Virtual teams are becoming more common as organizations look for ways to reduce costs and get more done with limited resources. Individual and team productivity are a common concern of many managers when implementing this type of remote project work. Task collaboration software can be used to track online team productivity and progress. This type of virtual team management tool facilitates more efficient communication between members of the team. When adding remote resources to your workforce, some initial miscues can be expected or even unavoidable as teams begin to work together in a virtual environment. The biggest adjustment is putting some structure around the communication from and between remote workers. When people are working in the same physical office, they experience the full spectrum of verbal and non-verbal communication. When working remotely, a little more care has to be given to team communication. Collaboration tools make it easier for a virtual project teams to stay current on the most up-to-date and relevant information. Web-based collaboration applications can help close the communication gap that develops when people are working remotely. The additional rigor of utilizing a task collaboration system can help promote maximum productivity from a virtual team.
Task Collaboration Software: Making Virtual Teams Productive and Accountable
Collaboration software facilitates a functional team environment and can be used from any location. Team members and management have access to summary and detailed task information and associated documentation. Tasks can be managed, updated, and tackled in the quickest manner possible, because assignments and priorities can be clearly determined through centralized, real-time information. To gauge a virtual team’s productivity, it is beneficial to use task collaboration software with both co-located teams and virtual teams in order to have actual data as a basis of comparison.
Team members can use a collaboration tool along with any additional software or hardware needed to complete their tasks. Team members log into a central location that provides the tracking needed to report progress and manage ever-shifting priorities. In my opinion, there are a few basic requirements that must be met by these tools in order for virtual teams to be managed effectively.
Important collaboration system requirements for virtual teams
- The system should provide real-time data. When there is one version of the truth, appropriate decisions can be made more efficiently.
- Customizable notifications are also a must. For most corporate and government personnel, the “crackberry” or equivalent is a way of life. Depending on the person’s role, it is critical to be able to customize when or if a person is notified of a task assignment, completion, or the like. It is important for team members to be alerted when an event of relative importance occurs, without having to stare at a screen, waiting for something to happen.
Collaboration applications are very beneficial for any organization considering the use of virtual teams. Virtual working environments cut costs and often result in faster completion of projects through the drastic reduction of interruptions that cripple productivity.
“The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime” -Babe Ruth