commandments for virtual teams

commandments for virtual teams

when working with virtual teams, the challenges are different. here’s a guide.

use a chat room (jabber, skype, flowdock, hipchat, etc)
use modern tools to share and collaborate on information (google docs, dropbox, wikis – this is not ms office or sharepoint)
establish set hours for all team members to be present when not on vacation
you should establish core hours that never change – 4 hours is best – not less not more
all team members should be in the chat room every day
have a daily standup with all team members every day
ensure that everyone knows the process and follows it (to varying degrees is fine imo)
kick anyone out out of the team who doesnt add value
kick anyone out anyone who doesnt participate and share
kick out trolls, general malcontents and smack talkers
foster a sense of frivolity so that folks can blow off steam – but dont permit trolling or caustic attitudes
you need to have strong technical and product leaders in the chat room making decisions and answering questions real time
do not use email as your primary tool to communicate
do not use official meetings to communicate
keep team members out of meetings – thats the manager’s job (sigh)
encourage autonomy and decision making where its appropriate – folks need to control what they are asked to do
ensure that the team buys into how they are working -they can disagree with details, but they have to feel as if they have freedom and responsibility (eg http://www.slideshare.net/reed2001/culture-1798664)
once you do this you realize that physical co-location is an antiquated practice and only fit for the past – embrace the future