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Starting and Maintaining Virtual Teams ETM5110/MSIS5600 Managing Virtual Project Teams. Nicholas C. Romano, Jr., Ph.D. Nicholas-Romano@mstm.okstate.edu Paul E. Rossler, Ph.D., P.E. prossle@okstate.edu. Overview. What is the process of forming a virtual team?

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starting and maintaining virtual teams etm5110 msis5600 managing virtual project teams

Starting and MaintainingVirtual Teams ETM5110/MSIS5600Managing Virtual Project Teams

Nicholas C. Romano, Jr., Ph.D.

Nicholas-Romano@mstm.okstate.eduPaul E. Rossler, Ph.D., P.E.

prossle@okstate.edu

overview
Overview
  • What is the process of forming a virtual team?
  • What knowledge, skills, and abilities should virtual team members possess?
  • How do these competencies differ from those required in face-to-face team settings?
  • What types of interdependencies are found in virtual teamwork?
slide3
What are the key roles played by the team leader?
  • How should performance appraisal be conducted?
slow starters
Slow starters?

Research and experience suggest that virtual teams often take longer to get started in meetings and produce results than many traditional teams do

  • Match technology to task, type of team, team life cycle, team members’ backgrounds
  • Often need help in evaluating technology and facilitating meetings
steps for starting a virtual team
Steps for starting a virtual team
  • Identify team sponsors, stakeholders, champions
  • Develop a team charter
  • Select team members
  • Contact team members
  • Conduct team-orientation session
  • Develop team processes

Duarte, D. L., & Snyder, N. T. 2001. Mastering Virtual Teams (2nd Ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

selecting sponsor stakeholder and champion based on requirements
Selecting sponsor, stakeholder, and champion based on requirements
  • Can remove roadblocks
  • Has cross-cultural experience
  • Is respected across functions or organizations
  • Organization has stake in outcome of team’s work
  • Can provide relevant technical or political input

Source: Duarte, D. L., & Snyder, N. T. (2001)

eliciting support early in the team s life cycle
Eliciting support early in the team’s life cycle
  • Review mission, purpose, goals
  • Share understanding of roles
  • Identify potential risks and risk mitigation strategies
  • Develop preliminary schedule and establish milestone review
  • Agree on methods for sharing

Source: Duarte, D. L., & Snyder, N. T. (2001)

identifying and selecting three types of team members
Identifying and selecting three types of team members
  • Core
    • Accountable for direct task output
  • Extended
    • Provide expertise and advice when necessary
  • Ancillary
    • Review and approve team’s work and deliverables

Source: Duarte, D. L., & Snyder, N. T. (2001)

knowledge skill and ability requirements traditional teamwork
Knowledge, skill, and ability requirements (traditional) teamwork
  • Interpersonal
    • Conflict resolution
    • Collaborative problem solving
    • Communication
  • Self-management
    • Goal Setting and performance management
    • Planning and task coordination

Source: Stevens, J. and M.A. Campion, The knowledge, skill, and ability requirements for teamwork: Implications for human resource management. Journal of Management, 1994. 20 (Summer): p. 503 ff.

ksas for virtual teamwork
KSAs for virtual teamwork

Project management

Networking

Use of technology

Self-management

Boundary management

Interpersonal awareness

Source: Duarte, D. L., & Snyder, N. T. (2001)

ksa relationships
Project management

Networking

Use of technology

Self-management

Boundary management

Interpersonal awareness

Interpersonal

Conflict resolution

Collaborative problem solving

Communication

Self-management

Goal Setting and performance management

Planning and task coordination

KSA relationships
establishing contact with team members prior to initial meeting
Establishing contact with team members prior to initial meeting
  • Call or visit each team member personally
  • Provide mechanism by which team members can find out about one another
  • Send all team members information about the team
  • Make certain a forum exists for answering questions
  • Find out who has hardware or software availability or compatibility problems

Source: Duarte, D. L., & Snyder, N. T. (2001)

meeting face to face is best for orientation session
Meeting face-to-face is best for orientation session
  • Orient everyone
    • Review and discuss charter
    • Review team members’ expertise and accountabilities
  • Develop list of team norms, technological plans, communication plans
  • Engage in team building

Source: Duarte, D. L., & Snyder, N. T. (2001)

establishing team norms and culture
Establishing team norms (and culture)
  • Virtual meeting etiquette and management
  • Guidelines regarding timeframes for returning calls and e-mails and use of voice mail and pagers
  • Guidelines about using e-mail
  • Which meetings must be face-to-face, which can be missed

Source: Duarte, D. L., & Snyder, N. T. (2001)

slide15
How work will be produced, reviewed
  • How decisions will be made, how problems will be solved, how conflicts will be resolved
  • Procedures for scheduling meetings using group-scheduling systems
  • Types of technological applications to be used
technology selection is driven by decisions on how to work
Types of Work

Parallel

Sequential

Pooled Sequential

Technology

Simple

Sophisticated

Technology selection is driven by decisions on how to work
traditional project management techniques help manage the process
Traditional project management techniques help manage the process
  • Templates
    • Scheduling, assigning tasks, reporting status, gathering data
  • Review points
    • Milestones, plans, problems
  • Documentation
    • History, progress, how shared
myths regarding virtual teams
Myths regarding virtual teams
  • Virtual team members can be left alone
    • Reality: Time and space do not alter the fundamental principles of team output and accountability
  • The added complexity of using technology is greatly exaggerated
    • Reality: Complexity of communicating over time, distance, and organizations causes unique problems, not easily solved

Duarte, D. L., & Snyder, N. T. 2001. Mastering Virtual Teams (2nd Ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

slide20
The leader of a cross-cultural virtual team needs to speak several languages, have lived in other countries
    • Reality: What is required is a sensitivity to other cultures and an attempt to learn how to communicate with team members
slide21
When you can’t see people on a regular basis, it’s difficult to help them
    • Reality: Virtual environment doesn’t change the fact that the leader must plan for team members’ next assignments, career progression
  • Building trust and networking are relatively unimportant
    • Reality: Trust is the foundation for performance in a virtual setting
slide22
Every aspect of virtual teams should be planned, organized, and controlled
    • Reality: Managing a virtual team with rigid controls and plans often erodes the team’s ability to experience breakthrough performance
a key challenge in virtual teams
A key challenge in virtual teams
  • Balancing coordination and collaboration with autonomy
    • Also present in traditional teams
individual appraisal or team appraisal or both
Individual appraisal or team appraisal or both?
  • Individual level appraisal helps reduce social loafing
    • But ignores interaction and synergy that characterize excellent team performance
  • Team performance assessment provides useful information
    • But can ignore individual contribution, leading to freeloading
other key questions
Other key questions
  • What is rated?
    • Behavior, competency, outcome, or all three?
  • Who provides the rating?
    • Manager, project leaders, team leader, other team members, customers, self, coworkers
  • How is the rating used?
    • Development, evaluation, self-regulation (self-control)
team type influences performance appraisal
Team type influences performance appraisal

Scott, S. G., & Einstein, W. O. 2001. Strategic performance appraisal in team-based organizations: One size does not fit all. Academy of Management Executive, 15(2): 107-116.

appraisal methods
Appraisal methods

Source: Scott, S. G., & Einstein, W. O. (2001)

summary
Summary
  • Starting and maintaining virtual teams is a process, albeit a labor-intensive one
  • The team leader plays a key role in establishing this process
  • The process used influences alignment, team culture, and ultimate performance results