Thursday, 3 September 2015

3 principles for working successfully with virtual teams

More and more companies take advantage of today’s available technology to work in dispersed or remote teams, which is when members of teams from all over the world collaborate in order to achieve a common goal. This way of working implies a significantly lower cost for business owners and at the same time is convenient for workers who seek to have flexible hours.
However, although this type of collaboration brings many benefits, it also involves complications and new principles to ensure a smooth operation. Let's review 3 of the most important:

1. Clarify specific tasks and processes, not only the objectives and roles

Any manager must agree with his team on the “game they’re playing” and with virtual teams, this is no different. As they are not in the same place and there are many “substitutions” in the team, it’s important to pay more attention to the details of the tasks and processes to be used for the project. When everyone knows what they have to do and when, it makes the teamwork much easier and also quicker. In order to make sure you’re on the right track, conduct periodic reviews to assess how things are going and determine whether to make adjustments to the process or to take some other measures such as trainings, adjustments in the workload, etc.

2. Create a "map" of communication and workload

The only way to prevent conflicts, arising due to the lack of information or misunderstanding caused by the distance, is to have a very clear communication process. We suggest to create a map to establish participation standards in the team, such as limiting external distraction, having visual meetings once a week, sharing a document, etc. Also, there should be a tool to see who is working how much, to ensure that the workload is distributed evenly. The weekly, regular meetings are good to discuss this and the future agenda. 

3. Communicate and analyze

With clear processes and a communication map, the remote teams are properly set up and can start working independently. But as we mentioned above, it’s very important to speak to each other and also help each other. Open discussions are crucial, especially when a new team member arrives. Along with this, feedback is very important. The last thing any team member would want, is to complete his workload and think he is finished, when all of a sudden the project manager tells him, that he has been doing it wrong the whole time and he has to redo everything. So a thorough analysis is required, not only of the process and the way of communication, but also of the individual. Only with clear and open minds can a remote team be successful. 

In order to manage these 3 processes, we recommend tools for this, preferably in the cloud so everyone can access it from wherever they are. Of course there are plenty of them, but why not use time tracker app primaERP - you have an overview of the time each person spent and on what, and thorough reports for the analysis. Add a communication tool like Skype and you’re ready to go :-). 

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