How Project Managers can Manage Virtual Teams

Category: General, PMP Training Posted:Nov 10, 2016 By: Shruthi A

Virtual team worker is defined as those individuals who work from home one or more days in a week.  The project managers must often manage remote employees to ensure that the quality of work is not tapered down. A team may consist of different people working from different locations. An effective management of these virtual team workers requires skills that enable them in achieving the goals.

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Source: http://www.elitevirtualteam.co.uk/

The project manager is responsible for managing the in-house team and virtual teams. In order to manage the virtual teams effectively, the project manager must need to use strategies to understand the team members. Below are some key aspects that allow the project manager to focus on having an effective virtual team.

1. Set and Manage Goals

Every project has goals and objectives set by the project managers. When you have a virtual team, it is important to communicate these to the team. As the team cannot physically walk into the office every day to clarify their doubts, review the goal statements, or attending any meetings. Virtual team inclusion is crucial. Therefore, project managers must find ways to make the team readily available at the work site.

2. Constant Communication

Communication is the basic tool to keep everyone updated about the project. As virtual team workers may have face-to-face interaction at the initial stages, later they are connected through electronic forms of communication.  The project manager must be highly perceptive if the team has multi-national. An effective communication unifies both team and work that help in achieving the goals. The communication channels like video conferencing, webinars, chats, and other tools are used as platforms to arrange meetings.

3. Motivate Virtual Teams

As the virtual teams work in a completely different environment and are disconnected from the other team members, project managers must find ways to keep them engaged and motivated till the completion of the project. Scheduling of regular meetings helps the team members to get updates about the work and maximize efficiency. Besides this, regular phone calls and web meetings enable the project manager to understand the virtual team better.

4. Regular Assessment and Implementation of Actions

The virtual team worker may have adapted different work styles and timings. A project manager must assess the work of virtual team worker frequently to ensure that he or she is not being disconnected from the project. Maintaining strict deadlines for delivery of materials with appropriate description can reduce the risks. Some virtual team workers may work in different time zones, but it is recommended to have all the team members working online for at least three to four hours per day. If certain conditions are not met, a project manager must implement appropriate actions to resolve any issues.

Today’s world encompasses high number of virtual teams. The scope of the project offers great harnessing of talents from multiple locations. These teams need effective management by project managers to achieve the requirements of the project. Additionally, project managers must be able to assess the abilities and risks associated with having a virtual team.

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