Project managers are literally going the distance, leaving the office behind to run projects from the corner coffee shop or sometimes even the middle of the desert. With smartphones and laptops in tow, project managers can see the world (even if it is just a whirlwind tour of air- ports, hotels and conference rooms). This modern way of working “encour- ages flexibility, increases our emotional intelligence and our ability to embrace change,” says Petra Goltz, PMP, a senior
project manager at SITA, an air transport communications and IT solutions
provider in Rome, Italy.
Yet even in a hyper-connected
world, the road warrior lifestyle isn’t for
“Working alone from a hotel room
or other location can affect my creativity
as a project manager,” she admits.
To stay sharp and motivated, Ms.
Goltz depends on the support of her
colleagues and friends, who might be
far, far away.
Senior management must do its part to
support mobile project managers—
even if an error has been made.
“The last thing you want is someone
to say you’ve made a poor decision,”
says Peter Lunio, associate director at
Baker Tilly Management Consultancy,
Bristol, England. “That undermines
the project manager’s confidence and
raises questions as to why the company
ON YOUR OWN
Working from a virtual office can
make it difficult to establish any
sort of personal connection.
“Moving around this much
means sometimes it takes a while
to cultivate friendships. On the
other hand, the friendships you do
cultivate are very strong,” says
Petra Goltz, PMP, SITA, Rome,
Italy. “I’m lucky in that I really like
the work. It can be stressful and
hectic, but it’s what I enjoy.”
sent that manager on this job in the
To avoid such unpleasantness,
ground rules should be in place right
from the start.
“The project manager has to know
how far he or she can go in making a
decision,” he explains.
Mr. Lunio remembers a meeting for a
past project when he had to decide
whether to rent a warehouse in Japan.
Knowing his boss was out of touch on
the other side of the world, Mr. Lunio
made sure he went into the meeting
knowing precisely what he could agree to.
Yet even project and program managers who head into the office every day
know authority doesn’t always come
with the title. Power can become even
“Working alone from a hotel room or other location can
affect my creativity as a project
manager.” —Petra Goltz, PMP, SITA, Rome, Italy