Friday, June 5, 2009

17 Pointers for Managing Virtual Teams

In this day and age when more and more of our interactions are virtual, it is important to have some guidelines for success. I REALLY like the following 17 Pointers for Managing Virtual Teams provided by Kevin L. McMahan ... I hope they help you with your virtual meetings ...

  1. Engage the team in setting expectations about behavior and performance. Record
    the team's decisions and commitments to each other.
  2. Clearly define member responsibilities.
  3. Use rigorous project management disciplines to ensure clarity.
  4. Consider servant leadership exposure and training for potential team leaders.
  5. Determine, as a team, how conflict will be addressed and resolved.
  6. "Proactive behavior, empathetic task communication, positive tone, rotating
    leadership, task goal clarity, role division, time management, and frequent
    interaction with acknowledged and detailed responses to prior messages
  7. Strive for a good faith effort in complying with the team norms and commitments,
    be honest in team negotiations, and don't take advantage of others or of the situation.
  8. Encourage social communication that accompanies task completion at the outset and
    be enthusiastic in e-mail dialog; look for predictable, substantial, and timely
    responses to members.
  9. Provide more formal communication than in traditional same time/same place
  10. Keep communications in a shared database for use in new member orientation.
  11. Focus knowledge management attention on the tacit as well as the explicit
    knowledge. Document the tacit and embed the process into the organizational
  12. Record and share the "context" when sharing information, preferably with a view
    toward future audiences.
  13. Match desired activities with performance evaluation factors; reward the desired
  14. Build information sharing (knowledge management initiatives) into the
    organization's strategic plan.
  15. For a team cross-cutting an organization's departmental boundaries, develop an
    information system to help translate terms in the subject disciplines.
  16. Encourage and provide feedback on all team activities; listen to it!
  17. Design and integrate tools that fit the team environment; don't force the team to
    adapt its behavior to the "latest" software.

Kevin L. McMahan, from his paper: "Effective Communication and Information Sharing in Virtual Teams"


  1. Very nice post on how to manage virtual teams. I suggest you check out this awesome tool offered by IT Managers especially for people involved in telecommuting.

  2. Working in virtual teams can be really challenging, especially when the teams don't ever meet in person.

    I wrote a few thoughts about this