Virtual Team Collaboration

Last Thursday I participated in a webinar on Virtual Team Collaboration.  It was hosted by Arrow ECS Leadership Series.  Scott Klososky led the webinar describing what he learned in working with Virtual Teams at Lockheed Martin.  He covered how to lead virtual teams and the technology that enables the work.  He started out by explaining the impetus in using virtual teams for various activities.  The main benefits of this were higher productivity, with lower costs and drawing world class talent from any where in the world.

Scott said one of the most important aspects in putting together a team is understanding the personality profiles.  He also spoke about managing a virtual team you need to check in with the team members often and give them smaller tasks.  By breaking the tasks up into smaller chunks you can better understand where team members are on their tasks.  Scott mentioned that this is important when dealing with virtual teams as team members can easily get off track and since they are not co-located it can be devastating.

How to manage virtually
1. Give shorter tasks
2. Manage communication rhythm
3. Hold people accountability to collaboration
4. Constantly drive technology usage
5. Model good behavior

Next he moved to discussing the technology that is needed to foster collaboration in these virtual teams.  The technology platform must enable communication and help people work together.  Mr. Klosoky emphasizes that in a virtual team setting that you must over-communicate as a lack of information can cause distrust.

Generations of Teams 
1.0 – Building
2.0 – Offices and home collaborating
3.0 – Employee and contractor working virtually
Mr. Klosky next describes what he calls the “Generation of Teams” that we have gone through.  The initial 1.0 is where everyone is in the same building.  The next generation or 2.o is where workers in the office and at home are collaborating.  His third generation is one of employees and contractors working virtually to attain a goal.
Scott contrasted today’s teams against the virtual team’s of tomorrow by pointing out that today we value presence, in the future we will value expertise and results more.  This will be enabled by using standard collaboration platforms to enable teams that work from various location.  Some advantages of the virtual teams are that it enables crowd-sourcing.  We can easily and quickly assemble temporary teams.  We can use team members from any where in the world.  Virtual teams would lower costs of office space as well.
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