How to make your virtual team work – part 5

This is the last of the series of videos based on the keynote presentation to the PMI Serbia Chapter Project Society Conference in Belgrade, September 2015. It is the video where we look at strategies for virtual team building.

One of them is to start with a big bang,in other words just create a team with people in different places and then try and bring them together. A second one is to establish a core team; a small number of people that may be able to do some of the work and then once they’ve got a basis for working together to invite other people into it. And the third one is to evolve an existing organization and consciously make it more virtual.In my view the third of those is definitely easier than the first.

However there may be reasons for doing this one: Skills may be available in different places, it may be an issue of time zones,it might be languages to support a help desk. There may be other issues: maybe one country is particularly skilled in a particular type of service or competence, and it may not be workable just to say everybody must be in one place. But it’s definitely a challenge because the people don’t know each other and individuals are programmed culturally in different ways. Maybe a slower but surer way of doing it is to establish a core team to do some of the work and then to build up the ground rules and the team spirit with this group.When that is moving properly then you can add other people to the team bit by bit. I mentioned before that it may make sense to work with teams instead of individuals because the various nodes of the network will then be in themselves more stable. For example, anybody is going to go on holiday or be ill from time to time and so forth and if there is a team in each location it is easier to address these issues.

Another way of doing it is to take an existing organization and consciously turn it into a virtual team or certainly have much more virtual activity. One way of doing this is to bring people’s attention to the ground rules which were probably written in an environment where they were co-located so actually developing and revising the ground rules in itself is a team building activity to help people move in the right direction. This can be reinforced by using live meetings wherever possible, maybe piggybacking on other events that are happening within the organization where people would be meeting in any case, but certainly it can work much more easily if people actually have the opportunity to meet each other from time to time.

So that’s the last of the videos. Thanks very much your interest and if you want to follow through on any of these, please be sure to connect with me on LinkedIn or through any of the other ways. Thanks very much.

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

Email: deasun@scatterwork.com

Tel: +41 79 692 4735 Talk to me

LinkedIn: Connect with me

Please share with colleagues, who also get 10% off their first booking.

Time zone Tips for Long Distance Business Relationships

This video from Scatterwork is about time zone tips for long distance business relationships. There are many complicating factors: time zones and also cultures which we cover in a separate video.

Regarding time zones, one of the things that we can do is to set Ground Rules. For example, if we’re in Europe and we have colleagues in Asia and we have meetings in the middle of our day, it will be their evening, maybe when they are trying to go home at the end of the day. It makes sense to agree what each other’s time limits are. The same applies if you’re in the Americas and you’re dealing with Europe.

So work out what the windows of overlap are which are acceptable to all the parties and stick to them.

Another tip is to know each other’s schedules, for example people have different starting and finishing times depending where they are and the local habits.

One example is that in Spain lunch doesn’t usually start until three in the afternoon. The further north you go in Europe, the earlier it is. In Norway for example you might get your lunch at 11 o’clock and they’re actually in the same time zone. So so if we know each other’s schedules it makes it easier to match people’s comfort.

Another thing we can do is minimize the need for time overlap. If we have to share data maybe we could do this through a shared document or a wiki, so that we don’t have to be online at the same time. That means that the time that we are on line is used for things that can only be done face-to-face or at least on online together.

And that brings us to the fourth tip: get the best out of every meeting. When we have meetings online, let’s not waste them by turning up late, microphones that don’t work, chat that’s off topic and so on. It really is hard for people to get time to work together so probably time together should be respected.

So if you want to discuss these or any of your own project issues, please connect with me. I look forward to talking to you.

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

Email: deasun@scatterwork.com

Tel: +41 79 692 4735 Talk to me

LinkedIn: Connect with me

Please share with colleagues, who also get 10% off their first booking.

Scatterwork Guest: How Visual Thinking Can Improve Team Trust

Hi I’m Howard Esbin and I’m a co-creator of a creative trust game for virtual teams called Prelude.

Prelude is a facilitated game for virtual teams that accelerates trust and improves collaboration prior to a new project, training program or educational course. Basically, it improves visual thinking.

The features of the game: In one system there are five human development tools.

-There’s a component for character assessment.
-There’s a component for EQ development or social-emotional skill development, soft skills is another term for it.
-A collaborative team building component.
-A diversity training component and
-a creative training component, all in this one system.

And underpinning the game system and design are twenty virtual team best practices that we’ve identified through original research.

The game process is a facilitated series of activity modules as you see illustrated.

There are four modules in total and the purpose of the process is to take team members from an I-centric perspective to a sense of “we as a team, as a whole” with an awareness of how each member thinks and communicates distinctively and an awareness of how the team as a whole, through this creative activity can best draw upon their shared diverse skill sets.

The benefits are very simple:

There’s strengthened soft skills for that virtual team, improved communication,a better appreciation of diverse assets, an enhanced positive team mental model of itself, more effective collaboration and as a consequence increased well-being.

Thank you very much.

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

Email: deasun@scatterwork.com

Tel: +41 79 692 4735 Talk to me

LinkedIn: Connect with me

Please share with colleagues, who also get 10% off their first booking.