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Topics: Communications Management, Risk Management, Virtual Teams
Best Practices in Identification of risk with remote and co-located teams?

The projects I am involved in usually contains both virtual and co-located teams, from your experiences what are the best practices in carrying the identification of risks and risk management with the alignment ob both teams?

What are the tips I can use and is it possible to make sure that both teams are fully engaged and aligned together especially on risk management ?
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Perhaps I did not understand your question but nothing different than into other type of environments. I am working on that environments from long time ago. You have to have a process in place and people have to internalize the process to do things in a natural way. Obviously it will depends on the maturity of the process and that takes time except you use techniques to demostrate value.

Hi Seif, the risks (aside from the usual across projects) associated with distributed teams I wrote about in my dissertation. Some areas include technology (slow, intermittent faults, inadequate), feelings of isolation and/or absence of team bonding when compared to being co-located, distractions at home with family, friends and temptations (ie. TV), management resistance and negative perception toward remote workers, cohesion issues, waste (in the form of more administration of remote teams, fixing tech issues etc), communication (language, lack of non-verbal indicators, osmotic communication limited and only then if permanent video conferenced) and the list goes on.

Seif -

It might be more challenging to get engagement in the risk identification process from remote stakeholders and their biases are likely to be harder to surface. However, the fundamental inputs and tools we use don't change, we just need to focus more on active listening, making the risk management process meaningful and of value to the participants and leveraging good practices such as RBS's, risk identification checklists, Delphi and so on to get the info we need.


For the tight matrix team (Co-located), I would do branstorming sessions and for the virtual team, I would use delphi technique if need be.


For remote/distributed workers and teams, as Kiron stated, the processes do not change. What can be very different is the management and communication approach, gone are all the non-verbal cues, and you need to try to compensate for this somehow.

Video conference helps to give a form of face-to-face, but I also find that encouraging resources to reach out to you as individuals can be beneficial. Make it clear that your "door" is always open in the form of Skype, inbox, phone, etc.

I find the greatest challenge to be the balance between being more informally approachable and still being the boss. This is particularly the case with cross-cultural teams which adds an extra layer of potential for misinterpretation and misunderstanding.


I have use brainstorm without problem using teleconference, video or available technical possibilities according to context.
New technologies make it easier and easier

Thank you all for your reply and support,

If I understand correctly from your comments the idea is to keep the virtual team engaged and try to as Paul mentioned keep the door open for informal communication if need be to avoid the isolation part.

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"In Italy for thirty years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, bloodshed - but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love, 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock."

- Orson Welles, The Third Man