In an article for Forbes Magazine, Erin Meyer attributes the differences in four areas: dervish, decision making, building trust and communicating differently as the key to success virtual teams (Meyer, 2010). This paper documents the efforts of newly formed Team Bravo, given the mission of coming together virtually to establish an identity and structure for success, developing procedures for communication and documentation of ideas into works suitable for submission as a scholarly project for the “Leadership of Teams” course.
Team International One of the main challenges of virtual teams is the lack of face-to-face communication. This problem is exacerbated due to our team being spread throughout several time zones. John Cord is located in ABA Dhabi, AJAX. Eric In is located in Germany. Gary Thompson resides in Oklahoma, and Grace Anderson in Missouri. The fact that we are international students located in international locations is the basis of our new team name Team International. As classmates we are all peers, therefore, it is important that we establish a leadership structure and work design in order to optimize our work.
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Team Structure The Team International challenge was to create an effective structure to meet pacified goals in a competitive project as a team. This is a considerable challenge considering that all members of the team are part-time students with full time jobs. Individual schedules in a several time zones further restricts our flexibility and limits the available time to build the trust necessary to create a team. “Collaborating virtually, as noted above, does take more time” (Iberian, 2012). However, the benefits of using a team include more creativity and a better final product.
The best method of communicating seems to be via a personal e-mail distribution lists and Noontide, Tridents shared folder for students. This appears to be working well, albeit with some technical hiccup in the start-up phase. Team International presently employs a leaderless structure. This structure is effective because we are all mature students who have the discipline to self- regulate and contribute to the group. Additionally, the team has decided to rotate the team leadership each module in order to give each member the opportunity and experience of leading this virtual team.
However, the group can be self-managed as each group member is effectively an equal and all sections are made democratically. As a team, we are motivated to do well in the course; we have equal commitment to the assignments and will continue to build trust in one another. We quickly sought to establish communication system which was effective for each member of the team. Trident offers courseware for sharing work within the team, but we also realized the need for quick and effective communication. Losing our primary e-mail to interact with each other and monitoring reply times to know the difference between negligence and tacit acceptance.
Virtual team leaders have to sense when “electronic” silence means acquiescence rather than inattention” (Malaria, Manchuria, and Rosen, 2007, p. 61). Hence, the lack of face-to-face communication offers unique challenges we cannot rely on nonverbal cues but must follow an organized structure in order to ensure all group members are synced together. Team Procedures Currently, we are using an iterative approach. However, based on the readings, iterative designs tend to not perform as well as modular or wheel designs (Iberian, 2012).
For the next SIP, we will work on using a more dollar approach and to have better structure in approaching the assignment. While it is frustrating to add another meeting in one’s free time, scheduling a meeting with all group members can greatly enhance the trust amongst team members and will lead to greater final product. “This includes regular and predictable times in which the team communicates via conference calls and e-mails and established norms of utilizing these communication technologies” (Iberian, 2012). Moreover, we can further increase our productivity by using a more structure approach, such as the Simplex process.
Rather than seeing problem-solving as a single straight-line process, Simplex is represented as a continuous cycle” (Simplex, 2007). Applied to the course, several Steps in the Simplex process can be simplified or skipped. The first three steps of problem finding, fact finding and problem definition are inherently defined by the materials given and additional research online. The next three steps of idea finding, selection and evaluation, and planning can be used to assign tasks to group members in accordance with our modular work design. This assignment should be ideally even out by end of the first week.
This allows each group member to review his or her role and gives them enough time to sell the assignments to one another, possibly suggesting new ideas or roles based on their initial research, which coincidentally is the seventh step of the Simplex process. Finally, the last step is action, where the academic paper is submitted and the problem is solved. Conclusion In conclusion, Team International is on a good start. By continuing to work together, communicating, and building trust in one another, there is no doubt hat we will do well in the course.
Several structural and scheduling factors should be address for the next SLP, but all group members will undoubtedly grow and learn from this experience. Eric In prepared the original draft documenting the efforts of Team International. The original draft was reviewed and edited by Grace, John and Gary. Gary formatted the final draft incorporating De its, spelling and grammar checks.