Program: High Performance Virtual Teams
Speaker: Rick Brenner
Date: November 17, 2016
Time: 5:30-6:00 PM ~ Sign-In, Get Acquainted / Networking and Appetizers
6:00-7:30 PM ~ Evening Program
Location:USM, Portland Campus, Abromson Center, 88 Bedford St, Portland, ME
Pre-Registration: Encouraged but not required. For PMI Maine Members who pre-register, the cost of the event is $5.00; Cost for Non-Member is $10.00. Registration at the door is $20.00 for both Members and Non-Members.
College students attend free if they pre-register online and present a student ID at check-in. Enter the discount code STUDENT when you pre-register on-line.
Directions to the event can be found at http://www.pmimaine.org.
Many people experience virtual teams as awkward, slow, and sometimes frustrating. To some, the term high performance virtual team is an oxymoron. The possibilities of high performance usually evaporate somewhere near the middle of the kickoff telecon. Even when most team members hail from the same nation or culture, and even when they all speak the same language, geographic dispersion or the presence of employees from multiple enterprises can be enough to exclude all possibility of high performance. If a virtual team can deliver the goods within 2x the estimated budget and schedule, some teams and some managers are grateful for almost adequate performance.
The good news is that the problem isn’t that virtual teams are virtual. Rather, the problem is that we lead, manage, and support virtual teams in ways that are too much like the way we lead, manage, and support co-located teams. This is good news because we can change our approach to leading, managing, and supporting virtual teams.
This program gives team leads, project managers, and sponsors the tools and concepts they need to help their teams achieve high levels of performance, and to help them maintain high performance once they achieve it.
This insight-filled program deals with issues such as:
• Do we really need to meet in person for a kickoff? What happens if we don’t?
• What is the effect on virtual team effectiveness of the so-called lean-and-mean policies?
• Compared to co-located teams, why do virtual teams take so much longer to accomplish even the simplest things?
• Do we really have to spend money on travel to support a virtual team? Isn’t the whole point to avoid travel?
• Why are some project managers who were successful managing co-located efforts so much less successful managing virtual efforts?
• Why do our software virtual teams keep asking for videoconference capabilities? They aren’t working on anything you can actually look at…
• Why is conflict on virtual teams so much more difficult to deal with, and so much more common, than conflict on co-located teams?
Here are just a few of the most important learning objectives:
• Understand why virtual teams face more complex operating environments than do co-located teams
• Appreciate the budgetary and schedule consequences of merely-adequate performance in virtual teams
• Understand the need for a basic realignment of expectations and operational practices with respect to calendars and wall-clock time
• Learn how we can increase effectiveness by treating as a project the de-ployment and maintenance of a team’s communications substrate
• How to run a virtual meeting effectively
• Understand the subtleties of remote facilitation
• Understand the elements of Simons’ Four Spans model of high performance
Rick Brenner is principal of Chaco Canyon Consulting (chacocanyon.com/). He works with people in dynamic problem-solving organizations that are making products so novel or complex that they need state-of-the-art teamwork and stronger relationships among their people. In his 30 years as a software developer, project manager, software development manager, entrepreneur, consultant, and coach, he has developed valuable insights into the interactions between people in complex dynamic environments, and between people and the media in which they work.
As a coach, he works with managers at all levels, emphasizing development of interpersonal skills, especially in fluid, high-stress contexts, such as organizations that are moving from a strict operational orientation to one in which ongoing operations must compete for resources with special enterprise-scale projects. Such a mixed environment creates organizational stresses that leaders must understand, not only because of the change-related issues that arise, but also because of the challenges to managers that they create, even when equilibrium is attained.