Int virtual teamworking


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Collection of pieces of advice and tips for working in virtual teams,derived from two research projects, some literature and personal experience. creative commons 3.0 nonprofit, attribution, sharealike

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Int virtual teamworking

  1. 1. International Virtual Teamworking Mark Childs M16BE – Cont Issues & Res Methodology
  2. 2. Effective Interpersonal Communication Specific time and medium should be identified for regular communication Use multiple communication media Expectations of the speed and quality (open, honest and realistic) Understanding the recipient’s intrapersonal interpretation and perspective (e.g. personal beliefs and culture) M16BE – Cont Issues & Res Methodology
  3. 3. Issues in virtual teamworking• Timing of activities• Technologies• Training and testing• Trust• Techniques M16BE – Cont Issues & Res Methodology
  4. 4. Timing of activities• Remember that the other members of the group will have different demands on their time.• When establishing deadlines for work take this into consideration• Be open to negotiating deadlines, but ensure you can still meet submission dates at both ends M16BE – Cont Issues & Res Methodology
  5. 5. Technologies• Identify the technologies you’re all used to using. Technologies need to be able to: – Transfer a lot of information from one person to the others.  conveyance – Be able to bring separate ideas together  convergence – Form a collaborative working space  “coherence” – Make you accessible to each other (but not too accessible)  continuous presence M16BE – Cont Issues & Res Methodology
  6. 6. Conveyance• Email is OK. – difficult to archive and search – Can get overloaded – Make sure everyone has everyone’s address – Never hit “Reply All” without reading who’s in the recipient list.• Dropbox is better – BUT is very poor at version control M16BE – Cont Issues & Res Methodology
  7. 7. Convergence• Has to be synchronous – Chat (MSN, FB, Skype) – Videoconferencing (Skype, HP Virtual rooms) – Anything else? – Downside of audio/visual over text ... Keeping track of what is said  so write minutes M16BE – Cont Issues & Res Methodology
  8. 8. MeetingsGood Practice• Agree an agenda and circulate in advance.• Use meetings for discussion and not for conveying information.• Establish and agree a schedule of meetings.• Circulate minutes and agreed actions as soon as possible after the meeting.• Maintain list of tasks, assigned person and deadlines as shared document.
  9. 9. Coherence• Collaboratively creating documents – GoogleDocs – Wikis• Need to just “go for it” with revising each other’s stuff• Need cut-off points• Need someone to take responsibility for final tidying and formatting M16BE – Cont Issues & Res Methodology
  10. 10. Continuous presence• “Always on” technologies – Eg Skype – Can be a huge timesink – Useful when nearing end of project – Don’t rely on constant presence alone, also schedule meetings M16BE – Cont Issues & Res Methodology
  11. 11. Training and testing• Don’t assume everyone can use the technology in your group.• Do trial runs before your meeting – there’s nothing more irritating than waiting for the one person who doesn’t know what to do before you start your meeting.• USE HEADPHONES or you will get echo and annoy people (internal mic usually better than external) M16BE – Cont Issues & Res Methodology
  12. 12. Group questions• Which technologies do you think you might use?• What issues do you think there might be with using them?• Do you have any solutions to overcome these problems?• What help do you think you will need? M16BE – Cont Issues & Res Methodology
  13. 13. Trust• Way to form trust – Repeatedly fulfilling tasks• More difficult to build, easier to lose in teamwork – Share all vital information in one place – Include other end in all decision-making – Create lists of who does what AND BY WHEN, updated regularly in shared space – Self-disclosure  introductory postings M16BE – Cont Issues & Res Methodology
  14. 14. Techniques to build rapport• Chat – Stand in for facial / body language – Emoticons. Standardised in west.• Videoconferencing: – keep to one person per machine if possible, avoids side discussions. – If laggy, pause to give time for response – Give everyone chance to talk before moving on M16BE – Cont Issues & Res Methodology
  15. 15. Group questions• What are your experiences of working in teams, good and bad?• How could these have been sorted?• What breakdowns can occur when communicating at a distance?• How could these be avoided?
  16. 16. Communication strategy• Agree and commit to a communication strategy within your group• Don’t drift, don’t use too many platforms• Establish your technologies and stick to them OR if you change tell everyone clearly what the new ones are• If side-discussions happen don’t make decisions in them, bring them back to group• Biggest undermining of trust is caused by leaving people out of decision-making M16BE – Cont Issues & Res Methodology
  17. 17. Final task• Plan which technologies you will consider using and for which purpose.• Identify where resources and skills may need to be addressed.• Work out a timeline for when decisions will need to be made, and when meetings will occur. M16BE – Cont Issues & Res Methodology
  18. 18. AcknowledgmentsDeveloped from research conducted in:• “Managing Research Projects” – Funder: ESRC. – PI: Marie Garnett, University of Warwick• “Learning to create a better built environment” – Funder: HP Catalyst – PI: Robby Soetanto, Coventry University M16BE – Cont Issues & Res Methodology
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