Starting and Maintaining Virtual Teams ETM5110/MSIS5600 by mzxsBtMf


									 Starting and Maintaining
       Virtual Teams

Managing Virtual Project Teams
   Nicholas C. Romano, Jr., Ph.D.

    Paul E. Rossler, Ph.D., P.E.
• What is the process of forming a virtual
• What knowledge, skills, and abilities should
  virtual team members possess?
• How do these competencies differ from
  those required in face-to-face team settings?
• What types of interdependencies are found
  in virtual teamwork?
• What are the key roles played by the team
• How should performance appraisal be

             Slow starters?
Research and experience suggest that virtual
teams often take longer to get started in
meetings and produce results than many
traditional teams do
  – Match technology to task, type of team, team
    life cycle, team members’ backgrounds
  – Often need help in evaluating technology and
    facilitating meetings
       Steps for starting a virtual team
    1. Identify team sponsors, stakeholders,
    2. Develop a team charter
    3. Select team members
    4. Contact team members
    5. Conduct team-orientation session
    6. Develop team processes
Duarte, D. L., & Snyder, N. T. 2001. Mastering Virtual Teams (2nd Ed.).   5
San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Selecting sponsor, stakeholder, and
 champion based on requirements
• Can remove roadblocks
• Has cross-cultural experience
• Is respected across functions or
• Organization has stake in outcome of
  team’s work
• Can provide relevant technical or political
Source: Duarte, D. L., & Snyder, N. T. (2001)   6
       Eliciting support early in the
              team’s life cycle
• Review mission, purpose, goals
• Share understanding of roles
• Identify potential risks and risk mitigation
• Develop preliminary schedule and establish
  milestone review
• Agree on methods for sharing
Source: Duarte, D. L., & Snyder, N. T. (2001)    7
     Identifying and selecting three
        types of team members
• Core
     – Accountable for direct task output
• Extended
     – Provide expertise and advice when necessary
• Ancillary
     – Review and approve team’s work and

Source: Duarte, D. L., & Snyder, N. T. (2001)        8
   Knowledge, skill, and ability
requirements (traditional) teamwork
   I.         Interpersonal
         A.      Conflict resolution
         B.      Collaborative problem solving
         C.      Communication
   II.        Self-management
         A.      Goal Setting and performance management
         B.      Planning and task coordination
Source: Stevens, J. and M.A. Campion, The knowledge, skill, and ability requirements for
teamwork: Implications for human resource management. Journal of Management, 1994. 20
(Summer): p. 503 ff.
        KSAs for virtual teamwork
Project management
Use of technology
Boundary management
Interpersonal awareness

Source: Duarte, D. L., & Snyder, N. T. (2001)   10
           KSA relationships
Project management        I.         Interpersonal
                                A.     Conflict resolution
                                B.     Collaborative problem
Use of technology                      solving
                                C.     Communication
                          II.        Self-management
Boundary management             A.     Goal Setting and
Interpersonal awareness                performance
                                B.     Planning and task

  Establishing contact with team
  members prior to initial meeting
• Call or visit each team member personally
• Provide mechanism by which team members can
  find out about one another
• Send all team members information about the
• Make certain a forum exists for answering
• Find out who has hardware or software
  availability or compatibility problems

Source: Duarte, D. L., & Snyder, N. T. (2001)   12
   Meeting face-to-face is best for
        orientation session
• Orient everyone
     – Review and discuss charter
     – Review team members’ expertise and
• Develop list of team norms, technological
  plans, communication plans
• Engage in team building

Source: Duarte, D. L., & Snyder, N. T. (2001)   13
     Establishing team norms (and
• Virtual meeting etiquette and management
• Guidelines regarding timeframes for
  returning calls and e-mails and use of voice
  mail and pagers
• Guidelines about using e-mail
• Which meetings must be face-to-face,
  which can be missed

Source: Duarte, D. L., & Snyder, N. T. (2001)   14
• How work will be produced, reviewed
• How decisions will be made, how problems
  will be solved, how conflicts will be
• Procedures for scheduling meetings using
  group-scheduling systems
• Types of technological applications to be
     Example framework for
prioritizing problems or solutions
Criticality Not Urgent  Demands Immediate
Solvability Beyond Our Control  Can Solve
Scope       Easily Solved  Requires Extensive
Account-    Not Individually Accountable  Fully
ability     Accountable
Feasibility Won’t Work  Will Definitely Work
Technology selection is driven by
   decisions on how to work
Types of Work         Technology

• Parallel               Simple
• Sequential
• Pooled Sequential   Sophisticated

  Traditional project management
techniques help manage the process
• Templates
  – Scheduling, assigning tasks, reporting status,
    gathering data
• Review points
  – Milestones, plans, problems
• Documentation
  – History, progress, how shared

         Myths regarding virtual teams
    • Virtual team members can be left alone
         – Reality: Time and space do not alter the
           fundamental principles of team output and
    • The added complexity of using technology
      is greatly exaggerated
         – Reality: Complexity of communicating over
           time, distance, and organizations causes unique
           problems, not easily solved
Duarte, D. L., & Snyder, N. T. 2001. Mastering Virtual Teams (2nd Ed.).   19
San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
• The leader of a cross-cultural virtual team
  needs to speak several languages, have lived
  in other countries
  – Reality: What is required is a sensitivity to
    other cultures and an attempt to learn how to
    communicate with team members

• When you can’t see people on a regular
  basis, it’s difficult to help them
  – Reality: Virtual environment doesn’t change
    the fact that the leader must plan for team
    members’ next assignments, career progression
• Building trust and networking are relatively
  – Reality: Trust is the foundation for performance
    in a virtual setting
• Every aspect of virtual teams should be
  planned, organized, and controlled
  – Reality: Managing a virtual team with rigid
    controls and plans often erodes the team’s
    ability to experience breakthrough performance

 A key challenge in virtual teams
• Balancing coordination and collaboration
  with autonomy
  – Also present in traditional teams

         Individual appraisal
     or team appraisal or both?
• Individual level appraisal helps reduce
  social loafing
  – But ignores interaction and synergy that
    characterize excellent team performance
• Team performance assessment provides
  useful information
  – But can ignore individual contribution, leading
    to freeloading
         Other key questions
• What is rated?
  – Behavior, competency, outcome, or all three?
• Who provides the rating?
  – Manager, project leaders, team leader, other
    team members, customers, self, coworkers
• How is the rating used?
  – Development, evaluation, self-regulation (self-

                     Team type influences
                     performance appraisal

Scott, S. G., & Einstein, W. O. 2001. Strategic performance appraisal in team-based          26
organizations: One size does not fit all. Academy of Management Executive, 15(2): 107-116.
                           Appraisal methods

Source: Scott, S. G., & Einstein, W. O. (2001)
• Starting and maintaining virtual teams is a
  process, albeit a labor-intensive one
• The team leader plays a key role in
  establishing this process
• The process used influences alignment,
  team culture, and ultimate performance


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