Join Bob McGannon for an in-depth discussion in this video Evaluating your remote arrangements, part of Managing Virtual Teams.
Imagine you're the designer of a skyscraper. What would you need to complete the building of your masterpiece? What techniques would ensure it's up to your standards? And how might you make your decisions about the quality of what you built? It is important to consider these questions in the context of a virtual team. I'll talk about when you can use the techniques in this course and when you might want to reconsider using a remote environment. Then I'll discuss some of the trade offs and costs for each.
First, let's talk about when you can consider using these techniques in your remote team. Most of the techniques shared in this course are fundamental and can be applied when you first arrive as a manager or when a new virtual team is created. The thinking behind these strategies and tactics is to build a solid foundation up front and improve it from there. Think about a construction site. You don't build structures from the top down. You invest time and energy into building a strong foundation that can support a massive structure.
Your virtual team is essentially the same. It can be destroyed or made dysfunctional if you don't lay the foundation properly. Next, let's talk about when you might want to consider not using a remote team. Here are elements to evaluate to help you decide. Does the project or role require a lot of in-person client facing work? Is production of materials requiring extensive reviews central to performing the functions of the role? Is what is being produced complex, consistently requiring rich interactions to ensure what you build will actually work? Is there special equipment that the role requires that a home office cannot support? Are there potential security risks that can only be avoided if the employee is in the office? If the answers to more than one or two of these questions are yes, then it might be prudent to deploy a team centrally located in a traditional office.
A side note, a trap that a lot of people can fall into is basing their decision on whether or not it is easier to have an employee in the office versus remote. Hopefully this course has given you some examples and tools to support your success in managing remote employees. Ideally you can choose how to create your team based on what the role requires and who is best for it instead of which is easier. Finally, there are almost always trade offs between using remote versus local resources.
A fairly common one is the quality cost trade off. For example, let's pretend a construction crew for an advanced new skyscraper project in New York City needs training on project management. You might have a candidate with the expertise and the experience who is perfect, but flying him in from LA would put you over budget and/or behind schedule. Another candidate lives in New York, but doesn't have the same level of expertise. However, using him would be within the client's budget.
What do you do? Well, like I said earlier in this course, part of this might be about trusting your gut. The other part might call for you to make a management decision and go with whichever alternative would cause the least amount of negative impact to the project and therefore your client. Regardless if you are building an iconic tower in a major city or constructing a team that will best serve your client, a solid foundation and weighing the trade offs is an important part of the process.
When done well, it can be a historic event and in the context of managing a remote team, it can sometimes feel like one.
Discover how to build rapport, set mutual expectations, communicate, connect, overcome conflict, get work done, and grow the team. Also included is a look at the top five challenges managers face in leading remote teams and helpful solutions that will get your team on track.
Lynda.com is a PMI Registered Education Provider. This course qualifies for professional development units (PDUs). To view the activity and PDU details for this course, click here.
The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.