The current COVID-19 pandemic has put a lot of companies in a difficult position where they have to quickly adapt to the new reality - the reality of having to remotely manage large teams that previously used to work in the office. Since no one knows exactly how long this situation is going to last and whether we all will turn into zombies eventually, it’s a challenge a lot of project managers have to take.
However, there’s no need to panic (just yet). Bitrix developers seem to have foreseen all this mess and created a perfect tool for effectively managing the work of large teams located in different parts of the world - yes, we are talking about Bitrix24.
The beauty of Bitrix24 is that it allows you to manage projects remotely and does not require the physical presence of any team members involved. With zero compromises to the efficiency and speed, you get the job done in the same way you would if you were still in the office.
Bitrix24 and Project Management
Bitrix24 was originally designed as a tool that would help companies to switch from the old-school way of doing things (lots of paperwork, countless pointless meetings in the office, disjointed teams always asking what to do next) to the more effective, modern way of running a business where everything is done online - streamlined, organized and universally accessible from any device.
So how exactly does Bitrix24 can assist you in organizing work and managing your projects remotely?
To talk about this, let’s split the project work into 5 logical segments and tackle them one by one:
1. Project Initiation
To start a project, you’re gonna need some people and an environment to collaborate in - this is best done using our Workgroups.
Workgroups in Bitrix24 are essentially a virtual, online community of users created specifically for the purpose of working together on a project by means of:
Creating, assigning, solving, and discussing project tasks (more on that below)
Distributing the roles within the project (moderators, owners, or members)
Inviting external users to participate in your project (clients, partners, etc.)
Communicating in real-time, sharing files, and tracking all project-related activities
Once you’ve started a workgroup, all you have to do is add a bunch of people, define their roles and permissions, and get down to work… or not?
Well, not yet. We are forgetting about something really important - tasks! The next segment talks about tasks in more detail↓
2. Project Planning & Tasks
One of the biggest remote project management challenges is ensuring everyone knows what to do and when to do it. That’s what we have tasks for.
Working with tasks and managing them is super-easy in Bitrix24 since we’ve got everything a project manager may need for managing projects remotely.
Once you’ve got your project initiated, the team assembled and the roles assigned, you can start setting tasks to individual members or groups of people. Any given task can have the following roles defined by the creator:
Set a task to start and end at a specific date and time (the task time is tracked automatically), kick back and watch the work being done.
Tracking tasks is easy with Bitrix24 - actually, you don’t even have to do anything as you will be immediately notified of any changes in the task status or any other change in the project for that matter. All you have to do is collect task reports, check and rate the completed tasks, and monitor the overall efficiency of the team. Custom task reporting and deadline control are also available.
In the end, you get your project lined up nicely in a clear visual presentation where you can easily understand which tasks are currently in progress, planned, completed, pending approval, or reopened due to some new circumstances.
3. Project Execution
Once you’ve set everything in motion and the work on the project commenced, there’s one more thing you want to do before kicking back in your chair: make sure everything is going according to the plan.
Uniting the efforts of dozens (at times hundreds) of people working on the same project remotely might sound like a tough task, but not for our product.
Bitrix24 wouldn’t be itself if we didn’t have a whole project environment for our clients to comfortably work in. That includes various communication and collaboration tools for your team. Yeah, and did we mention that all of these tools are available from any device that’s connected to the Internet?
First and foremost, we’ve got chats - a simple yet effective tool for a quick exchange of vital pieces of information or random chitchat, depending on how disciplined your team members are. A must-have feature for any remote team relying on online communication heavily.
Discussions and comments
A classic! Why bother making those long video calls when you can just quickly leave a few notes right under the task and move on to the next thing that requires your attention.
Any discussion you’re involved in or mentioned in means you will get notified of any new replies, which makes it a breeze managing several projects at once and helps you to respond in a quick manner.
Another more or less standard feature of any project that’s being done remotely. Your team members get quick, remote access to all the project files and data they might require (with certain restrictions if needed).
This neat little feature allows you to organize and streamline otherwise clunky tasks while monitoring the progress closely and making adjustments as you go.
Video calls and video conferences
Last but not least, arguably the most useful feature of spring 2020! Being able to quickly discuss some project-related stuff during a video call makes us still feel (somewhat) human and really boosts productivity.
4. Project Performance/Monitoring
Working on a project sooner or later yields some results (hopefully, positive), which you can track, measure and analyze using our built-in tools. First and foremost, it’s our standard task reports. Using these, you can track your employees’ performance through the following metrics:
These reports will help you to evaluate the project progress and understand the efficiency of your teams and individual employees.
You can also use the Gantt chart and Kanban board when working on a project and monitoring various tasks. These tools deserve a separate subheading.
A great mechanism for the visual representation of the task schedule, the Gantt chart allows you to see the project progress displayed intuitively on a chart.
Here, each task has certain parameters such as duration, deadline, and dependency (how it is related to other tasks).
This way you, as a project manager, can:
Easily map out all the work on the project
See what stage the project is currently in at any given time
Manage the workload and efficiency of your team (individual and collective)
Kanban board is another great project visualization tool designed specifically for workgroups. Here, you can create custom stages for a project and move the tasks from one stage to another as the project goes on. Super-neat and extremely intuitive, this way of task representation will always keep you updated on the current project status.
All task management is done within the Kanban board so that you can:
Start, finish, create and delete tasks
Change the status of the existing tasks
Also, you can switch between various projects on the same page with just one click, which really simplifies your navigation.
5. Project Closure
Finally, a time has come when the project is finished and the party is about to begin. However, there’s one thing you as a project manager have to do before going on a celebration spree - express your deep gratitude and appreciation to the people who made the project a success.
Thankfully, we’ve got a tool for that too. In Bitrix24, you can send appreciation badges to your colleagues or coworkers.
It could be anything from wishing someone a happy birthday to thanking for closing a multi-million dollar deal.
Even though it may seem like a gimmick to some, this motivational tool is not to be underestimated since people love it when they are praised and their contributions to the project are acknowledged.
That was the end of our roundup of remote project management tools provided by Bitrix24. Good luck on your projects and may the force be with you, even remotely!