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I am struggiling to manage, keep up with details, and follow up with remote directs.  I work from my car and travel 3 of 4 weeks a month. 

Backround: I have been recently promoted from a truck driver to a project manager overseeing 5 sites several hundred miles apart.  Each location has 1-5 employees and a total of 11 directs.  I have been in this position for almost two years, use outlook and do O3's with my boss and directs.  I need some guidence on a number of issues.

1. How can I best work from a remote enviroment without details slipping through the craks?

2. How can i better document conversations/decisions made/promised actions made on the phone while driving?

Any other ideas are welcome.

To the MT/CT community I want to say thanks in advance for your guidence and support.

 

Ken

Edwin's picture

I do not know your specific scenario, so this may not apply.  This is counter intuitive.  Take a bus or train.

The transportation time may take more.  The overall time may be less since you can WORK during your transport.  If nothing else, you will be less tired and more effective at the site when you get there. 

mmann's picture

Like Edwin says, this may not work in your situation.

Use a car service to do your driving for you.  They usually charge by the hour.

mkirk's picture

 If the car service doesn't work for you, maybe get a voice recorder and be really strict about stopping and actioning your voice notes - put the time in your diary with an alarm. Even if you're late. You'll get better at planning the time pretty quickly and better at deciding what's important and what isn't as well, I suggest.

Hard habit to start with but might help you feel more in control. And you're in a situation that sounds like you need plenty of self discipline and also some unusual habits. But the train would be better, I agree.

Best of luck.

naraa's picture

 If you want to document discussions, decisions made and keep track of commitments, who does what by when, you travel a lot and have remote directs I recommend a project planning and control software.  A good option for you might be wrike (www.wrike.com), its pretty intuitive, it gives you and your directs email updates of commitments,.... It costs 20 per month+10 for any number of viewers.  I actually use activecollab, another similar software.  The advantage for you for wrike might be that you don't need to worry about setting up the server.

another option, a free one, is to share documents with the commitmreents made by each on google drive and also set commitments on google calender.  You can weekly update the commitment document with the status, the document can be a table with the action, person responsible, due date, and status (like 50% completed, awaiting info...)

let me know if that helps and if it does and you want to know more I'll be glad to be able to help you further.

Nara

GlennR's picture

I spent 10+years on the road. I started out as a sucky manager, then became very effective. Here are some of the things I did to become successful. Your mileage may vary (Yea, I did say that:-)

My first four points address your first point. My fifth, your second.

  1. All things descend from your organization's business goals. Your performance goals should relate back to them. Once you have solid performance goals, determine what you will do each month and week to meet those. (See Drucker's "Effective Executive.") Determine how your directs will positively impact those goals.
  2. Plan your schedule six weeks to two months out. Yea, crises happen that can throw you off, but keeping that "event horizon" as far away as possible helps you stay proactive.
  3. Your primary purpose, as manager, is to make your people successful. It is not to build the projects yourself, but to provide them with the motivations and resources they need. Be their advocate with higher ups. Once I adopted this philosophy, it changed my "next actions" and made it easier to follow up. I knew what I had to do.
  4. Relationships Will Make The Difference! Managing remote workers is difficult, but possible. Create a plan to communicate with them on a regular basis, perhaps weekly or twice a month (beyond 03's). Be sure that the majority of these communications are positive as opposed to dinging them for screwing up. Use a combination of email, personal visits, telephone calls, Skype, if practical. I coded my calendar so that I didn't forget to reach out to someone. When I didn't have a quick reason for contacting them, I gave it some thought and created one. That usually  involved asking them for their feedback on something. They came to trust that I wasn't always calling them to chew them out or assign them more work. (They began taking my calls more often as opposed to letting them roll into vm.) These kinds of calls could be made while driving under most circumstances.
  5. Recognize that you cannot document actions or decisions made on the phone while driving. Don't even try. You know that multi-tasking is a myth. You cannot drive safely AND document decisions. You can minimize the risks by using hands free and your memory. For important calls, pull off the side of the road to a safe place and conduct your call with appropriate note-taking. Better 20 minutes late to your next appointment that dying on the road 30 years before your time.

Be careful out there,

 

Glenn

STEVENM's picture

It may not be realistic, you might want to look at whether or not there's a better way to do what you're doing.  Traveling to that many sites that frequently may be easily cut down just with Skype and a cheap set of webcams.  Not completely, and maybe that's not the case, but it can't hurt to look at options to tweak that.  Justifying the costs with that much gas being used should be easy at least.

Some people or cultures may hate the idea or see it as being lazy but you'd be hard pressed to convince me that lazy wouldn't be more effective in an extreme case.

TobyDiaz's picture

I think so you should contact  any car services center ,  there are many car services center  available at very  less rate and there services are also good ,  one of  the  car sevice center  i know is NJ limo , they offer you limo at very less rate and by taking this service your travelling will be more easy and luxurious .

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