Virtual Teams Primer and Perfection

Posted on January 11, 2011 by

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Virtual Teams

This may be you, right now. Or if not, in your near future!

Virtual teams are geographical dispersed teams (GDT) who are formed for a variety of reasons.  Sometimes the virtual team is formed as a result of mergers and acquisitions (M&A), or a collaboration among organizations may trigger it, perhaps a key employee moves or a company wishes to get some “boots on the ground” in a new city.  Regardless of the motivation, virtual teams are a given in a dynamic global community.

The Fourth Edition PMBOK references virtual teams as a tool and technique for Acquire Human Resources (Section 9.2).  That single tool and technique can produce a wealth of questions for the PMP exam.  From conflict, to communication overhead, twenty-four hour work cycle and requirements gathering challenges – there’s a long list of topics to discuss and validate.

Virtual teams are a practice area for TAPUniversity.  We have studied them and helped others become proficient in managing them since 2005.  Frequently traditional management wisdom does not apply and may even back fire.  Virtual teams also have proven a sticking point for the Agile SCRUM movement, which, in its initial manifesto, had co-located teams as key principle.  Over the next few weeks we’ll dig deeper and share more about virtual teams.

Please share your experiences as well.  What’s worked well?  What hasn’t?  What’s changed for you in the last ten years in working with virtual teams?