Selecting personnel for an expat assignment is a critical activity that can have major impacts on the overall outcome of a project. Pick and send the right people and you will have a solid and productive team who will take care of each other and deliver the best project possible, pick poorly and your project outcomes could be very disappointing and personnel will not have a good experience.
I am delighted to say that I have had an article published in ICCPM Connect, the quarterly journal of the International Centre for Complex Project Management. In the piece I discuss some of the attributes and skills needed to successfully lead a virtual team in a large and complex project environment.
This article looks at some of the challenges faced when setting up a new virtual team in establishing and building contact between the locations and the personnel. This first contact can be challenging from a cultural and organisational perspective, with many different barriers blocking what is a vital part of the organisational configuration.
Achieving value from your training budget investment is an ongoing challenge for many projects and businesses, securing the budget is sometimes the easy part, with demands from all corners on its use. This article however argues that at least a portion of a training budget should be spent on leadership and communications skills.
Something as simple as the complexity of language used in teleconferences in virtual teams, particularly those involving personnel for whom English is a second or third language, can lead to confusion and a sense of exclusion. This article argues for the use of a simple project vocabulary to enable all personnel to speak more or less on a level platform.
Understanding how to plan and manage communications across timezones is fundamental to building a stable and reliable virtual team communications plan. As the number of timezones between locations increases, projects find themselves stretching their communications further and further and placing a greater emphasis on written communications over verbal, this in turn leads to a lessening of the quality of communications.
Embedding communications equality in your projects and businesses is particularly important in virtual team environments. Having a conscious and considered approach to maintaining equality in communications will mean your personnel regardless of their geographic location are all able to contribute to the dialogue in your projects and work toward its success.
Communication Silos occur in virtually every organisation and project, personnel get so engrossed in their day to day work they forget to share news and information with those outside of their immediate circle. In virtual teams, communication silos can become particularly destructive as the walls of the silos are defined by the distance between the teams and can be impenetrable to any but the most direct efforts.
Outsourcing has become synonymous with virtual teams for many. As the impact of globalisation and the advance of technology has meant that jobs and workflows are continually changing, relationships are needing to evolve and personnel must adjust to the changes of office dynamics to remain relevant.
Communications is such an important part of business life it is largely taken for granted, but as teams are becoming increasingly distributed, planning for the eventuality that at some stage in your project communications will become disrupted is an important activity for a business or a project to undertake.