Project management Trends – virtual teams

Virtual Teams in the workplace

Virtual Teams will be more Prevalent in companies of all sizes in the near future. From multinational corporations to small business, virtual teams bring cost benefits and productivity not seen before.

The number and size of virtual project teams are increasing.  This trend is gaining steams and we predict that it will be a huge economical force for growth in the foreseeable future.

Instead of companies maintaining all the skills internally or in one location – they are leveraging skills needed for projects where ever the skills reside.

This makes finding the right talent much easier and also reduces the cost of employees tremendously. No longer a company needs to search locally for talent, but search globally for the best talent there is.

More and more companies are going green – allowing their staff and independent contractors to work from home. This trend has created huge push in developing collaboration tools in the industry.

Independent Teams are increasing as well.  We will cover this in the number 3 article in this series.

Independent teams are assembled from employees, contractors, consultants, outsourcing resources, and others for a specific project and only that project.

“As a result, we are seeing a move toward a world that we discussed only as a theory about 10 years ago – ”a world where project teams are assembled, executed, and then disappear”,  says Matt Heusser, founder of Software, Test & Performance Collaborative.

Virtual teams have their challenges and require specific skills related to managing and collaborate remotely.  Remote teams are not challenge-free by any means.

Development, implementation and management of this type of transition from traditional business model of organizational operations to a virtual geographically-dispersed mode require:

  • Exceptional interpersonal skills
  • Strong leadership abilities and
  • The ability to communicate with diverse cultures
  • The right tools to make collaboration feasible
  • Cultural sensitivity when working with diverse cultures
  • Good skills in documenting and communicating all decisions to all members of the group

These are all “soft skills” needed by PMs….so look for more training and coaching in this area as well.

An added benefit of virtual teams is the it bring huge economic benefits for the under developed countries. In areas such as India, China, south east Asia and Africa people employed in virtual teams have great impact on local economy.

These people don’t have an incentive to immigrate to find jobs anymore. The brain drain from third world to industrial world has decreased to everybody’s benefits.

The first article in this series covered new trends regarding  project managers are employed as independent contractors.

The credit goes to Donna Reed in CM Crossroads who originally covered this issue. 

David Robins


David Robins is the founder and CEO of Binfire. David studied at both Cornell and MIT, and was the Director of Software Engineering at Polaroid for 11 years.

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