Virtual project teams have undergone accelerated growth during the past decade , primarily thanks to the development of web tools for handling project communication. Notwithstanding, there is not an abundance of books that provide formalized project procedures specifically for virtual teams. Even then, many of the available books cover virtual teams in service industries within the context of telecommuting for operations.
Admittedly, there are some similarities between the conduct of virtual projects and virtual work across ongoing operational activities. There are additional similarities between virtual project teams and teams of traditional, collocated projects. Therefore, the portrayal of virtual project teams should start with these commonalities and then deal with specific features of global projects and virtual project teams. Accordingly, some of the traditional project management procedures and techniques will need to be modified, and some new procedures will need to be developed altogether, in order to handle the somewhat unique attributes of the virtual project team. Further, to be realistic about the applicability of a virtual team to a particular situation, there is a need for a comprehensive treatment of the advantages and disadvantages of virtual project teams.
The availability of such a full-perspective book will prepare project management professionals for the dissimilarities between traditional and virtual project teams, while highlighting those team features, and process features, that remain unchanged when one moves from a traditional project to a virtual project. This book describes the full set of attributes of virtual project teams in an easy-to-read format. It covers the categorization of the features of traditional project teams and virtual project teams by equating or contrasting those attributes, as the case may be. The introductory chapter highlights the need and motivation for global projects, which in turn have been nourishing the growth of virtual project teams. Beyond the introductory chapter, Chapters 2 and 3 of the book enumerate the similarities and dissimilarities between traditional and virtual project teams. Chapter 2 describes the quantitative features, or things-related features, of virtual teams. Chapter 3 describes the behavioral features, or people- related issues, of virtual teams. Chapter 4 presents several instruments that can be used to determine the behavioral characteristics of individual team members and the team as a whole. Chapter 5 describes a five-level model called the IDEAL model for assessment of virtual teams. The model defines these levels by sophistication of the team's performance. This chapter also presents tools and techniques for assessing, or inferring, the maturity of virtual project teams. The final chapter of the book deals with professional responsibility and a formal code of conduct as they relate to virtual project teams. Issues addressed in this chapter are individual integrity, professional growth, and appropriate respect for intellectual diversity.
Parviz F. Rad
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Downloads available for Achieving Project Management Success Using Virtual Teams consist of sample project and team charters and instruments to assess the effectiveness of a team meeting, team member attributes, motivation, collaborative leadership, project success, and team maturity.