Mastering Remote Team and Project Management: Insights from a Seasoned Leader

Mastering Remote Team and Project Management: Insights from a Seasoned Leader

Mastering Remote Team and Project Management: Insights from a Seasoned Leader

With the COVID-19 pandemic drastically changing the workforce and many businesses – RELI Group included – relying on remote workers, people and project managers have needed to adapt their skills. In this blog, hear from Beatriz “Patty” Monje on the tips and tricks she uses to successfully manage a remote team. Patty serves as a seasoned program manager on RELI’s IT Mission Support Services (ITMSS) contract with the Transportation Security Administration.


It may not feel like it on the surface, but in my experience, remote work and project management are an excellent match. Fostering efficient collaboration through digital tools and applications like Microsoft Teams and Power Apps has made a difference in my daily interaction with both internal staff and the customers we support in the government. In addition to making the best use of the tools at my disposal, I’ve also modified my management style – partly based on research and best practices, partly based on trial and error – to successfully manage people and projects in a remote setting.


Since I began managing teams in a remote setting in 2020, I’ve come to appreciate the benefits of working remotely, including increased flexibility, improved work/life balance, and access to a broader talent pool. However, I’ve also discovered that making sure your team feels successful and accomplished requires a new kind of intentional effort by leaders of remote teams.


Key Considerations as a Remote Manager

As I’ve adapted my management style, there’s some key areas that have emerged as vital to consider when managing teams remotely.


  1. Transparency plays a pivotal role in remote team cohesion. Leaders should share information openly, keeping the team abreast of company updates and decisions. This transparency fosters trust and a sense of belonging, both critical components for a united remote workforce.


  1. Building a strong team culture is equally essential. Encouraging informal interactions and celebrating achievements, both professional and personal, helps reinforce a positive team spirit – not to mention it helps promote mental health in general.


  1. Setting clear expectations is vital for remote work. Clearly defined goals, deadlines and roles provide a roadmap for success. Regular check-ins can help identify potential challenges early on and allow for proactive problem-solving.


  1. Emotional and Professional Encouragement. Supporting individual well-being is another crucial aspect of managing a remote team effectively. Encourage a healthy work/life balance by respecting boundaries and promoting regular breaks. Providing resources for mental health support reinforces the organization’s commitment to the holistic well-being of its employees.


  1. Success While Working Remotely: Some employees struggle while working remotely, feeling obligated to justify every moment of their day or reach out multiple times throughout the day to provide updates on work. Explaining my expectations as their manager as well as the expectations of the client helps employees find their comfort zone and work more effectively. Additionally, tools like Microsoft Teams offer a way for employees to passively share progress without further disruptions.


Building a Successful Remote Team

While keeping these key considerations in mind, I’ve found that fostering a strong team culture leads to a cohesive and productive work environment. As a manager, I make a point of establishing clear, reliable and open channels of communication – for my team, that looks like regular monthly meetings with the full team, as well as meetings with each individual member every other week. These meetings aren’t just a time to talk about tasks and projects; through these meetings, I proactively set clear expectations, provide professional and personal support, and promote the well-being of each member of my team.


Many of us have found working remotely leads to increased productivity – without the distractions and interruptions often found in traditional office settings, employees can focus more easily and work more efficiently. But these same factors can also cause some employees to feel withdrawn and disengaged with the team. That’s why I keep our team meetings “cameras on”, helping build the interpersonal connections that are essential to a well-functioning team.


Using the Right Tools for Remote Collaboration

Learning how to use the tools at our disposal to effectively work remotely as a team has made a huge difference in not only how much we can accomplish as a team, but also how we keep each other and our customers updated on our work. The aptly named Microsoft Teams has made this level of engagement much easier – it’s helped bridge the gap between team members and given them a platform to interact.


Teams also provides a platform for more than just personal connection. My employees have found their own ways to share knowledge on this platform, and report feeling a sense of connection and empowerment among their coworkers. Using collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams has empowered them to share their successes or doubts as they work together to accomplish tasks. As one employee said, they feel like they’re not isolated to their own lane.


Microsoft Teams as a Project Management Tool

In addition to using Microsoft Teams for collaboration, we’ve also embraced Teams’ features for project management. By creating one centralized source of information in each project’s channel, we have an efficient way to address questions related to deadlines, team assignments or task updates, as well as a location for shared documentation. And because Teams is made by Microsoft, it interacts seamlessly with SharePoint, Outlook and other Office 365 products, allowing us to move easily from application to application without leaving the project’s channel. Importantly for a government contractor, because all information is exchanged within a designated Teams channel, it falls under the security settings assigned to Teams as a whole.


Within the tabs of a channel in Teams, we’re able to coordinate all the communication for each specific project. We’ve been able to reduce the number of emails, phone calls and video conferences by sharing all our task updates within the relevant Teams channel. It’s easy to share a document to the Files tab, then tag it in a chat to teammates when it’s time for a review or update – and Office 365 files can be opened directly in Teams for easy viewing.


While remote work offers numerous benefits, maintaining a united team requires intentional effort as a leader. Through effective communication, clear expectations and support for individual well-being, plus the right tools to get the job done, organizations can create thriving remote work environments that foster collaboration, innovation and employee satisfaction. Read more about the services we provide, even in a remote space, at!