Part I: An Introduction to Virtual Teams Lauren is assigned team leader of a cross-functional team for a very important project to the company. Lauren reviews the profiles of the six team members her boss gave her. She is both intrigued and anxious when she sees that team members are geographically dispersed. Lauren works in the Atlanta office. One team member is in India; another is in Germany; and the rest live in the United States, but in different time zones. Two staff members are in the eastern time zone (Virginia and North Carolina) and two staff members are in the central time zone (Texas and Louisiana). Lauren has never managed a virtual team and is unsure what special skills it will take to be successful. She begins to wonder what competencies are necessary for virtual team leaders and members. She studies the team member profiles and creates a matrix to evaluate each member’s strengths and weaknesses from the perspective of working virtually. She includes herself because she realizes she needs to evaluate her own strengths and weaknesses. Lauren thinks about the challenges and opportunities she will face managing this virtual team. you are to: Analyze the supplied team member matrix. Identify challenges and opportunities Lauren’s team might face. Brainstorm ways to capitalize on opportunities and address challenges. Team Member Matrix Team Member Location (Time Zone) Communication Preferences Virtual experience Strengths Weaknesses Lauren (Team Manager) Atlanta, GA (Eastern) E-mail No Building andmaintaining trust.Performance management and coaching.Networking. Appropriate use of information technology.Developing and adapting standard team processes.Managing across cultures. Santosh Pune, India (GMT+05:30) Instant messaging Yes Interpersonal awareness.Use of technology. Self-management.Project management. John Wilmington, NC (Eastern) Telephone No Networking face-to-face. Use of technology.Spanning boundaries. Joyce Norfolk, VA (Eastern) E-mail Yes Self-management.Project management. Networking. Helga Berlin, Germany (Central European) SharePoint; Webconferencing (with video) Yes Use of technology. Interpersonal awareness.Project management. Adam Dallas, TX (Central) Instant messaging, discussion boards No Networking via technology.Spanning boundaries. Use of technology. Brenda New Orleans, LA (Central) Instant messaging; blogs; SharePoint; e-mail Yes Use of technology.Interpersonal awareness.Networking.Spanning boundaries. Self-management. Part II: Building a Virtual Team Lauren has evaluated the challenges and opportunities that could arise as she manages her virtual team. To mitigate challenges and take advantage of opportunities, she decides to conduct a kick-off meeting next week. She wants to set the ground rules for how her team will operate and present them at the kick-off meeting. What topics should Lauren’s agenda include? Which ground rules should she mandate and which should she negotiate? How will she build relationships and trust during this initial meeting? you are to: Create an agenda for Lauren’s kick-off meeting. Explain why you chose each agenda topic.Describe what technology Lauren might use to conduct the kick-off meeting.Identify ground rules for the team, and propose which ground rules Lauren should mandate and which ones she should negotiate. Recommend ways that Lauren could build relationships and trust during this initial meeting.Part III: Managing Conflict Virtually Even though you presented Lauren with an agenda for the kickoff meeting, along with ground rules, she used the agenda below for the kick-off meeting. She set expectations for status reporting, the technologies to be used, and performance management. The types of communication the team agreed on included e-mail, instant messaging, and web conferencing. The team also agreed to use Microsoft SharePoint to report project status and to create a virtual community for team members to build relationships and trust. Lauren asked all team members to upload their pictures and their résumés to jump-start the community. Lauren’s Agenda: Getting-to-Know-You ActivityTeam Goals and ObjectivesTechnologies We Will Use (open discussion)Virtual Community (pictures and bios)Status ReportingTeam MeetingsOne-on-one meetings Despite setting ground rules, the following conflicts arose within Lauren’s team: Lags in e-mail responses generated mistrust between two team members.One team member complained that the other team members tried to use instant messaging to solve complex problems and resolutions are never reached.There has been an uneven exchange of project knowledge. you are to: Recommend actions Lauren should take now to resolve each of these conflicts.Discuss what Lauren could have done to prevent the conflicts from occurring in the first place. Recommend actions Lauren can take to minimize team conflict in the future.
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