17 Pointers for Managing Virtual Teams
Kevin L. McMahan shared his collection of valuable pointers for managing a virtual team, from his paper: "Effective Communication and Information Sharing in Virtual Teams"
- Engage the team in setting expectations about behavior and performance. Record the team's decisions and commitments to each other.
- Clearly define member responsibilities.
- Use rigorous project management disciplines to ensure clarity.
- Consider servant leadership exposure and training for potential team leaders.
- Determine, as a team, how conflict will be addressed and resolved.
- "Proactive behavior, empathetic task communication, positive tone, rotating leadership, task goal clarity, role division, time management, and frequent interaction with acknowledged and detailed responses to prior messages."
- Strive for a good faith effort in complying with the team norms and commitments, be honest in team negotiations, and don't take advantage of others or of the situation.
- Encourage social communication that accompanies task completion at the outset and be enthusiastic in e-mail dialog; look for predictable, substantial, and timely responses to members.
- Provide more formal communication than in traditional same time/same place teams.
- Keep communications in a shared database for use in new member orientation.
- Focus knowledge management attention on the tacit as well as the explicit knowledge. Document the tacit and embed the process into the organizational structure.
- Record and share the "context" when sharing information, preferably with a view toward future audiences.
- Match desired activities with performance evaluation factors; reward the desired performance.
- Build information sharing (knowledge management initiatives) into the organization's strategic plan.
- For a team crosscutting an organization's departmental boundaries, develop an information system to help translate terms in the subject disciplines.
- Encourage and provide feedback on all team activities; listen to it!
- Design and integrate tools that fit the team environment; don't force the team to adapt its behavior to the "latest" software.
reprinted here with permission.
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