Project Management

Tailor Your Kick-off Meeting to Your Virtual Team

Joe Wynne is a versatile Project Manager experienced in delivering medium-scope projects in large organizations that improve workforce performance and business processes. He has a proven track record of delivering effective, technology-savvy solutions in a variety of industries and a unique combination of strengths in both process management and workforce management.

What's virtual about a virtual team? I certainly don't know. A team is a team. The nature of teams differs along a spectrum. There are teams where everyone is co-located. There are teams where some members are co-located and others are remote. There are teams where everyone is dispersed geographically. Some teams have worse problems with time zones than others. Some teams must work out cultural differences more than others. It's time to start dealing with project teams in a more sophisticated manner. Actually, it's time to start dealing with virtual teams in any formalized manner.

In Part 1 of this series, we looked at three general strategies to assist with virtual teams—teams in which the majority of members are not co-located:

  • Take advantage of initial optimism.  
  • Define work procedures internally (including how decisions are finalized and issues are resolved).  
  • Prioritize training on interaction tools.

We now turn to the fourth strategy: Plan an Effective Kick-Off Meeting.

Virtual teams tend to attain trust faster than teams with co-located members, as long as doubts about interactions are resolved or expected to be resolved. Your kick-off meeting should aim to allay any fears about your ability to maintain effective interactions among members. (You might have some fears, but the rest of the team should not.)

Step 1: Prepare …

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