Project Management

Tactical Tips for Virtual Teams

Dr. Andrew Makar is an IT program manager and is the author of the Microsoft Project Made Easy series. For more project management advice, visit the website TacticalProjectManagement.com.

Less than five years ago, the typical system implementation required the project team to be onsite at the client’s location. With the increased use of outsourcing, Software As A Service (SAAS) and the improvement in collaboration technologies like Cisco’s WebEx conferencing and Microsoft Sharepoint, system implementations can be supported with virtual teams. A virtual team is composed of geographically dispersed team members who primarily interact and collaborate with the collaboration software and telecommunications technology.
 
Performing tasks offsite provides companies with the flexibility to leverage remote resources without incurring travel expenses. However, according to the December 2007 Black Enterprise magazine, “virtual teams also provide challenges including miscommunication, breaches in security, and lack of worker productivity.” The challenges with virtual teams need to be balanced with their benefits.
 
In 2007, I had the opportunity to manage three virtual software implementations including a compensation planning tool, an incident management system and a new suite of HR applications. The first two projects were comprised entirely of virtual teams, while the third implementation consisted of a hybrid approach of onsite and virtual resources.
 
During these implementations, the interactions with the project teams for …

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