The virtual teaming trend is proving to be a powerful solution for delivering IT projects across the boundaries of time and space. Groupware applications—from simple e-mail to collaborative applications—now make it possible for individuals to collaborate on projects while working physically apart, allowing the best players in each field to form a strong team and deliver top-notch solutions. Yet these team members will often face issues such as miscommunication and lack of trust.
How can project managers curtail these issues? And what will it take for a virtual teaming scenario to succeed? Read our coverage of the issue and then join our discussion and tell us what you think.
Collaborating in Internet time
According to Gartner, virtual teams that establish a clear purpose, hold an initial face-to-face meeting, and develop explicit practices will improve their likelihood of success by 50 percent.In “Critical steps to initializing a virtual team,” Gartner analyst Mike Bell examines theorganizational strategies involved in transforming workgroups for the Internet age.
Another Gartner analyst, Matt Light, puts forth his predictions on the future of project management in “Revising the rules of project management to match Internet time.” Light believes three key factors will either make or break Internet-related projects:
- Methodology—Consistent adherence to flexible methodology guidelines can provide 70 percent of application development organizations with a productivity improvement of at least 30 percent within two years.
- Communication—Through 2003, 35 percent of application development project failures will occur because of contractor mismanagement and poor communication among virtual teams.
- Organization—Application development firms should work to identify and train project managers, and use training centers and colleges to build their skills. In addition, project offices—which coordinate across an organization to steer projects—will be established in more than 60 percent of IS organizations by 2003 and will plan and control project resources beyond IS.
TechRepublic has also covered the virtual teaming issue from a product perspective. In “Using the Web for project collaboration,” columnist Rick Freedman reviews eRoom and OnProject, two online pay-as-you-go tools that consultants can use to facilitate the coordination and management of virtual projects. In addition, “E-workplace apps foster collaboration for consulting teams” offers a list of online products that offer capabilities such as e-mail and messaging, whiteboarding, calendaring and scheduling, Web conferencing, task management, group-decision support, and other tools necessary for project collaboration.
“Collaborative applications like eRoom and QuickPlace certainly are cost-justified depending on the complexity of the project and its criticality to the business,” said Gartner’s Bell. “The [benefits] are primarily in time savings, avoidance of project miscommunications, and, of course, travel costs.”
Do you agree with Bell’s view? Is it always beneficial to invest in tools for virtual teaming to complete a project on Internet time? How can savings be proven? What will it take for virtual teams to succeed? Post your comments below.