How can your team get more done?
I am going to give you four tips. The first of these is responsibility, that is responsibility not only for doing the work but for making sure that it is correct. In the old days, bosses used to give out work and then come back to check it.
That has several disadvantages including that it’s dispiriting and it also causes delays, because you have to wait for the boss to come and then the boss effectively becomes a roadblock so the work gets slowed down. So that is not a very good idea.
The second tip is to have clearly defined small tasks. In a virtual team, it seems to work better when the tasks are much smaller than they would be if you are working in the same place. In the same place (“colocation”) you can check as you go along but in the virtual world, somebody starts a task and might get interrupted and then come back to it and so forth. So it seems to work better that the work is broken down into smaller tasks than otherwise.
The third thing, of course, is competence and part of competence is suitable training. People come into the work, they have the background, they know the company and so on, but it may be that what you are doing is new and they need some introduction to what it is; some background information. So competence and training.
The fourth one is standardized tools Just think of how difficult it is if two or three different people in the team use different applications for something as simple as setting up the time of a meeting. That can waste a lot of time: copying and pasting, importing calendar events and so on. So it does make sense to work out a minimum set of standardized tools.
Think of it like the telephone, which just works. It should be the same when you’re working in a virtual team.
So there you have the four tips: responsibility, defined tasks, competence & training and standardized tools.
Dr. Deasún Ó Conchúir (pronounce) is a Collaboration Consultant at Scatterwork, which supports Project Solutions for Virtual Teams.
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