your search ends at PRINCE2®.PRINCE2® is a qualification that is recognised worldwide, one that is approved by the UK government as a best practice for project management. It has turned into an important benchmark of capability within the industry, and is considered an important requirement for those looking to further their project management careers.It helps in gaining First Class Project Management SkillsPRINCE2® offers the skills that will make you confident about managing projects with success. The key element it follows is using a common language, systems, and procedures. What results is you being able to govern resources and risks with fewer mistakes, but the incidents will teach you and your team how to learn from the same mistakes.Irrespective of the type of project, organisation, or industry one is involved with, PRINCE2® is adaptable enough to be seamlessly adjusted, not to forget the immense amount of time, money, and effort it saves.The time taken for you to qualify will not take longIt will not take you long to complete all the certifications of PRINCE2®. Their duration is from 20 to 50 hours for the entry-level PRINCE2® Foundation level, two to three days for the PRINCE2® Practitioner and Professional levels.The first level can be studied online. You can take your own time in scheduling your studies according to the time table. However, if you desire to finish your qualifications at a quicker pace, then there are a host of bundled packages having different classifications together.It assists you in shaping your career by getting better jobsHaving a PRINCE2® certification adds credibility to your CV. It is a renowned international product which has the quality method for managing any project. According to Arras People's 2011 survey, half of the people who opted for the same have certifications in PRINCE2®. This clearly explains why so many companies are hiring candidates who are certified in PRINCE2®.The 2016 AXELOS PRINCE2® survey shows that a majority of the surveyees, particularly from Germany and the Netherlands, felt that PRINCE2® certification is essential for a better career growth. The ones to opine otherwise stood at less than 10% of the total votes.A better future is accomplished by continuously being equipped with the best of the upgrades available and a PRINCE2® certification is one of those top-tier choices.It will qualify you to earn more moneyMany companies worldwide offer an average annual salary of around $42,380 to PRINCE2® Foundation certified candidates. Potential candidates could earn up to$66,206 after they complete their PRINCE2® Practitioner certification,So, being PRINCE2® certified helps you secure your financial benefits and career on a long-term basis.You will be open to more opportunities globallyIt is a fact. PRINCE2® qualifications are recognised and acclaimed globally. So, there is no doubt that it creates more opportunities for you globally.Did you ever dream of working abroad? If yes, then project management could be the ideal choice.What is the cost of the components of the certification?Whether it is PRINCE2® Foundation or PRINCE2® Practitioner, the total cost is split into various segments and varies from country to country and from one accredited training organisation to another. All the fees mentioned here have approximate values and may be subjected to change depending on the region.The components involved in the PRINCE2® certification cost are:PRINCE2® TrainingPRINCE2® examCost of Sample Examination papersStudy GuideMembership fee.Well, opting for a PRINCE2® course online means that the cost of your training component in PRINCE2® could be as low as under $300, considering that you go for a PRINCE2® Foundation & Practitioner Certification examinations bundle. Choosing this combination will give you access to the entire course lasting for a year. Some training providers offer such courses for just$60, provided you want to complete the same within a month. Generally, the Foundation examination could cost around $900 but you automatically would end up paying much less on the PRINCE2® certification if you get one of those bundled courses including both PRINCE2® Foundation & Practitioner Certification examinations.However, in case you think about attending a classroom training, then you may have to pay around$1000 for your PRINCE2® certification. A few of these PRINCE2® courses cover the cost of the PRINCE2® Foundation & Practitioner Certification examinations. So keep the cost of the PRINCE2® certification in mind if you are planning to go for PRINCE2® training. Moreover, take time to pay attention to the extent of course coverage, flexibility and the bundled services that are provided. This will help you cut down on the cost of PRINCE2® certification.PRINCE2® course onlineIf you go for a PRINCE2® course online, you will save a lot of money on the PRINCE2® examination cost. PRINCE2® course online for the Foundation level may cost you €450 or more, but the classroom session may cost €1000 or more. Speaking of PRINCE2® examination cost, you will be able to save quite a lot of money by going for the online course.And what about the future of PRINCE2® professionals?To determine if the PRINCE2® certifications are worth going for, you will need to have a look at the average salaries of the jobs targeted at PRINCE2® certified Project Managers.The average salary of PRINCE2® certified employees is around $85,000 to$90,000.        A number of studies and surveys demonstrate the fact that PRINCE2® certified professionals earn more than their non-certified peers.You may start with the job role of a coordinator or an administrator, but you can rise up to a director’s position with the aid of a PRINCE2® certification.With the help of a PRINCE2® certification, you also become skilled in handling project delivery successfully, thus becoming an invaluable asset to your company.A PRINCE2® certification imparts knowledge on how to manage your resources on the project effectively. Moreover, you will be able to effectively take care of risks and hence aid businesses more.Axelos survey revealed that individuals feel that PRINCE2® Foundation & Practitioner Certification is an invaluable asset for them irrespective of their position.In a nutshell, if you compare the PRINCE2® foundation exam costs, your salary should range from $33,000 to$ 93,000. Hence you can justify the costs of learning PRINCE2® with the staggering salary. Like we mentioned at the beginning of this article, PRINCE2® certified professionals are in high demand in the major companies throughout the world.You will be a sought-after person when your peers and organisation become aware of your skills in project management.ConclusionAll the information and discussion shared above is just the tip of the iceberg of information about PRINCE2®. There are more to follow in our subsequent articles having every useful information that will help you choose your career options, especially when you are standing at the crossroads of selecting the appropriate one for your future.We wish you all the best on your journey to pursuing excellence!