Virtual Teams and Meetings

Most often we prefer face-to-face communication in project teams. But in today’s world, technology has made it possible for virtual teams to attain the same level of success with respect to project completion as on-site teams. Not working with the client/team on-site may appear to be challenging. But as a scheduler, I have worked with my client on-site and have been working with them virtually on a weekly basis too to create schedules for new projects or update schedules for existing program. Working both on-site and virtual has advantages and disadvantages of its own which I would like to share with you.

For a scheduler, the schedules can be updated based on the progress information provided by the Project Manager (PM) on daily or weekly basis by one or more of the following methods:
           a. Face to face meeting
           b. Web based meeting (like, WebEx, Skype for Business etc.) where the PM can see the impact of updates or revisions on schedule in real time.
           c. E-mail progress
           d. Phone

Face-to-face meeting for schedule updates is an option that is available for on-site scheduling activities, but virtually updating schedules is supported by web based meetings followed by E-mail follow-ups. As a scheduler (i.e., team member) once an individual understands the business process and recognizes their role and responsibility, it becomes easier along with time to virtually communicate with the team. Web based meetings are considerably better than only relaying on phone conversations due to the screen sharing option that allows the presenter not only to explain but also visually assist in what is being discussed. I remember what a professor from the University of Houston during an advanced Project Management class said, “The best form of communication is, Crisp. Clear. Concise.”  This is especially important during E-mail conversations where one might have to explain a certain process, outcome etc.
While, face-to-face meetings provides the luxury of being in the same time zone which allows the convenience of picking a meeting time. With virtual teams selecting a time for meeting can become a challenge. But, this does not restrict virtual teams like on-site teams from addressing issues, risks or emergencies when it occurs during the course of a project with clear and open communication among team members.

In conclusion, even though we prefer face-to-face communication but the evolution of global market and technology has provided us with the liberty to hire talent from across the globe and form virtual teams without compromising on the project outcomes. Therefore, today companies determined to evolve and grow should support the collaboration of virtual team-members with organizations that facilitate and extend their service beyond the restrictions of proximity to deliver a high-quality outcome.

Interested in how EPMA can help you with your project schedules? Looking for a PPM Tool? Does your company want a PMO? Contact us today at 1.888.444.EPMA or [email protected]mainc.com.