Best practices in managing communication for Virtual Teams
Kim Myers MGT 607
Virtual team-geographically distributed and may rarely meet. Often limited existence. (Berry, 2011) What are some of the challenges? ◦ Cultural differences, language barriers, social isolation, diverse work schedules (Berry, 2011) ◦ Understanding norms and expectations,mission and deliverables (Dewar, 2011) Communication management is the key to success of virtual teams. (Weimann, 2010)
Hold a F2F Use a Team Have a Kickoff Charter to Communication Meeting establish norms Plan Have a Match ICT to Knowledge Needs Repository
Essential needs: How it helps: Introduce members to Team members each other become more real to Develop trust through each other team building Learn about team exercises mates’ cultures Goals and expectations Set up procedures to Verify common skills deal with future and software problemsNunamaker, et al. (2009) Oshri, et al. (2008)
Document that explains: Team’s mission and problem to be solved Individual’s roles and expectation Team decision making process Combs & Peacocke (2007)
Example of Team Norms and Expectations in a Team Charter Category Norms Keeping in Touch with Team members should check in daily at the Discussion Board in the Other Team Members Knowledge Repository Weekly progress meetings are held by Skype. Decision making meetings will use WebEx as needed. Agendas are posted in advance. All members Meeting Management should attend, unless excused. Notes will be posted within 24 hours. Decisions require 70 % quorum Carried on simple majority Decision Making and Problem Solving All parties have opportunity to be heard Resolve as soon as possible Use synchronous (i.e. chat, Skype, video conference) rather than email Conflict Management Involve team leader if unable to resolve Be clear on assignment Working Together to Understand due dates Produce or Review Documents Post documents to Knowledge Repository Form Adapted from: Duarte, D. L., & Snyder, N. T. (2006). Mastering Virtual Teams; Strategies, Tools, and Techniques That Succeed. San Franciso: Jossey-Bass.
Defines: What type of information to share with which stakeholders. How the information is gathered and distributed How often should it be shared Why? Keeping stakeholders informed helps with buy-in, and helps keep problems in check(Next slide is part of a Communication Plan I did for a Project Team where I work)
•Milestone Reports •Download reports•When? As needed •When? •Monthly Contributors College Administration Faculty, staff, students Project Library Management Administration Team•Deliverables •Action items•Status Reports •All Issues•When- as happens •All Updates
Good for Kickoff –Same Time/Same F2F Meeting getting the teamPlace acquainted Good for teamSame Time/Different Video Conference, decision making andPlace Chat, Text working together Discussion Boards,Different Time/Same Knowledge Repository Permanent Archive,Place Agendas and Notes GroupDifferent Email CorrespondenceTime/Different Place Webinars (email) Training (Webinars) (Malafsky, 2004)
Types of Repositories Uses for the Repository: External Knowledge Archive Company (articles from experts) documents Internal Knowledge Post articles for (company research) Reference Informal Knowledge As discussion board (discussion boards)(Davenport, et al. 1998) (Malhotra, et al., 2007)
Virtual teams are important to business successThey face many challenges due to their distributed locations, and lack of face to face timeGood communication practices can help overcome challengesThese practices can be applied in academic (online class) setting as well as in the business environment
Berry, G. R. (2011). Enhancing Effectiveness on Virtual Teams. Journal of Business Communication , 186-206. Combs, W., & Peacocke, S. (2007). Leading Virtual Teams. Fundamentals , 27-28. Davenport, T. H., De Long, D. W., & Beers, M. C. (1998). Successful Knowledge Management Projects. Sloan Management Review , 43-57. Dewar, T. (2006). Virtual teams—Virtually impossible? Performance Improvement , 22-25.Duarte, D. L., & Snyder, N. T. (2006). Mastering Virtual Teams; Strategies, Tools, andTechniques That Succeed. San Franciso: Jossey-Bass. Malafsky, G. P. (2004). Technology for Acquiring and Sharing Knowledge Assets. In Handbook on Knowledge Management 2: Knowledge Directions (pp. 85-107). Springer Science & Business Media B.V. / Books. Malhotra, A., Majchrzak, A., & Rosen, B. (2007). Leading Virtual Teams. Academy of Management Perspectives , 60-70. Nunamaker Jr., J. F., Reinig, B. A., & Briggs, R. O. (2009). Principles for Effective Virtual Teamwork. Communications Of The ACM , 113-117. Oshri, I., Kotlarsky, J., & Willcocks, L. (2008). Building Critical Social Ties for Global Collaborative Teamwork. Communications Of The ACM , 76-81. Weimann, P. H. (2010). ―Changing the Communication Culture of Distributed Teams in a World Where Communication is Neither Perfect nor Complete. The Electronic Journal Information Systems Evaluation , 187-196.