Managing virtual teams spread around the world may appear to be a daunting challenge. It indeed is, unless you have a very well thought and pragmatic strategy. Virtual teams are not as easily accessible as your onsite team. You do have a sense of control but you cannot really be there and physically ensure that the job gets done or that the quality of the job done is not compromised. Managing virtual teams can be a herculean task unless you take the right steps. Here are four simple steps that will always help you to manage virtual teams spread around the world.
- Opt for state of the art time tracking software. There are plenty of those available right now. You may pay hourly or you may pay per project. Regardless of that, you should be able to find out how much time every individual member in the virtual team is putting into your work. There are time tracking software applications that can even record activity on the workstation. Older software will only allow users to log in and log out. One doesn’t really know for sure whether or not someone is actually working and not sitting idle at the workstation.
- You should use web conferencing facilities to correspond. Many people resort to chats, emails and even calls using different software. There are apps that you can use to make calls. These don’t really help if you wish to truly know the scenario at your virtual office. Opt for video calls so you can see the team, how they are prepared for the call, you can see them respond to your questions and you can also see how they go about their work which is essentially for you.
- Schedule a common time slot for meetings. You cannot try and bridge the time gap when you have virtual teams across time zones in different parts of the world. You need one time when all relevant teams will be available. It could be end of shift for one team and the beginning of another team’s shift. It doesn’t matter as long as you get all related teams together and have a session.
- Set deadlines according to schedules. In most cases, one team finishes its job for another to take over and take things forward. There are certain tasks that can be done independently and then they are coalesced later. Set deadlines wisely so there is a little legroom for every team to deliver but harp on simultaneous deliveries.