As part of the Virtual Project Consulting blog series about “Working with Virtual Teams”, we discussed Collaboration and Communication tools, as well as techniques to achieve maximum efficiency from virtual teams. Beyond tools and techniques there are some critical success factors that determine the effectiveness of virtual teams.
- Technology and Infrastructure – Apart from the strong business justification that drives the implementation of virtual teams, it is the technical infrastructure that is a key enabler.Without this rapid growth and general availability of technology, the implementation of virtual teams would have been limited to large organizations only. The infrastructure availability, including network technology, drive the success of implementing and working with virtual teams.
- Security – Information and data security is the next most critical factor that effects virtual teams. Teams exchange a lot of data and information between them. Security measures, standards, processes including audits must be in place to ensure the security of the information that is exchanged. Protecting an organization’s intellectual property against security threats and data loss is vital.
- Management and Leadership Support – The mere implementation of virtual teams might not be enough or effective unless there is a strong management and leadership support for this. The executive team, Project steering committee or the project leadership team, must walk that extra mile to support and help the extended teams and stakeholders understand the justifications and benefits of implementing virtual teams. They must address any concerns arising due the implementation of virtual teams.
- Project Management – the ability of the project manager to lead and influence a team that he or she might not have met personally is critical. Hence having a seasoned and a experienced project manager is a critical success factor. As a project manger who is working with virtual teams he or she needs to be proactive and be able to build the relationship with each team member.
Tools and techniques are great , but knowing when and how to apply them effectively when working with virtual teams makes the difference. Every project or a program is unique and hence there is no one fixed method of applying the tools and techniques discussed.
Do you have experience working with virtual teams? What are the critical success factors based on your experience? Got feedback? Please comment and share it here…
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About the author: Sam Palani, (PMP), is a Senior IT Project / Program Manager and Technology Management consultant. He specializes in managing enterprise projects and technology initiatives. Sam blogs about his experiences in project management, technology and other things that help you be more effective on his blog www.aroundthechaos.com. You can also follow him on twitter: @samx18