Part 4: Building virtual global teams

After defining in Part 3 that human perspective comes first in a team, we should be aware that virtual global teams are only functional if goals are set, communicated effectively and there is a strong cultural awareness among the teams. Starting from this basis, we now define another important point for building virtual global teams: the parameters for the processes. These can be divided into “new beginning – a team started from scratch” and “expansion – a team added to an existing team”.

For processes with the status “new beginning”, the following contents should be considered:  

  1. The basics: One should start with the expectation that everyone in the team must have an understanding of a wide variety of cultural backgrounds. Although this is not an easy step, the previous homework on cultures can strengthen cooperation and ensure that all team members feel comfortable.
  2. Strong moderators on both sides : In modern software development, people are placed before processes. But it is also important that there is a good balance between processes and people, because this not only leads to a better result, but also provides the necessary balance. The key to this balance are moderators on both sides. On the team side and on the customer side. The role of the facilitator is to identify the strengths of the team and motivate the team. Furthermore, the moderator’s role is to get his teams out of their comfort zone and find suitable solutions.
  3. Stream-lining is the magic word here: Processes should be streamlined as much as possible to enable a faster response to situations. This is made possible by the fact that the moderators are given room to manoeuvre and are not influenced by hierarchical grids. Trust between team members should also be built up beforehand so that cooperation flourishes.

Now we come to the situation that there is already an existing team, which should be extended with an additional team.
What should be considered in this case?

  1. Creation of a team feeling: Time and effort should be invested in team building activities and team connections. This is recommended in the initial phase of bringing together. In this way teams can learn to deal with success and failure together.
  2. Definition of a common language: Each team has its own strengths and communication methods. It is important to use these mechanisms to avoid misunderstandings and miscommunication.
  3. Reviewing goals and KPIs: A regular review of the project objectives/KPIs is essential to understand where and how the teams have developed together. Regular reviews at regular intervals facilitate the identification of challenges and prepare the team during different situations.
  4. The necessary tools for the work: Despite the best technically qualified staff, teams may not be able to work together because the tools provided are not suitable for collaboration. The tools provided should act as catalysts for the teams and not as a barrier. A well-functioning Internet connection, good video and audio facilities and uninterrupted connections make collaboration smoother.
  5. Employees experience: Giving a team what it needs is what makes a team successful. Good mood in the team is achieved by achieving goals, appreciating each other’s input/feedback, giving regular feedback and holding creative brainstorming sessions.

In Part 5, which will follow soon, we will talk even more intensively about the cultures in virtual global teams. Stay tuned!

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