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Topics: Leadership, Talent Management, Teams
Organizational culture, remote teams and project management
How to create and maintain the organizational culture of people and teams working online?
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We orgranize social or recreational activities, setup groud rules and post it on online project management software - Smartsheet

Smartsheet also has mobile app version, so that the team continues to commuicate and produce during their time away from the desktop.
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1 reply by Luis Branco
Apr 28, 2020 10:10 AM
Luis Branco
...
Dear Chin
Thank you for participating in this reflection and for your opinion

With the activities they develop, can you create a true organizational culture?
If you do not have the culture already then you are in trouble when it comes to having an effective WFH strategy. Implementing a good WFH strategy is reliant on organizational maturity and to become 'mature' overnight will be very difficult. Obviously, the best place to start is with leadership, the leadership team must sit and devise a strategy that they agree, understand and are willing to support.
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1 reply by Luis Branco
Apr 28, 2020 6:27 AM
Luis Branco
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Dear Antom
Thank you for participating in this reflection and for your opinion

We agree with what you wrote: "If you do not have the culture already then you are in trouble when it comes to having an effective WFH strategy"

How can we create that culture with recently recruited members of our team?
Good question, Luis, as it applies to the new way of working for many.

A new way of working requires new perspectives and new behaviors, adapted to the changed infrastructure and environment. These perspectives and behaviors have to be embedded in an existing culture or, in case of newly build teams, drive definition of a new culture.

In my projects I always strive to establish a team culture, as it helps creating a feeling of belonging and mutual trust. Project-external cultures (e.g. organizational, professional, national) are still influencing but must not be driving the team culture.

As such, any leader of a virtual team should now establish an explicit culture. It should establish a joint purpose, team behaviors in a virtual environment, while in calls or working by yourself, team signs and rites, celebrations and feedbacks.
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1 reply by Luis Branco
Apr 28, 2020 10:16 AM
Luis Branco
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Dear Thomas
Thank you for participating in this reflection and for your opinion

I agree with some things you wrote, namely:
- "A new way of working requires new perspectives and new behaviors, adapted to the changed infrastructure and environment. These perspectives and behaviors have to be embedded in an existing culture or, in case of newly build teams, drive definition of a new culture"
- "Any leader of a virtual team should now establish an explicit culture. It should establish a joint purpose, team behaviors in a virtual environment, while in calls or working by yourself, team signs and rites, celebrations and feedbacks"

Should the culture of teams working online be integrated into the organizational culture?

In his opinion, what can be done about the integration of these two cultures, which, after all, should be just one.
Apr 28, 2020 3:24 AM
Replying to Anton Oosthuizen
...
If you do not have the culture already then you are in trouble when it comes to having an effective WFH strategy. Implementing a good WFH strategy is reliant on organizational maturity and to become 'mature' overnight will be very difficult. Obviously, the best place to start is with leadership, the leadership team must sit and devise a strategy that they agree, understand and are willing to support.
Dear Antom
Thank you for participating in this reflection and for your opinion

We agree with what you wrote: "If you do not have the culture already then you are in trouble when it comes to having an effective WFH strategy"

How can we create that culture with recently recruited members of our team?
...
1 reply by Tim PM
Apr 28, 2020 6:36 AM
Tim PM
...
Very good question- I too was wondering how we induct new staff or indeed bring in trainees in this environment
Apr 28, 2020 6:27 AM
Replying to Luis Branco
...
Dear Antom
Thank you for participating in this reflection and for your opinion

We agree with what you wrote: "If you do not have the culture already then you are in trouble when it comes to having an effective WFH strategy"

How can we create that culture with recently recruited members of our team?
Very good question- I too was wondering how we induct new staff or indeed bring in trainees in this environment
...
1 reply by Luis Branco
Apr 29, 2020 3:46 AM
Luis Branco
...
Dear Tim
Thank you for participating in this reflection and for your opinion

How are you planning to do?
Luis - fantastic question. It's interesting to consider that many are just now trying to figure out what the online culture will look like or how to get to a place that resembles what once was. Certainly, existing employees can carry the torch forward into the online events, but when it comes to new staff, how do we impress upon them what the intrinsic culture of the organization they just joined is like.

I wonder if the learning and development department will now begin to have more of a focus on online presence and actions/behaviors to be exercised to promote a 'defined' organizational culture - which is interesting in itself because that culture is often an undertone, felt and perceived through interactions and hallway conversations.

I would think working agreements at multiple levels with some top-down cascaded agreements, similar to how performance goals are shared across the organization, some cascaded down, with an expectation we'll add additional goals within and satisfying predefined criteria.

Curious what others think.
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1 reply by Luis Branco
Apr 29, 2020 3:53 AM
Luis Branco
...
Dear Andrew
Thank you for participating in this reflection and for your opinion

The culture of an organization (this is my understanding) is a set of principles, values ??that will be reflected in our behavior and in the way we do our work

It makes us think about what we can do to imbue the organization's culture in people
Thanks Luis - you just gave me the inspiration for my next weekend's blog article :-)

Culture is created by the people who work together - our job as leaders is to create an environment such that a "healthy" culture develops within the team, regardless of what the culture of the overall performing organization is.

When working remotely, the PM might have to be a bit more overt in their tactics to help create a team culture, but the basic tenets would still apply.

Starting the project off with an effective kick-off meeting and helping the team to establish and evolve their working agreements are a couple of useful starting points...

Kiron
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1 reply by Luis Branco
Apr 29, 2020 4:03 AM
Luis Branco
...
Dear Kiron
Thank you for participating in this reflection and for your opinion

You just gave me the highest compliment by writing: "you just inspired me on my next weekend's blog article :-)"

That is my purpose. Contribute so that people think about the themes and share their perspective with us.

Thanks again

Honestly, I would very much like it to become a topic for reflection in our community

Does the culture of project teams need to have organizational culture as an umbrella?
Apr 28, 2020 12:18 AM
Replying to chin fan so
...
We orgranize social or recreational activities, setup groud rules and post it on online project management software - Smartsheet

Smartsheet also has mobile app version, so that the team continues to commuicate and produce during their time away from the desktop.
Dear Chin
Thank you for participating in this reflection and for your opinion

With the activities they develop, can you create a true organizational culture?
Apr 28, 2020 4:04 AM
Replying to Thomas Walenta
...
Good question, Luis, as it applies to the new way of working for many.

A new way of working requires new perspectives and new behaviors, adapted to the changed infrastructure and environment. These perspectives and behaviors have to be embedded in an existing culture or, in case of newly build teams, drive definition of a new culture.

In my projects I always strive to establish a team culture, as it helps creating a feeling of belonging and mutual trust. Project-external cultures (e.g. organizational, professional, national) are still influencing but must not be driving the team culture.

As such, any leader of a virtual team should now establish an explicit culture. It should establish a joint purpose, team behaviors in a virtual environment, while in calls or working by yourself, team signs and rites, celebrations and feedbacks.
Dear Thomas
Thank you for participating in this reflection and for your opinion

I agree with some things you wrote, namely:
- "A new way of working requires new perspectives and new behaviors, adapted to the changed infrastructure and environment. These perspectives and behaviors have to be embedded in an existing culture or, in case of newly build teams, drive definition of a new culture"
- "Any leader of a virtual team should now establish an explicit culture. It should establish a joint purpose, team behaviors in a virtual environment, while in calls or working by yourself, team signs and rites, celebrations and feedbacks"

Should the culture of teams working online be integrated into the organizational culture?

In his opinion, what can be done about the integration of these two cultures, which, after all, should be just one.
...
1 reply by Thomas Walenta
Apr 28, 2020 12:10 PM
Thomas Walenta
...
Hi Luis,

you ask "Should the culture of teams working online be integrated into the organizational culture?"

Short reply is no.

The culture of a team (virtual or co-located) has to support the team's purpose or goals. These are often not the same as those of the whole organization. Even if they are the same, the internal team cohesion has to be supported and the team's identity to be built. This is not so easy if you just copy or even are forced to follow the organization culture.

Ask team members: are you feeling more as an employee of the company or as a member of this high performing team. Teams tend to have a higher performance than the whole organizations (at least team members perceive so), and your status in a team tends to be better than in the wider pool.

Some projects, especially culture transformations, demand that the team develops a sense of exceptionalism and entitlement, and sees the rest of the company as their target and their current culture to be modified (e.g. introducing agile).

A second argument for my answer is 'no' for 'online' teams is that the organization probably has no means to set the behaviors for the many diverse teams that are now forced to work virtually. Online teams now support the culture development bottom-up, in a network for teams and project managers. Good local behaviors will be copied by other teams, the role of the organizations is not commanding behaviors but supporting the development of cultures and setting wide handrails (like a code of ethics, security precautions).

Just attended a local Chapter group meeting in Germany, they normally have 10-15 attendees. The zoom session was managed well and had over 60 people, a good discussion. It was the 5th online Chapter meeting they held, and they are doing it every week instead of every second month.

If you put a stick in a hive, the humming of the bees will increase dramatically.

This is growth out of the disruption. The culture of the meetings changed (and is more adaptive).

I am now invited to present at 8 webinars across the globe over April/May, each with 300+ attendees. Last year in total I had 9 keynote speeches traveling. What is more effective in terms of reaching people?
Organizational culture is based on a variety of a factors including proximity, social interactions and work events. It is inevitable when you go online that you have to change your organizational culture. Playing online Jeopardy does not create the same social attitudes within teams as indoor wall climbing or golf tournaments do.
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1 reply by Luis Branco
Apr 29, 2020 7:36 AM
Luis Branco
...
Dear Stéphane
Thank you for participating in this reflection and for your opinion

What you are saying is that it is only possible to create an organizational culture when people interact physically? I would like to better understand your perspective
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