Globalization, short-term projects with complex tasks or a set of expert teams from different departments of a company – there are various reasons, and the benefit for your organization could be immense.
VNC has been working with and in virtual teams for years. Teams in Germany, Switzerland and India are working with over 100 additional developers around the world to create new and innovative products, to be able to offer 24/7 support and utilize sales skills directly within the target markets.
We are happy to share some of our basic learnings from years of virtual work with you.
Our experience – your benefit!
You want to avoid intercultural difficulties and strive for goal-driven work in a virtual team? Which media tool should be used when and how and which “No-Gos” have to be considered in virtual communication?
We would like to give you some useful tips for the management of and collaboration in projects within virtual teams.
The main focus of our series is team communication – in virtual teams, classical possibilities of informal exchange between employees, such as the “water cooler meeting” in the office kitchen are missing (See “The Water Cooler Effect”. Nuances are harder to grab in emails or chats, therefore replacements must be created (chat rooms, team meetings with video transmission, 1 to 1 calls, Newscast).
In order to develop a trustful relationship within the virtual team and thus prevent misunderstandings and unnecessary delays in projects from the beginning: Start important projects with a kick-off meeting!
The kick-off meeting – Why is it worth it to convince your boss of the need for this expensive investment?
10 reasons for a physical kick-off meeting for the launch of important projects:
- Statistics and our own experience with VNC show – a kick-off meeting in the first stages of an important project creates a good basis of trust and fosters team collaboration sustainably
- The strategic impact of a project and the resulting team goals can be set precisely and clearly, so that all team members can identify with the target.
- Reporting: It can be defined from the beginning, who reports which results at what time interval to whom.
- Intercultural competence – Don’t give misunderstandings during the project a chance! If your team is staffed internationally, you should talk about communication differences. All team members should be made aware of those differences from the beginning. Get rid of prejudice and take advantage of the cultural mix in your team!
- “Team Building” during the Kick-Off Meetings prevents “wrangles” and power struggles during project implementation – Important: The kick-off meeting should provide enough space (and time) to ensure that all team members get to know each other, to discover similarities and establish bonds. A good team leader creates special possibilities for team building (introductions, events, creating a virtual team wall at the end).
- The team members have the opportunity to start at the same level of knowledge into the project.
- First tasks and assignments can be delegated together, while all team members have the chance to get involved. This way problems (which otherwise might occur during later stages) and uncertainties regarding responsibilities can be mitigated.
- A fitting project name can be found together – which will encourage team members to identify themselves with the project!
- All team members can agree jointly to preferred collaboration tools during the project and it is possible to bring all team members to the same level of expertise with the use of those tools. Don’t underestimate this aspect of cooperation in virtual teams!
- And last but not least, one of the main reasons for your project to start with a “kick-off meeting”: Create a positive atmosphere within the team and communicate the importance of the project for your organization
It may also be wise to invite a representative of the client to a part of the kick-off meeting to emphasize the importance of the project and give insight to the customer’s view.
In addition, a precise preparation, agenda and documentation is essential.
You have ideas, questions or suggestions about the topic?
Contact us and make an appointment to learn about our innovative collaboration tools: VNCtalk for chat and video conferences, VNCsafe – Sync and Share, VNCmail and VNCproject – our innovative project management tool!
All our products focus on the security of your data. All applications are browser-based and can be used on almost any device.
Virtual Teams series:
Part 1: Business Communication and Media Plan
Part 2: Communication in virtual teams