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Easy & EffectiveRemote Collaboration a presentation by Andrew Filev, Subscribe to theProject Management 2.0 blog for more
Geography doesn’t matter anymore, teams are no longer co-located Modern web and mobile technologies allow business users to come together on teams that can be spread across several cities, countries and time zones. More and more companies collaborate as the “human cloud” Virtual teams” are becoming more popular.
“Virtual Team” is a real team that uses technology for working together to achieve a common goal Virtual Teams are project or task focused groups, that unite workers from the same company or from several different organizations (e.g. contractors and clients). Members can be the same (like in an established sales team) or change on a regular basis (project teams).
Virtual Teams:Benefits vs. Challenges Low Costs Company Works 24/7 Minimal Infrastructure Wider outreach Talent & Diversity Leadership Culture differences Time zones Isolation Read on how to overcome these challenges & make your remote collaboration easy &effective.
1. Establish ground rules Distributed team members still need to follow a common & acceptable set of rules. These can include things like working hours, lunch times, meeting schedules and ways in which meetings are conducted (in-person, via the Web or via phone). It’s also important to define communication turnaround times.
2. Be extra diligent inworkload management To avoid any duplicate efforts, be very accurate in assigning tasks to your team members. If the task is a new and non-typical one, make sure the assignee has a clear understanding of the goals and what output is expected upon completion. Ensure that tasks are completed on time. Break tasks into shorter assignments for faster results.
3. Communicate, communicate, communicate Be extra proactive in your communications to make sure everyone understands what is expected. Meet in person, whenever possible. Stay connected online all the time. Clear feedback is crucial.
4. Respect the difference in time zones & culture Try to adjust the meeting times to give everyone a chance to have a life outside of work. Appreciate the differences in how people work and how they behave, this includes paying attention to national public holidays schedules and the ways these holidays are celebrated by your team members.
5. Use the right technology Now the main question that you may ask is “how do I choose the right technology?” Should you pick only one solution or create a combination of Web 2.0 apps? The answer is: “It’s up to you and your team”. All projects are unique by definition, so are all project teams, so there’s no universal Web 2.0 solution that anyone can use.
Blogs & wikis: facilitate idea-sharing & feedback, boost accumulation of knowledge Internal blogs allow team members who otherwise would not have been aware of or invited to participate in a discussion to contribute their expertise and ideas. Wikis allow you to plan meeting agendas, brainstorm on presentations, collect project related documentation & keep it up-to-date, etc.
Microblogging: ask questions, share links & files, announce issues, get tips &help from peers immediately
Online document collaboration:keep data easily accessible Team members can work on the same document online in real time simultaneously. Data is online and accessible from any computer.
Social Project Management2.0:team can help you with planning Core benefits: better communications full insight into your projects less routine work for you
Better communications: emailintegration Email is a limited means of collaboration, but it’s ubiquitous and convenient. Best collaborative PM2.0 tools leverage this and allow you to create tasks, update schedules, post comments and request status updates directly from your email inbox.
Better communications: built-in tools wiki microblogging social network style profiles Collaborative Project Management Software activity streams discussions blog document sharing Some of PM 2.0 tools also feature other solutions facilitating communications, so you have all your project data in one online collaborative space.
Project Management 2.0 solutions bring full insight into your projects Collaborative project management software automatically merges disconnected to-dos, files, emails, plans & schedules into a neatly organized master plan.
Collaboration apps for smartphones Stay connected to your team and projects anytime, anywhere. Assign tasks on the go. Get instant updates from your team even, if you’re not in the office. Have 24/7 insight into your virtual team’s collaboration at hand.
Web-based time-tracking: know where your time is going Allow your team members to mark the time they spend on tasks or whole projects and know how your projects are progressing in real time. It will allow you to build better plans and adjust you current schedules while it’s not too late.
Video chats, web calls, desktop sharing, screen casts: hear & see your distributed team Apps like Google Chat, Skype, GoToMeeting, WebEx, Jing, etc. allow you to become closer to your distributed team members, customers & partners without spending big $ on business trips & phone calls.
Social networking: be friends with your team Connect with your team members on social networks to find out more about their personality and interests. Stimulate connections within your team, to create more social bonds.
Yes, it may take some effort, but theresults will be rewarding Agility Productivity Competitiveness
Andrew Filev author of the Project Management 2.0 blog http://www.wrike.com/projectmanagement CEO at Wrike, Inc. www.wrike.com