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Sensible Project Manager Hangout 9

Sensible Project Manager Hangout 9

How to Mange Virtual Teams

“How to Manage Virtual Teams” was the topic for the 9th hangout of the Sensible Project Manager Hangout Community. In this community of project managers and others who enjoy discussing project management topics, we have a weekly hangout which is hosted via Google+ Hangout. These hangouts are held each Friday at 9:00am pacific time. Up to 10 people can join the hangout and those not making it to the hangout can view the conversation via Hangouts “On-Air”.

During the hangout we discussed our thoughts about how to manage virtual or distributed teams. This week we partnered with #PMChat on the Twitter platform and shared the topic in both the #PMHangout as well as on #PMChat.

I would like to thank all of those who joined the hangout:

  • Alan Dayley
  • Dale Richards
  • Carson Pierce
  • Deanne Earle
  • Ivan Rivera
  • Stephen Glover
  • Robert Kelly

We started the hangout by discussing the benefits of virtual teams.  Here are some of the points that were discussed.

  • Team members can work from home.
  • Improved productivity for team members.
  • Potentially reducing commute time for team members.
  • Leverage talent from all over the world and not requiring the team to relocate to a central location.
  • Leverage all 24 hours of the day as a result of having team members working in different time zones. Work can follow the sun.

Next we discussed some of the challenges that occur when you have a distributed team.

  • Often team members speak different languages. This requires most teams to speak a common language, which is often English.
  • Team members have to consider local localisms, terms, acronyms, metaphors, etc. that might not translate correctly to other team members.
  • Communication between team members is also challenging because often there is no face to face discussions which eliminates the benefits of non-verbal communications.
  • There are challenges with trying to get a distributed team to work as a team.

Finally, we discussed how we can facilitate effective virtual teams.

  • Teams can shift their work schedules to better align with other time zones.
  • To facilitate team work, get the team together physically at the beginning of the project.
  • Establish a time of the day where a conference call or Google Hangout is held each day so that the team can have open communication.
  • Exchange pictures of each team member, improving communications between team members.
  • Establish methods for team members to building a feeling of team even virtual social meet-ups.
  • Make effective and efficient team meetings.
  • Use collaboration tools to increase communication such as

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