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MANAGING VIRTUAL PROJECT TEAMS

Posted by Yael Zofi on Jul 2nd, 2015

What happens when a key point of contact or link within your virtual team quits? Managing virtual project teams in stressful times is comparatively more challenging than leading an onsite team. Being geographically scattered means there is no face time to informally catch up and build relationships. Cultural differences amongst the virtual team members could add to the chaos. The latest AIM Strategies® eNews discusses ways and means to REFRESH and RECHARGE your virtual team.
 

Managing virtual project teams is essential in the following scenarios:

  • SITUATION: Perhaps a replacement to the key virtual team member (who just quit) is yet to be found or has just been appointed but is a lateral hire and completely unfamiliar with the existing Team Code . How does the change in the virtual team composition impact existing Context Communication roles and responsibilities?
    SUGGESTION: Besides assigning a ‘buddy’ to the new team members, other virtual team members can regularly check-in to bring him up to speed. Remember that out of sight should not lead to out of mind. If roles and responsibilities are changing, all virtual team members need to be updated regarding business shifts and changes and not just the individuals involved.
  • SITUATION: A few virtual team members may have had no client contact throughout the process. Maybe it’s because the client changed previous timelines and several virtual team members had little collaboration. It could be that the client’s position or priorities have shifted or the client has new team members in place that wants different deliverables. How do you keep the client updated and your team members engaged and connected?
    SUGGESTION: Broadcast (either a newsletter or a video) regular updates about the progress of the project frequently to all team members. Acknowledge the contributions of otherwise Silent Riders. Consider setting a virtual meeting to take a status check before moving forward and utilize technology mediums such as online chat rooms for communicating between sub teams.
  • SITUATION: How can an organization implement new technologies or business policies across a globally dispersed workforce?
    SUGGESTION: Undertake virtual team training by way of videos. Set up a transition portal page with FAQs and possibly a helpline to assist in the implementation.
  • SITUATION: Sometimes changes may not be as monumental. The virtual team project could be a long series of implementation steps, and virtual team members may be in their own areas working along a predetermined path. How do you make certain that the team members do not get mired in their own individual work products and lose sight of the ultimate goal?
    SUGGESTION: At periodic intervals, virtual team members should be invited to present about their contributions in virtual video conferences and via telecommunication forums.
  • SITUATION: At the end of a project how do you disband on a good note? How do you ensure that lessons learned from ‘departing members’ are passed on?
    SUGGESTION: It is important to record and discuss the insights in a virtual team meeting and then record it in an accessible place for the next virtual team project.

 
During key changes or even just along the way, the virtual team manager should take stock of the situation and make sure that all the virtual project team members are on the same page, get the new big picture, understand their role and maintain cohesiveness. Not taking the time to refuel your virtual teams may lead to entrenchment of existing disagreements and an adverse impact on the output of the team. While it is easy to talk about collaboration and more effective virtual teams, it is crucial to think about and engage in practical virtual team building strategies from time to time.
 
The latest AIM Strategies® eNews discusses ways to refresh your virtual team. Check it out!

Seven Tips for Managing Virtual Teams and Coaching Remote Employees
 
Managing virtual teams is challenging, especially when they report to a local manager (in India) and a virtual manager (you in SF). This ‘Identity Conflict’ is what I refer to in my latest book, A Manager’s Guide to Virtual Teams, as a conflict of ‘belonging’.  Many times there are different perspectives around multiple priorities and deadlines, leaving the person confused […] Continue Reading…

Virtual Teams Focus on Teamwork

Posted by Yael Zofi on Sep 4th, 2014

With constant changes occurring in the global business environment and economy, getting things done in teams is more important than ever. Given all the downsizing and organizational changes, much more is done virtually in teams. Existing teams have been reconfigured, and employees are working with people they hadn’t worked with before. There appears to be greater recognition that the ability to pull teams together and facilitate collaboration is more […] Continue Reading…

Mid-life Management Crisis – Part II: The Assessment

Posted by AIM Strategies® Team on Jul 22nd, 2014

In overseeing the well-being of others we often forget to check-in with ourselves. This is also true of managers. If you are an avid reader of this blog, you recently learned about a career life event we call the 20/20s. If not, click here to read our last post before continuing with this second half.
 

The manager in this scenario experienced a moment of doubt before realizing the value they […] Continue Reading…

When did it happen? You had fresh ideas, a new suit, and a promising future. Then one day you woke up to a recollection of a thought, a thousand responsibilities, and a promising diet plan. Your staff speaks CSS, PHP, Ruby, XML, and a few hundred more trendy abbreviations you aren’t quite sure are related to the internet, a reality star, or an expletive; but you do know it […] Continue Reading…

Sticky: Virtual Team Comic Relief: Look At Me, I’m Tworking!!!

Posted by AIM Strategies® Team on Apr 4th, 2014

“Exactly when did the crazy cat lady drop off this box of kittens to manage?” you ask yourself after another epic fail to reach your virtual team. Sure you handpicked them, sure you love their energy, and sure you benefit from your global footprint, but are you asking too much for a little communication now and then? Just as you are about to take extreme measures, Michael, your friend […] Continue Reading…

Sticky: Virtual Team Comic Relief: Just In Time For Cocktails – Part 2

Posted by AIM Strategies® Team on Mar 29th, 2014

You may recall our recent post describing a scenario not uncommon to most teams – multiple complications with an added network failure to liven things up. If you didn’t get a chance, you can read it here, Virtual Team Comic Relief: Just In Time For Cocktails, before continuing with Part 2 below. (We don’t want to spoil the story for you.)
 
So the question posed in Part 1 was “What […] Continue Reading…

Workplace Trends: Green, Green, My Staff Is Green

Posted by AIM Strategies® Team on Mar 26th, 2014

Green Staff – Now that could mean a lot of things, right?  Maybe they just fell off a turnip truck, maybe they are envious of your new office furniture…or maybe, just maybe…they are among the 2.9 million US telecommuters who save 390 million gallons of gas and prevent the release of 3.6 million tons of greenhouse gas yearly according to Telework Research Network (TRN).
 
Telecommuting is increasing for many reasons. […] Continue Reading…

Sticky: Virtual Team Comic Relief: Just In Time For Cocktails

Posted by AIM Strategies® Team on Mar 14th, 2014

t’s 12 noon, the in-person Chicago meeting you led just ended; the client wants answers; John is heading home from the UK office; Seiko in Japan is asleep; you’re expected in Atlanta for dinner with your spouse and your spouse’s boss; and the network just went down.  These are real-world issues for the 21st century executive.  What do you do next?  You’ve built your team’s success around work/life balance […] Continue Reading…

Sticky: 4 Tips For Finding The Best Coach For You

Posted by Yael Zofi on Mar 12th, 2014

Winter comes and goes, but a quality executive coach weathers all seasons.
 
We just released the latest edition of our signature AIM® Newsletter featuring a piece on choosing an executive coach. Many of you have shared that it is not easy to find a person who ‘gets you’ from a business perspective, understands your capabilities, and has your interest in mind when offering advice. In this eNews segment, I provide […] Continue Reading…

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