; KEEPING UP LONG DISTANCE
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KEEPING UP LONG DISTANCE

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To help far-flung team members bridge the distance and feel like part of a team while they hash out ideas, engineering managers must call upon a rich technological arsenal of collaborative tools, said Colleen Garton, president of Garton Consulting Group, which specializes in helping people learn to manage virtual and global teams. Managers should also consider turning to today's Web conferencing tools, which can be supremely useful for team meetings when members don't inhabit the same office, according to Matthew Ladzinski, manager of NAFEMS North America, part of the international association for virtual product development. Garton said. Web conferencing software can be called upon for a variety of purposes beyond holding online conferences, he added. To ensure participation, trainers call upon a number of interactive features offered within the tool itself. Then, of course, there's always the telephone, a piece of hardware often overlooked as engineers -- and everyone else -- have turned instead to e-mail, Garton said.

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