It sounds simple enough to use the same approach for both a virtual and a local team. Reality is completely different. One quickly sees the difference when you do not meet people face to face. You have to adjust just about all of your thinking.
People working in virtual teams, also often have a very different view of how to work. You get the extreme cases of people who need no management to people who need specific instructions. Local teams tend to have people who are more in the middle of these extremes.
The initial adjustment I had to make was to keep in mind that virtual team members work different hours from each other. Your day has to be planned, to make sure that you can see all topics per person very quickly. The reason for that is that you may have a small amount of time to speak. Looking for the topics to be discussed is not always an option. In addition, it may take some time to speak to the person again. You may need the information or get the task done before you speak at a later stage.
People in remote teams chose the working style for a number of reasons. It is important for you to be aware of each person’s reasons. Examples of such reasons are flexability in hours or in some cases the freedom to work on multiple projects at the same time. Understanding each person in your team on this level will allow you to understand how each person can contribute or pose a challenge for each project.
It may be that I have a strong personal opinion, but virtual project teams work best with agile methodologies. The mind set of agile is aligned with the way virtual teams work.
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