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Virtual Global Teams and Stakeholder Management

written by: Suba Lakshminarasimhan • edited by: Jean Scheid • updated: 6/2/2011

Through this article, readers will learn 5 key project management elements to be implemented when dealing with virtual global teams and stakeholder management.

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    5 Key Elements to Improve Virtual Global Teams and Stakeholder Management

    Virtual Global Teams, sxc.hu, alexsl Virtual global teams and stakeholder management are not simple tasks. Through virtual global teams, organizations reap great benefits like high end skills at low cost or cost savings on many levels. Most of the time, traditional project issues and conflicts are resolved through in-person meetings. This process cannot be implemented as the virtual global teams work from different geographic locations and in various time zones.

    What can be done to ameliorate virtual project management? Find out 5 key elements in the following sections.

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    1. Instigate Social and Team Work Skills

    We all know that handling traditional projects requires a high level of project and program management skills. Project or program managers find it difficult to collaborate with teams that work from different floors in the same building. Imagine managing a team that works from different places all over the globe. Apart from the time zone, you should also consider various aspects such as skill sets, language, and cultural differences.

    Do you know the key skill that is most required for people to work in a virtual environment? Normally, while selecting a team, the technical skills, subject knowledge and communication skills are reviewed as resources. Beyond subject knowledge and communication skills, the virtual resources must have significant social skills. In order to accomplish project aspirations, teams should be able to collaborate well and understand how to share subject knowledge and core competencies.

    Make sure team members have social skills which can be converted into tremendous teamwork skills. Instigating social and team work skills are an important element you need to consider while managing virtual stakeholders and global teams.

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    2. Develop Self Leadership Skills

    As articulated earlier, manipulating conflicts in virtual project management is an arduous job. Leaders are the ones who can implement their managerial skills to triumphantly meet the project objectives. Since conducting frequent face-to-face meetings is impossible in a virtual team environment, having people with self leadership skills becomes critical to attain success.

    Teams with self leadership skills can:

    • Understand difficulties while working in a virtual environment
    • Identify discrepancies in project management practices
    • Handle cultural differences effectively
    • Find ways to overcome project issues and conflicts on their own

    Hence developing self leadership skills in people is very important while managing teams and stakeholders in a virtual scenario.

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    3. Establish Insights on Global Culture

    Cultural differences make a great impact in achieving virtual project goals. Even within Asia, people from Japan, China and India come with vast cultural differences. The east and west collaboration is common in virtual work places nowadays; it is important for teams to understand the insights of each culture. In a culturally different scenario, it is highly unlikely to have a smooth transition of knowledge and skills. Unless the team comprehends the intricacies of cultures, it is impossible to overcome project challenges and issues.

    This can be achieved by:

    Generating global vision with local insight is key when dealing with virtual global teams and stakeholder management.

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    4. Use Virtual Collaboration Software and Client Management Tools

    Remember that stakeholder management includes managing clients from different locations as well. A high level of technological support is required when handling client requirements and resolving issues virtually. Implement the use of virtual collaboration software and client management tools while practicing project management processes.

    Through these tools, you will be able to:

    • Maintain client records
    • Track jobs, time and resources
    • Manage project documentation, files and folders
    • Create awareness on organization-specific knowledge
    • Monitor all project management processes
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    5. Create Communication Plans for a Virtual Management

    Inappropriate communication spoils processes and in turn affects the success of project objectives. What can be done in this context? Creating communication plans for a virtual team is the best solution available here.

    Communication plans help to:

    • Generate internal and professional branding
    • Maximize the effectiveness of internal resources
    • Resolve client and project issues quickly
    • Establish better processes for recruitment, knowledge sharing, and training
    • Identify gaps in processes and organizational weaknesses

    Communication planning plays a vital role in virtual global teams and stakeholder management.

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    Take Advantage of Cultural Diversity

    It's important to understand how advantageous it is to use diversified expertise from different locations through virtual projects. The project success is feasible only if these 5 key elements are implemented while managing virtual global teams and stakeholders. Taking advantage of cultural diversity is essential to avoid conflicts and attain favorable project outcomes.

    Implement the 5 key elements discussed in this article to improve virtual global teams and stakeholder management and achieve project success.

    References:

    The author holds a PMP Certification.

    Image Credit: http://www.sxc.hu, alexsl

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