Virtual Teams – Really!

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Meetings are often held in conference rooms Business School (The Office)Image via Wikipedia

What they should have told you before you made that decision to get your software development done by virtual teams OR What they did not tell you at Business School.

Things not to do to your Virtual Team Members.

1> Do not have long meetings or conference calls scheduled in the evening. You may be fresh and cheery after a good night’s sleep and that coffee you just had might have given you the much needed caffeine boost but all I want to do is go home to my home-made dinner , some relaxation and a much needed good night’s sleep after working though the day to meet your unrealistic deadlines and after being stuck in a tiny cubicle in an uncomfortable chair for the best part of 10 hours.

2> Do not drone your way through a one-to-one chat on the phone. I will consider it an invitation to take a quick nap with my eyes wide open.

3> Do not vent your frustrations by yelling into any of the employees speaker phones. The ones you are apologetic with are seated as far as possible from the speaker phone with bemused expressions on their beatific countenances and the ones bearing the brunt are the employees sitting late trying to meet the unrealistic deadlines again. The last thing they need is a demonstration of your insensitivity. Conference calls and by this I imply all calls taken through the speaker phone are to be taken in a conference room or through head-phones so as not to disturb other working employees. Else they will decide that they need another coffee break after returning from one!

A phone made specifically for conference call.

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4> Do not expect that the low resolution video relay from the conference room is able to transmit your joie de vivre or beneficence. Straining to make out your expressions, especially when you think you have cracked a joke, is an exercise in futility.

5> Do not think you know me just because you know someone who knows me. That just implies that you know of me, not that you know me. Take the time to get to know your virtual team members. People heed physical cues and if you cannot get that to work, then have either developers work in pairs or have each new member assigned a mentor who will show them the ropes and especially navigate the office politics. Expecting someone to perform by throwing them in at the deep end is unrealistic! Swim or sink works only if the person can swim! Else you will just be a scratchy voice and an unclear caricature!

6> Do not think on these lines. “Why bother? Let’s just be transactional. It’s a job, you get paid, we pay you and that’s about it! And I know you guys, you just want to get here!” And though there may be some element of truth in that, you should also realize that my job description does not say that I HAVE TO LIKE YOU!

7> Finally, if you make a point of believing hearsay, you should remember that your employees are even more prone to believing hearsay. They may not have had the privilege of learning HR and Organization Development. So COMMUNICATE, COMMUNICATE, COMMUNICATE!

Have a great day!

Software Development Advice from a Mug

Image by Ben Ward via Flickr

Personally, I don’t think there’s intelligent life on other planets. Why should other planets be any different from this one?Bob Monkhouse


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The being cannot be termed rational or virtuous, who obeys any authority, but that of reason. –Mary Wollstonecraft, reformer and writer (1759-1797)


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