Chapter 4: Characterizing Virtual Team Members


For the purposes of continuous improvement, it is useful to evaluate the sophistication of the team members in handling the people issues and things issues of the project at various points during the project life cycle. Such evaluations can be performed with far more ease if there were a series of instruments at the disposal of the team. The contention of the authors is that, particularly in virtual teams , the people dimensions are far more important than the things issues, and they should be evaluated on a frequent basis using a consistent and formalized process. If one imports traditional project procedures directly into virtual teams, the team's efficiency and productivity will be significantly, reduced, particularly in the management of people- related issues (Figure 4.1). The reason for such reduction is that traditional team procedures are heavily dependent upon face-to-face means for initialization of the project and specific tasks, for monitoring the progress of tasks , and for management of changes to the project environment. More importantly, detection of changes and/or problems usually depends on visual observations and personal contact. Therefore, it will not come as a major surprise if the virtual team appears to be phenomenally more difficult to organize and manage by someone whose entire suite of skill sets depends on face-to-face tools. Unfortunately, since there is some amount of progress even when using inappropriate procedures, it might be some time before the project manager, or the Project Management Office, becomes aware of the existence of a serious deficiency.

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Figure 4.1: Stylized Comparison of the Effectiveness of Traditional Procedures in Virtual and Traditional Teams

It is important to note that the quality and volume of individual work will not be materially affected regardless of the nature of the team to which a person is attached. Further, if the procedures are either validated or customized for virtual teams, the effectiveness of managing the things issues of virtual projects would be equal to that of traditional teams. As for the management of people issues, unique virtual team tools might be able to bring the effectiveness of these issues to a level that is almost equal to that of traditional teams (Figure 4.2). It is fair to say that if team members are equipped with the appropriate tools, their performance will be more focused when working in a virtual team. Still, those individuals who need continuous face-to-face contact with their teammates will not do well in virtual projects, even with virtual-specific procedures and tools. However, those individuals who do not require face-to-face affirmation might do even better in virtual teams than they would have in traditional teams.

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Figure 4.2: Stylized Comparison of the Effectiveness of Customized Procedures in Virtual and Traditional Teams

Achieving Project Management Success Using Virtual Teams
Achieving Project Management Success Using Virtual Teams
ISBN: 1932159037
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2003
Pages: 75

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