Virtual teams are becoming a front running asset to project managers because they can connect a plethora of people from around the globe. Bruce Harpham, writing at Project Management Hacks, uncovers the chief problems facing a virtual team and how to effectively overcome these adverse obstacles.
There are several key factors that contribute to why virtual teams face such difficulty. The top challenges are poor communication, lack of access to expertise, and ineffective management. When working from remote locations, it is vital that the group be led by an efficient manager and that all expectations are clarified. Equally important is to create a team that is committed to the project and can produce results. With an ever-growing population of telecommuting workers, who studies have shown are more productive, it is imperative that these problems are resolved.
Preventing failure is a far easier approach than to try to address a recurring problem. The first essential step in prevention is to fully understand where the team is starting out; some members may have more expertise and be better equipped to handle telecommuting. Acquire some techniques or even available tools to help integrate the novice members into this environment, as well as keep the professionals engaged. Some of these available tools include Skype, Google Hangouts, Google Docs, and Slack (a messaging platform).
A leader who tries out the technology before they assign projects to their team will earn better merit, so test the environment before implementing it. There are three important steps to testing: set up the work space, test applications, and test technical support. How the office is set up establishes how operational the work will be. Prevention, again, is key. Therefore, test applications and discover bugs before operations commence, in addition to establishing that technical support will be helpful and available.
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