25 May, 2016

Virtual teams assignment

Today I'm waiting on a bunch of other people. I'm waiting for writers to write, editors to edit, designers to design, consultants to consult etc. Yep, a whole lot of people have something from me on their desk and I'm waiting for them to get back to me. So, after consulting the stick-it list of "things that need working on" beside my computer, I decided to spend a lot of my day working on a follow-up assignment for the workshop I did in Bangkok in February.

Interesting assignment. There's no word limit, no structure given at all, except that it must be related to the course content.

So I wrote nearly 1,800 words about Geographically distant teams (or virtual teams). I don't think I realised how common they are. They weren't mentioned much in the week-long workshop about teams. It frustrated me, because my teams are pretty much all virtual (except my family, I guess). My main team puts together Japan Harvest, and so that's what I've focused on.

After doing a bit of research (actually, not that much, not compared to doing a History Assignment, for example), I discovered there are many types of virtual teams doing many different things in different ways. The variation is stunning. Actually within mission we have many virtual teams, especially in an international mission as large as ours working across East Asia with many sending countries too. It's a pity that the course didn't at least touch on some of the specific challenges of virtual teams.

The strengths relate to cost saving as well as being able to have the best people on the team. They are also more flexible in nature and can make decisions faster. 

Weaknesses include difficulties with trust building, collaboration and even difficulties with conflict. This type of team suits some personalities better than others. You definitely need to be more self motivated and conscientious to work well in a team like this.

Do you or have you work or worked in a virtual team? How do/did you find it?

I quite enjoy the freedom it gives. No commuting is great (except when everyone's home and I have work to do), but I think my favourite part is the flexibility. I don't have someone watching me, I can organise my time how I want or need to. 

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