In trying to gauge our team’s performance I have looked at the best practice recommendations for participants in virtual teams provided by Flammia, Cleary & Slattery (2016). There are seven main guidelines:
- Identify leaders and define clear roles for team members.
- Create clear guidelines and goals.
- Create feelings of trust, respect and obligation.
- Participate in social- as well as task-oriented communication.
- Reward performance.
- Allocate adequate time.
- Use appropriate technology
There are some areas where we did well: The project manager was excellent at time management, and we always had enough time to do our work (6). The tone of everyone’s posts were always friendly and respectful (3).
In other areas our performance was mixed: We did identify a leader, however there were no clear roles provided for other team members (1). Very clear goals were set, but no guidelines for tasks and processes were established (2). Participants were praised and congratulated on completion of work (5), yet despite general feelings of goodwill, no real feelings of trust or obligation were created.
We did particularly poorly in our use of technology (7), and in social communication (4). While the technology used was ‘appropriate’ to the task, the whole point of this project was to participate in ‘virtual teamwork’, and we really did not leverage the best communication technology in order to create and sustain any kind of team atmosphere or identity. This was also apparent in our complete neglect of socioemotional communication.
In many ways we missed the broader point of the exercise and as a result we have also missed an opportunity: we created documentation but did not create a team.
(Image by Bakerstmd, Creative Commons)