Project Management

Teams and Times Zones

Dan McCarthy

As if building a high-performing team wasn’t hard enough, a global project brings an array of additional challenges, from time zone conflicts to cultural differences. Here, a practitioner who has led a number of successful global projects shares 10 tips for leading a virtual team.

I’ve led a number of successful global projects, including the implementation of an e-learning strategy, two leadership development programs, and a quality program. All of these projects involved forming and leading teams with team members spread out around the world.
Based on my experiences, here are 10 tips for managing virtual teams.
1. For a long-term global project with a newly formed team, try to have a live kickoff meeting if at all possible. Even in today’s virtual, technologically enhanced world, there’s no better way to build a strong team foundation than spending a few days together. Although it may appear on the surface to be an unrealistic expense, for high priority projects it’s an investment that will have a high return in the long run.
2. As the team or project leader, pay extra attention to the basic mechanics of good meetings and project management. The importance of agendas, role clarification, project charters, action items, and documentation all magnify when leading a virtual team. For a one-hour conference …

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