Following on from the previous post about useful tools for working with virtual teams, this post is about useful techniques to make working with virtual teams more efficient.
The techniques for working with virtual teams are less tangible than the tools. Now, let’s look at some techniques that are useful when working with virtual teams.
Techniques for working with virtual teams
Techniques are the application of knowledge, tools and procedures that enable and achieve maximum efficiency from virtual teams.
- Competencies and skill – As with any other team the structure of the virtual team should factor in competency and skills that are required to accomplish the project. Competencies and skill should be balanced to ensure that there is no polarization.
- Feedback – Since the team seldom meets face to face, there is a possibility that some of the team members become passive with respect to feedback. As a project manager working with virtual teams it is important to encourage and provide timely feedback. Feedback also helps uncover hidden risks and opportunities of improvement. Feedback should always have a follow-up action plan associated with it.
- Roles and responsibility clarification – Lack of clarity in roles and responsibilities can creep up very quickly in a virtual team environment. Establishing ownership and accountability is critical to avoid conflict and ensure the team’s effectiveness. Implementing a project responsibility assignment matrix and publishing it can help mitigate this risk.
- Multicultural sensitivity – Virtual teams are usually spread across geographies. Team members may come from diverse social and cultural backgrounds. In such cases it is helpful to understand these uniqueness and values beforehand and make the teams aware of it to avoid potential disasters. Casual socialization meetings like during a project kick-off are excellent times to initiate such awareness.
Do you have experience working with virtual teams? What are the tools and techniques that you have found most effective? Got feedback? Please comment and share it here…
The next post on “Working with virtual teams” will focus on the critical success factors that determine the effectiveness of virtual teams.
Please subscribe to the RSS feed of Virtual Project Consulting not to miss future posts.
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