Remote work has been around for a long time but has become the new norm after the onset of the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic in 2020. It is here to stay because more and more employees are finding it convenient and productive, and their employers are finding it cost-effective.
A remote product manager’s role differs from company to company as different companies make different products that fulfill different needs. However, his responsibilities are the same as those of an onsite product manager.
Product management is all about collaboration. It is a hard job, even more so when it is remote. However, efficient remote product management is possible with the right communication skills and good juggling skills:
Frequent In-Person Communication
Communication is what binds employees together, irrespective of whether they work remotely or onsite. Working remotely does not mean that you cannot communicate in person with your employees at all. Meeting up with team members regularly forms an important part of any remote job. In-person meetings continue to be an effective way for coworkers to communicate. You can meet up with your teams for weekly/monthly planning meetings or for review meetings to make sure that they are on track with their work.
Regular Online Team Meetings
The pandemic has given rise to many new online meeting platforms, which you can leverage to connect with your teams. Remote product managers must be tech-savvy, and must also know how to use online networking channels carefully to communicate well. You should know when to use video and text messages. It is easy to send text messages but they can be misinterpreted. Also, sending multiple messages is time-consuming and important messages can get lost in long threads. Messages should be used to share short and quick updates, and video/audio calls for an entire team to discuss important and urgent matters with each other.
Periodic One-On-One Calls
A good product manager constantly motivates his team members. Working in an office and seeing team members regularly makes it easy to track the progress of the tasks allocated to different teams, which is not possible while managing teams remotely. One-on-one meetings are a great way to check in on your team members regularly. They allow you to focus personal attention on every employee, gather their feedback, make them feel valued, identify their issues and resolve them, and monitor their progress.
As a product manager, you will spend a major amount of your time interacting with your teams, giving them instructions on conceptualizing, designing, and marketing a product. The quick completion of your teams’ tasks will depend on how quickly you can guide them. Your teams will be awaiting your response on the next steps and you need to be available to respond to them immediately at any time.
Work-Life Balance Maintenance
Remote work reduces office interruptions but it also blurs boundaries between work and personal lives. Remote and onsite product managers face a lot of interruptions from the multiple teams they manage at work, and remote product managers also end up having personal interruptions like errands and personal calls/texts to attend to. It is important for remote product managers to take their usual office breaks while working from home and have a separate space for work that is free of distractions.