It is debatable whether product teams should be co-located or if they can work from home, delivering the same level of productivity.
The truth is, due to the pandemic, many companies shifted for 100% remote work. But this was not something new in the product management world. There are many examples where product teams worked across different time zones successfully.
Moreover, we at Zeda.io strongly believe that product managers can successfully lead their product development team and manage their game-changing product — 100% virtually.
It’s not just that our upcoming web-based tool is perfect for collaborating with your product team, but our community is also shifting towards the idea of remote working.
But still, how do you stay productive? How do you make the best of your product team remotely? Well, here are some proven methods and recommendations.
1. Make a routine and stick to it
This is nothing new or out of the box, but without this — your whole productivity can go in vain. It’s because of the reason that we work best when we stick to a plan; when we stick to a repeatable pattern. Otherwise, we fail to achieve a desirable outcome.
It does not have to be a 9–5, but something tractable so that your team members can easily predict when you are available. Which as a product manager is crucial for the proper flow of communication.
Besides, it is not only about getting the work done. You would also need some boundaries. A proper routine will also help you take timely breaks from your screen and notifications. Consider this as a long-term strategy — which needs to be sustainable.
2. Communicate all the time
Remote working can often break the communication flow for product teams.
The team members can feel isolated and apart from all the important stuff happening around the product development mothership. This is sure to happen at some point.
Therefore the best solution here is to communicate as much as possible. Communicate more often and more than you think is required.
Remember that you are not working alone, but you run a whole team of people who live in different places and time zones. So it is your responsibility to make sure that the product team works as a community rather than as individuals only.
Regularly ask people what they are doing; what they are working on, and show you care and take responsibility. Another good idea is to manage some time to get on a call and chat with your team members — something casual.
Remember that communication is the key to a healthy work-life balance for you and your teammates. Just like a call for some chit-chats, you should also hop on a video call with your remote product team.
Here, you can encourage team members to participate in a solid product strategy conference. Have a discussion about product development progress by using and sharing different product management tools.
3. Regular one-on-one
Apart from your manager, you should do one-on-one meetings with your team, stakeholders, and other colleagues too.
When interacting with your team members, one-on-one can help you identify potential issues so that you can help resolve them before they turn into real problems.
Additionally, you can use this time to gather feedback, discuss workflow and discuss matters that deserve a more direct communication channel.
Likewise, take the one-on-one time to update your colleagues and stakeholders. Discuss your thoughts, ideas, and other opinions about the product during this time and ask for the same. When you do it privately, it is much easier for your stakeholders to share their honest criticism and disagreements rather than going public.
Since disagreements are supposed to happen, it will be much easier for both parties to get over them and resolve them in a friendly manner.
4. Gather your toolkit
While you can work from almost anywhere in the world, you need the right productivity tools to work efficiently. These tools are handy for product managers and can save you some extra couple of hours.
Notion is a great note-taking software. It is a one-stop-shop for storing personal and professional life. You can use it to track metrics, finance, stakeholder management, team goals, personal notes, and a lot more.
Slack and Microsoft Teams are great channel-based messaging tools. They provide rapid follow-up dialogue with your team and are a great way to connect all your software and work in a single and secure environment.
5. Effective Task Delegation
Product managers carry the weight of the world, or at least of their team members.
However, effective product managers can assign the work equally to their team members. They understand the capabilities of every member and encourage collaboration accordingly.
Since you already have a lot on your plate, this will reduce your workload. You must focus on high-value tasks that desperately need your attention.
This is more crucial when you’re working remotely. Your team members can come together and discuss the workflow and strategy. This improves communication gaps so that everybody is well synchronized.
However, change and disruption is also a key factor for innovation and better productivity. Product managers can use this time to achieve better communication with their customers and team members from all around the world.
Today, there are great tools that can help PMs communicate effectively with stakeholders which used to be not an easy job. At Zeda.io, we’re building a platform for product teams to define, manage and collaborate on their products more effectively.