• 3 common mistakes when leading developers at a distance

    Leading developers at a distance places high demands on the project manager. Our CTO Henrik Melchander has listed the three most common mistakes – for you to avoid them.

    1 Has the wrong information.

    The most common problem when leading at a distance is misunderstandings. These can be caused by a number of things: the client might have given wrong information, but it could also be that the project manager or the developers have misunderstood what the client said. Misunderstandings can also arise when you’ve understood the information right, but documented it incorrectly.

    At the end of the day it’s about communication between project manager and client. To avoid misunderstandings, the project manager needs to acquire sufficient details about what the client wants the team to build. The project manager needs to be particular when asking the client questions.

    How deeply should you dive into details? There is of course a risk that you go too far – and document too much. Finding a level of detail that suits the team is vital. There may still be questions, but the questions should not put the work on hold.

    2 Takes things for granted.

    The most important thing when leading teams at a distance is not to take anything for granted. Supplier and client both need to keep this in mind. But the responsibility ultimately falls on the project manager.

    Not taking anything for granted is not only true when co-operating at a distance – but if you are working in different environments there are usually more things that can be understood in different ways.

    As a project manager you need to ask yourself: Is there anything that I believe the client wants done, which might be caused by me thinking in a certain way? Is anything implied, that I need to put into words?

    Try to put everything on the table so that there is nothing left that’s ambiguous.

    3 Has insufficient background knowledge.

    A common mistake when leading at a distance is that the project manager is dependent on a third party to gain information or access to do the job – and underestimates how difficult this will be.

    There is only one solution to this: try to find out as much as possible as early as possible, and plan well.

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