Hmm… I remember the bad old days and maybe some of you are still living tlhem, getting up early or staying late to call some foreign country.. Do you remember how difficult it was to do virtual offsite team communication and paying the big bucks for trips to get people onsite to really get in sync? Now of course besides project blogs and wikis there is the glory of real time communication in a virtual room. I’m talking about the IRC chatroom channels. Now I can’t imagine trying to hold a virtual team together without one of these. Set your project channel up on the IRC and communicate from home or work, have a bot maintain and monitor it 24 hours round if you like and log all conversations for an easy record for folks who don’t want to scroll back. Real time conversations rule again! Simply clip a peice of code to a scratchpad site for troubleshooting code or diagrams that the whole team can examine. Not to mention if you have some weird problem on just about any technical application on the planet you can often find an IRC channel and chat with the original authors or gurus on the subject who hang out there. Wonder when some companies will finally figure out what they are missing by not using this tool yet. Time to follow the paths blazed by the open source software teams once again and meet experts from all around the planet not to mention have your own invite only project channel there. Of course your spelling will morph into some strange internet speak acronyms but that simply can’t be helped. Of course there are limitations that only face to face can solve best, however, this is certainly the next best thing and typically is way, way better than the old bleary weary early morning phone calls without much of the team present that haunted project managers. Chat on!
2 thoughts on “Pssst… How to keep your international team together”
Yeah you are spot on Kimberly. Companies are so paranoid about security leaks when the much more practical and common risk is that the project suffers from lack or communication or lacks buzz for selling. We all only wish we had something everyone wanted to steal or destroy! Given the relative risk, companies should focus heavily on good team communication and resulting speed to market and leave some of the security paranoia behind or at least get a good bot for that and stop forbidding people the right tools (a bot would be a “software patrolling robot” for your chatroom, yes you can automate much of your security).
Absolutely right! Having a common workspace is vital to a virtual team working through issues together. Unfortunately some teams, even in well-established companies, don’t even have a shared file folder that everyone can access around the world. The reason? Oh, it could be a security risk! Yah, the biggest risk is that they team might actually be able to collaborate effectively! Sheesh! Let’s make common sense common practice and start using the tools that we need to work virtually. – Kimberly Wiefling, Author, Scrappy Project Management