As virtual projects become a necessity in resource-constrained environments, project leaders must navigate the sometimes-rocky shoals created when unfamiliar team members work together. Technology can help bridge the physical distance, but it can't guarantee teamwork. More than any one best practice, common courtesy goes a long way when managing remote teams, according to those who have been there and done that.
Loyal Mealer remembers the time that a particularly order-loving colleague decided at the beginning of a large-scale IT project that he would populate the online file-share system so that everyone involved, including team members scattered around the globe, would have the most up-to-date information on the project.
That sounds good, right? Actually, the well-intentioned colleague had done too much of a good thing. By single-handedly organizing the file share to his way of thinking — and then failing to train anyone on the best way to access all the data — the gentleman had actually set the team back.
“This guy loved to organize things, and that’s what he did. The problem was that no one other than him had the slightest idea about how to use it,” says Mealer, a former senior technology architect and project manager with Hewlett-Packard who now is developing a virtual workforce site at www.commutezero.com. &