Strategies for Virtual Team Building – Part 1

Hello, this series of short videos is based on the keynote presentation to the PMI Serbia Project Society Conference, Belgrade 2015. It’s broken into five sections each of them corresponding to one video and as presenter I’m a project consultant who in fact have been involved in projects for effectively my entire career.

Project teams don’t usually share a single location but they operate virtually, at least in part. The more widespread the team members are, the greater the cultural and environmental diversity. This means that virtual team building is very challenging and the strategies which were used a generation ago need to be reviewed and developed so in this presentation we examine some strategies based on experience of working in this environment.

Let’s start with collocated teams, that’s teams where everybody is in the same place. This is required in some situations, for example military or emergency services and when people have to work very focused together then they can work in one place. However that’s not always possible because the skills or the resources e.g. the technical resources may be scattered and indeed these days they might be global. These days a lot of teams are increasingly dispersed and not only are they virtual but they are international and global so all of those features make them a little bit harder to work with.

Now there are benefits of working on this basis; one of them is a choice of staff. For example you may want people with a different language for a help desk during your night but it might be during the day of another person. When people are working virtually you don’t have to provide them with a desk with some employers may take responsibility for the cost of the access.

People don’t need to travel, for example visas and getting visas and traveling and so on can take a lot of effort and this can be avoided by involving people on a virtual basis and if people are ready they can even start there and then.

People who work on their own tend to be very committed. This has been shown by lots of studies and may be surprising – you would think if people were left to work on their own they would drop out but once they got involved in the work then the results can indeed be better than if they work together in one place. Before moving on to virtual team building itself it’s a good idea to just remind ourselves how far the technology has come.

For example there is a speedy shop available from the railways in Switzerland where people can choose their groceries through their mobile phone and then it’s placed in a locker and when they turn up, they show a bar code on their phone and the locker opens. The goods have already been paid for through their card.

This has been introduced on a pilot basis without any great training of the general population – people just know how to do it. So if you wish to discuss any of your own project issues with me please to connect through all the usual methods, either through our website at, an email, phone call or connecting via LinkedIn.

I look forward to hearing from you, thank you.

Dr. Deasún Ó Conchúir (pronounce) is a Collaboration Consultant at Scatterwork, which supports Project Solutions for Virtual Teams.


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