Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Effects of Organisational Support Components of Virtual Project Teams

I attended a PMI Sydney Chapter Talk last night titled Effects of Organisational Support on Components of Virtual Project Teams and presented by Dr Nathalie Drouin. Nathalie is one of a team creating a research paper on this subject.

I collected a few sounds bites and caught a few interesting captions from the slides, but I feel that a little more depth into each of the bits that I caught would have been really beneficial.

"Competitive advantage gained by bringing together virtual teams." ND.
We each come from different cultures and I believe we all have something to learn from other cultures, from having a main meal in the middle of the day instead of the end of the day to hierarchical organisation structures and communications methods between those structures. I believe the learning that we can achieve from other cultures in a project environment would be worth a research paper in itself.

"Organisational relationships are getting more diverse" ND.
This is becoming more and more apparent, to the degree where in some organisations, being in a different department is akin to working for a different organisation with inter-departmental cross charging. Again, I believe this a a good subject and have noted it down to go into more detail in a future blog post.

"Even with virtual teams, group local team members together." ND.
This is most valuable advise. When working with virtual teams, having those teams locally separated can make them seem like multiple teams when trying to coordinate with them from a distance. Local teams having regular internal catch ups to assist the communication has much benefit. With distance can easily come confusion and any methods to reduce that confusion is worth pursuing.

"More frequent meeting with virtual teams". ND.
With a local team, you're likely to bump into team members around the office and the smallest exchanges of information passed on. This creates a relationship between team members and will enhance approach-ability. You may also walk past a team members desk and see they are free or they may reach out to you with a question that they hadn't got around to asking yet. Without this flexibility and unneeded scheduled connection, more regular scheduled connections need to be made. That's just one pro for more frequent meetings with virtual teams. Again, I can think of a list!

"Specify communication protocols". ND.
Yes? No, should communication protocols be specified for any project team? Maybe different protocol due to the visualization. Again, another interesting subject in itself. I find that communication protocols are defined and then refined over time, some people aren't phone people, some aren't instant messaging people and some are not email people. To add another level, some people use all of the above, but prioritise them differently!

I enjoyed the talk Nathalie, stirred lots of food for thought.

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