4 Keys to Manage Virtual Teams
Words by M. Rahmatullah (Batch 5 – Makassar)
Nowadays, working become more flexible in terms of time and place. You can even work without going to the company office like usual or we know it as working remotely. This style of working has some benefits and challenges to cope, especially when you’re working as a team.
We also face this challenge in XL Future Leaders as sometimes we have project assigned by our facilitator. We need to work on it remotely since we lived in a different province or island, that means that we work as a virtual team. I’ve been through two projects as a virtual team. I’d say that there is love and hate relationship going on when you’re working in a virtual team.
These are strategies that I apply to successfully manage my virtual teams:
- Set Clear and Acclamation Rules
First thing you should do is creating rules and expectations. This rule is going to be your guideline. The rules that you’re going to create is actually a set of rule from your team-members suggestions, in this point you have to be open to all of your team member suggestions. At times, we need to negotiate it until you come across an agreement from all of your team member to decide the rules that you’re going to apply. It’s important to make sure that all of the rules that produced are approved by your team.
The rules could be vary such as being 15 minutes earlier to online when you have a meeting, no Baper, don’t let any questions left unanswered for more than 5 hours, etc. When you work remotely, it is very hard to control your team members, that is why creating a rule will indirectly help you to control and manage your team members.
- Ensure Everyone has Specific Role
Creating clarity like specific role to all of your team members will give you a sense of productivity especially when you want to delegate a task or distribute tasks. Giving a role will also make your team members have responsibility for the project and a clearer direction on what they’re going to do.
Depending on what kind of project you’re working on, the role can be various for every team member. As an example, during Growth Hacking challenge for smartphone application, maybe you will need roles such as Project Manager, Product Manager, QA Manager so on and so forth.
- Pick Powerful Tools
Tool is a weapon in the virtual team management skills. My advice would be making sure you choose the best tool in which your team members know and comfortable in utilizing it. Pick tools you only need because sometimes too many tools also not going to be effective. In my case, I used Line Group to communicate, meeting in form of conference call. I used Google Docs for collaborate in documents and Google Drive to file sharing. There are so many tools (paid and free) out there that you can use to communicate, collaborate and coordinate with your team members.
To communicate you can use:
- Line Group
- WhatsApp Group
- Facebook (not preferred)
- Slack, so on and so forth
To collaborate, here are my favourites:
- Google Docs, spreadsheet, slide
- Github, gitlab, bitbucket (for developer)
- Microsoft office 365, so on and so forth
To coordinate and management I would recommend:
- Redbooth, so on and so forth
- Schedule Regular Meeting
Regular meeting will give you information about team progress and also a report from all of your team members. Meeting regularly is believed to reduce stress and put the team at ease because everyone will be familiar with each other’s pace. Regular meeting also a medium to create bonding, engagement and chemistry between each other which is the best ingredient to boost team performance.
Aside from that, creating daily/weekly goals or checklist will help the team to stay abreast of the assignment. Even little progress is beneficial better than nothing. The objective to setting a weekly/daily target is to keep the performance of the team. When you fulfill the target, you will feel the sensation which will boost you to achieve more. But when you set a goal, make sure it’s achievable or have criteria to be called SMART goal otherwise it will give your team a burden and dissatisfaction when you can’t achieve the target.
However, face-to-face meeting will be much different than working virtually. If it’s possible to meet in person then you should do it. It will help you to finish somethings faster and effectively.
Thanks for reading this article. Connect with me on Instagram @muh_rahmatullah and let me know what you say about virtual teams.