Having just completed a massive website commissioning and contract management project I thought I would just share what I learnt about remote collaboration.
This project involved four groups of people working at four locations:
- The client - in Bristol
- Me - in lovely Cornwall
- Contractor number one - in London
- Contractor number two - in Wales
There was no way we could all be meeting up every time we needed to move the project along so, although we had a couple of face-to-face meetings at the kick-off, everything else was done remotely.
And, I don't think I'm exaggerating, Skype saved this project!
It alerted me to a moment early on when things looked to be going seriously wrong: I saw in one contractor's facial expression that he had totally disengaged from the project. I could not have done that on the phone or by email. Spotting this and taking steps to fix it quickly (unfortunately the upshot was that the contractor left the project) saved both time and money for the client.
It showed me when one contractor was having concerns about the other one: again through facial expression.
And I could tell when the client was truly happy, or not!
As I was juggling relationships between them all, I honestly believe it would have been impossible without the ability to see the other people.
Ultimately it has meant that - despite issues along the way - the project has been delivered successfully and relationships have been built based on mutual trust and respect.
Somebody somewhere said that 90 percent of communication is non-verbal. They couldn't be more right and, when it comes to a project worth tens of thousands, it really can make a difference to the bottom line.
Read more about the project and read what the other people said about it.