Long Projects with a virtual team
Teamwork and project management. (3rd ed.)
There are two main things that you can do to improve the functioning of teams during the course of a long project and they are; the removal of uncertainty and the creation of ownership of the project. This solution is so versatile that it can be utilized for Local or Virtual Teams.
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Managing Virtual Teams
Members of a team must often deal with uncertainty which will often cause feelings of inadequacy and lack of self confidence. Moreover, motivation will suffer, as we all know, motivation is critical to a successful project. Furthermore, lack of direction and proper project priorities can leave your project at a standstill. Therefore, a great way to empower your team members is to simply remove all uncertainty. The most common areas of uncertainty are:
- What do I have to do?
- How do I do it?
- How will I interact with others to get it done?
- Why should I do it? What’s in it for me?
Team members really want to contribute to the project, their team leader, team, and themselves. However, most will only make certain about of effort for their salary. Moreover, everyone wants to get paid for their effort. However, utilizing monetary gain alone will only motivate a team member so far. After that point, a stronger motivator must be put into place. Therefore, you must make your team members into owners of the project. To that end, team members will be strongly motivated to give you and the project their all. Moreover, team members must feel like they are vested into the project and the projects outcome.
How to manage uncertainty and ownership:
- Spend time one-on-one with your team members to learn more about them. A face-to-face meeting would be great but if you cannot do it face-to-face, then use the telephone. Remember to focus on their skill sets, their self-concept (i.e., how they think of themselves), and their aspirations.
- Think about the requirements for your project. Consider not only technical or task requirements but also the social requirements of keeping the group together and working collaboratively.
- Then think about how the project fits with the self-concept and aspirations of team members. This is very critical. You will have to think about the project broadly and outside the box. When you do this, you will begin to think about how you can reframe or redefine the project in a way that matches the self-concept and aspirations of team members. This does not mean that you have to abandon the initial objectives and parameters of the project. You can still include these while clarifying other objectives that could be fulfilled while accomplishing the initial objectives. (Surinder Kahai, 2008)
Kahai, Surinder. August 26th, 2008. How do I begin to improve the functioning of my virtual team. Retrieved. December 3, 2009, from: http://www.leadingvirtually.com/?p=84
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