Being a Project Manager you quite understand needing to be available 24/7 to answer any queries that might arise regarding progress or indeed problems with the project. However, despite fully understanding the need for you to always be available to your teams – if you are working on a project requiring input from several different teams in different time zones or countries, this can become a strain for even the most experienced Project Manager. So, what does the modern Project Manager need to know about being virtually always available?
Time was and all the Project Manager had to worry about was phone calls at work and the occasional one at home. Nowadays, in the office emails and video-conferencing could take up huge portions of your time, whilst away from the office you can feel tethered to your desktop computer or netbook – knowing that someone somewhere will be wanting to get in touch with you. Again, OK you took this aspect of availability on with the job – but what about those days when you do manage to take a few days vacation or want to be out sailing or whatever on a day off. You certainly don’t want the hassle of having your computer with you or even a tablet computer – so the obvious answer is get a smartphone. This can deal with all your emails and messaging services, give you internet access and even allow you to video conference if needs be.
Apps, Clouds and IMs!
OK, so now you are utterly mobile and virtually always available, what else should you get the smartphone to do for you. The first thing to do is arm your smartphone with Apps to work for you. Apps are small programs designed to work on mobile devices like smartphones and can even be versions of the software you use in your office, including your favorite Project Management software. Having copies of your project data in a ‘Cloud computing‘ environment could also be of real benefit to you if something needs checking. Finally, insist that all of the team leaders likely to want to contact you only do so via an Instant Messaging (IM) system. The advantage here, to both you and them, is that everyone can see if the person they want to communicate with is ‘available’ or ‘busy’ or ‘back in 10 minutes’ etc. Making it clear for everyone across the different time zones if making contact there and then really is appropriate and, possibly, actually allowing you to turn off for a while when not on business away from the office .