Project Management

Leveling the Virtual Playing Field

Minnesota Chapter

Andrea Brockmeier is the Director of Project Management at Watermark Learning. She has 20+ years of experience in project management practice and training.

There are inherent communication constraints when working virtually. Often ignored, however, are the potential equalizing benefits of virtual environments. One alternative practice that can help is to have all team members, even if they are collocated, call in to meetings. Here’s why.

Working today means working virtually. It’s no longer a question of do you work virtually, but how much of your day is spent working with others with whom you have little or no face time?

Sometimes it’s necessary, but often it simply appeals to our less-industrious selves. How often, when we could take the opportunity for face-to-face communications, do we resort to something else, usually email, because it seems easier, quicker, and there’s the cover-my-behind feature email offers that a personal discussion doesn’t? 

Yet, we recognize that we lose a lot without the face-to-face interactions. Most communication objectives are less effectively addressed via email, text messaging, or instant messaging than they are when delivered live, in person. 

Conference calls (and I’m referring to voice only, not video conferencing) often present an interesting opportunity for mixing virtual and non-virtual interactions. For example, think about when team members are geographically dispersed but there are multiple team members in each location. How do you …

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"O, it is excellent To have a giant's strength! But it is tyrannous To use it like a giant."

- William Shakespeare