The project management professional should make every effort to contribute to the project management knowledge base in the areas of lessons learned, best practices, and empirical research. Such collective contributions will improve project management services, enhance the capabilities of colleagues, and generally further the profession (PMI, 2000b, 2002). Casual conversations among project team members can also bring to the surface informal or implicit knowledge that otherwise might reside in the nondescript planning documents of the project. Virtual teams must take advantage of this behavioral pattern to facilitate informal exchanges, using virtual-specific media, among the team members . Capturing new knowledge and making it explicit is a key leadership attribute that leads to successful global virtual projects.
Since projects involve unique undertakings, it is important for any project team to foster a spirit of inquiry among the team members. Through group interaction, ideas can be discussed, and paradigms can be tested . Further, these interactions will shed light on approaches to follow and technologies to use to achieve stakeholder satisfaction. Such enlightened activities will generally result in positive advances in the overall practice and stature of the profession. Lessons learned must be discussed in detail, and frequently, so that best practices can be applied to the project under way as well as to other projects in the organization. Further, it is a characteristic of virtual teams that group interactions are less spontaneous , although information exchange is a necessary mode of operation for virtual teams. Therefore, the project manager must put measures in place such that inquiry and information exchange are encouraged.
In a collocated team, the face-to-face interaction of the team members provides an easily accessible mechanism to promote the sharing of ideas, problems, opportunities, and interests. Therefore, a sense of team identity is developed readily. When someone has a question or a new idea to share, he or she can immediately locate others team members who are interested to discuss it. If a "war room" is established for the team, it can be used for team meetings as well as to post items of interest. In a virtual team, the web-based team room tends to mimic the features of this "war room." A virtual team room must have a platform that is stable, user friendly, easy to update, and easy to maintain. These features can bring a healthy amount of openness and visibility to the entire project. However, team members must be made aware of the importance of using this team room, and its available technologies, as a way to foster the development of ideas and as a way to further intellectual collaboration. For example, if discussion threads, rather than face-to-face communication, are to be used as a tool to further ideas in a specific area, people must view them as just that ” a way to develop insights. One team member should not use these threads to express his or her opinion on an unrelated topic and expect others to immediately support a new line of discussion. In some virtual teams, much more so than in traditional teams, anonymous participation may be desirable so that team members can express ideas, or even criticism, in a manner that does not involve individual repercussions .