A LOOK INTO THE CHALLENGES OF MANAGING VIRTUALIZED TEAMS
Table of Contents
I. Introduction 3
II. Why Virtual Teams? 3
III. Are Virtual Teams For Me? 4
IV. Virtual Team Challenges and Best Practices 4
1. Communication Challenges 5
A. Cultural and Global Communication Challenges 6
2. Management and Leadership Challenges 7
V. On The Flip Side: Virtualized Project Managers 9
VI. Conclusion 9
Appendix 1: Source: Solomon, 2010, p. 10 11
Appendix 2: Source: Solomon, 2010, p. 12 12
As globalization becomes more prevalent in organizations and telecommunications infrastructure improves, virtual teams are becoming ...view middle of the document...
, 2001). With the rise of the Internet, globalization, outsourcing, and telecommuting, virtual teams are becoming increasingly prevalent in today's workforce as they are cost-effective and meet the needs of a wider variety of workers. The availability of a flexible and configurable base infrastructure is one of the main advantages of agile virtual teams (Anderson, A.H., et al, 2007). Virtual teams bring in a variety of other advantages as well, such as increased productivity and profitability, reduced cost and time to market, extended market presence, increased knowledge transfer, and global coordination and collaboration (Ebrahim et al., p.3; Snowdon, p.1). Although there are some key factors to look out for when managing virtual teams, there are many similarities in the overall structure of managing virtual project teams and traditional project teams. In other words, the fundamental goals and methodologies do not change when working with either traditional or virtual teams.
III. Are Virtual Teams For Me?
With all these advantages that virtual teams can bring, many organizations think implementing virtual teams is a trivial matter. However, before implementing and managing virtual teams, project managers and workers (team members) need to analyze their personality and attitude towards work to see if virtual teams are the right fit for them. According to Gary Hamilton et al., five questions that you need to ask yourself are:
1. “How comfortable are you with modern technology? In order to be a successful virtual worker, one must be at ease with the collaborative technologies that enable it. Another question is - does your company have such technology?
2. How best do you work? Are you task oriented and able to work well with little supervision?
3. How do you balance priorities? Competing priorities arise very easily in a virtual setting.
4. What is the corporate culture and attitude toward virtual employees? Is it a novel concept, or is it an established and ingrained core?
5. Do you, or can you, honestly see yourself as a full member of an organization if you work remotely for a long period of time (e.g., for the entire duration of a project, or maybe longer)?” (Gary Hamilton et al., 2012)
If your qualities do not match these traits, namely the first three, a virtual team environment may not beneficial. There needs to be a work style and culture that supports a virtual work environment, else the challenges that come out could outweigh the benefits associated with a virtual workplace.
IV. Virtual Team Challenges and Best Practices
Just like how virtual teams share the fundamental similarities in management with traditional teams, virtual teams also have similar challenges with traditional teams. However, virtual team’s challenges are magnified by distance, culture, language, technology, and other boundaries (Ebrahim et al., 2009). As a result, managing virtual teams can be more complex than managing traditional teams....