Practical and Tactical Techniques for Managing Remote Teams
By Frank P. Saladis, PMP, LIMCA, MCPM, PMI Fellow
Managing a remote team is new territory for many businesses. In order to help manage effective and productive virtual teams, implement these useful tips and suggestions:
|Keep in mind that when one person is remote, everyone is remote to that person.
|Practice a virtual version of the “Stand-up Meeting” and get the business done quickly by keeping meetings as short in duration as possible.
|Virtual team leaders should connect directly with each team member at least once a week. This will demonstrate that the leader maintains an interest in the individual as well as the work assigned.
|Make sure virtual meetings are “Asynchronous”. Meaning, allow for discussion and avoid one-way transmission of information.
|Make sure you have an agenda for your virtual meetings along with a specific time frame.
|Create a virtual culture of communication, When possible, assign work to small groups and create a need for team members to communicate with each other outside of scheduled team meetings.
|Share the responsibility for organizing and facilitating meetings in order to give everyone experience managing a virtual meeting.
|Clearly define the expectations for the virtual team regarding assignments, timeliness, meeting etiquette, status reporting etc.
|Require routine technology checks to ensure everyone remains connected. Reinforce cyber security and protection of company owned physical and intellectual property.
|Keep in mind team members across multiple time zones when balancing meeting schedules.
|Remain sensitive to cultural differences and be prepared to address verbal communications issues when accents and pronunciation present difficulties in comprehension.
|Remote teams and employees may not have any actual in person contact and that limits the “casual office talk” that many people enjoy. Arrange for a virtual message board or “Keeping you in the know” blog or link and allow people to post messages.
|Test the technology before a virtual meeting begins and arrange for one standard platform for use by everyone.
|At the organizational level, plan for regular town hall virtual meetings and keep people informed about the business.
Although this may be new territory for some, using these tips will help anyone manage a successful and productive virtual team.
About the Author
Frank Saladis is an internationally renowned speaker, consultant and instructor in the project management profession with over 35 years of experience in the telecommunications and project management training environment. Frank is a past president of the PMI Assembly of Chapter Presidents and is the originator of International Project Management Day. In 2006 he received the prestigious Person of the Year Award from PMI for his contributions to the practice of project management.