Can You Hear Me Now? Working with Global, Distributed, Virtual teams

Whether video chatting with China, or taking a call from home, more and more professional work is no longer in-person. Often, this yields frustration and misunderstanding. However, a deeper look reveals some surprises:
  • Everyone is doing it, and not just for costs
  • Many organizations are thriving with it
  • Most pain points have simple work-arounds
This interactive talk with reveal tips and benefits for working with people outside your office

Outline/Structure of the Workshop

[05 mins] Warmup talk: Overview of trends from offshoring to reverse outsourcing to e-Temping to Work-from-home. Share stats (1 in 5 Americans works from home at least once per week) and case studies (37signals)

[10 mins] Affinity Storming: As a table group, identify all the pain points associated with remote teams, and post each idea as a sticky note on the butcher paper. With half time expired, start grouping the sticky notes into two groups: logistical issues (e.g time zones) vs. human issues (e.g. culture)

[05 mins] Lightning talk on creative tips: Offer a survey of techniques and tips from various sources. A cheat sheet of techniques covered will be handed out to everyone. Examples include:

  • Logistical: Go Multi channel by using 2 projectors + a phone
  • Logistical: Establish 'collaboration hours' to focus meetings during one block of time
  • Logistical: Use language translation tools and IM to overcome language anxieties
  • Human: Establish team norms around full transparency of personal contributions
  • Human: Configure notifications whenever work is updated or checked in
[10 mins] Paring ROUND 1: Find a partner, and then share your most pressing issue. Using the information provided in the lightweight talk, and in cheat sheet handout, offer one or two suggestions for each other's issue.

[10 mins] Paring ROUND 2: Let's say your recommendation was either rejected by management. Find a new partner, and together offer one or two fresh new suggestions for each other's issues.

[5 mins] Debrief, Dismiss, and Time Buffer


Learning Outcome

  • Understand the business drivers and advantages of distributed teams, beyond cutting costs
  • Understand the progression from Coordinating to Cooperating to Collaborating
  • Understand practical tips related to both logistical element and the human element
  • Understand which pain points can you overtly change, which you can influence, and which will you simply have to absorb

Target Audience

Project Managers, ScrumMasters, Managers, Executives


schedule Submitted 5 years ago