Managing Virtual Teams: Effective Practices and Technology Resources
Gary Woodill Ed.D | Director, Research and Analysis | Brandon Hall Research Chris Downs, MAPW | Researcher and Writer | Brandon Hall Research

Table of Contents

Brandon Hall Research is Independent, unbiased, and objective............................ 4 Introduction.............................................................................................................................................. 7 Part 1 – Pros and Cons of Virtual Teams............................................................................................ 9 Benefits of Virtual Teams..............................................................................................13 Issues in Managing Virtual Teams...............................................................................14 Part 2 – Effectively Managing Virtual Teams ...................................................................................20 Leading Virtual Teams...................................................................................................21 Creating Virtual Teams ..................................................................................................25 Facilitating Trust in Virtual Teams ...............................................................................27 Managing Virtual Teams ...............................................................................................29 Part 3 – Research on the Effectiveness of Virtual Teams..............................................................33 Summary: Success Factors for Managing Virtual Teams ........................................36 Part 4 - Technology for Supporting Virtual Teams...........................................................................39 Web Collaborative Software .........................................................................................40 Project and Team Management Software .................................................................48 Conferencing and Meeting Software...........................................................................51 References.............................................................................................................................................57

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How We Make Money Brandon Hall Research makes money by selling research publications (in various forms such as reports and KnowledgeBases) and consulting services. unbiased. June 2009 Do not reproduce 4 . We do not charge award winners to use their award in marketing. That way. customers can judge our integrity for themselves. Participating organizations provide factual information only. We do not benefit in any way from the sales of any products included in our publications or services. We do not charge different prices to vendors and users. • • • Our consulting clients include both user organizations and vendor organizations. What We Don’t Do • • • • • • • • • We do not charge vendors (or any organizations) to be included in any of our publications. We do not provide leads to vendors or assist them in selling. and by selling advertising in some of our publications and sponsorships of some of our events. We believe that the way we make money allows us to be independent. and objective We believe that it is important for a research firm to be transparent about how it makes money. We do not serve on the boards of any learning-related companies or benefit financially from the success of any learning-related company. User clients typically engage us to advise them on technology purchases and implementation strategies. We invite you to judge for yourself. We do not charge vendors (or any organizations) to quote from our publications in press releases.Our Statement of Independence Brandon Hall Research is Independent. We do not permit any company to sponsor research or a publication in which it is also participating as a subject. We do not allow vendors (or any organizations) included in our publications to make evaluative statements about themselves. We also invite you to contact us with any question about our business relationships or sources of revenue. unbiased. workshops. and an awards program. Vendor clients typically engage us to advise them on marketplace trends or to speak about industry trends at vendor functions. by operating conferences. and objective.

In addition.About the Authors Gary Woodill began as a classroom teacher in 1971. and has been involved with the use of computers in education since 1974. and in 1985. In 1993. Gary presents workshops and Webinars on the topics he is researching. He can be reached at gary@brandonhall. In 1998. he started the first course for teachers on computers in education at Ryerson University in Toronto. Gary received a doctorate in applied psychology from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto.com. In 1984. when he was introduced to the PLATO system for computer-assisted instruction. June 2009 Do not reproduce 5 . he designed an adaptable learning management system and has developed more than 60 online courses for various corporate clients. he co-founded an educational multimedia company that developed educational CD-ROMs for children. Gary is director of Research and Analysis at Brandon Hall Research where he writes reports on emerging learning technologies.

com . June 2009 Do not reproduce 6 . Christina lives in Western Pennsylvania with her husband and two children. She can be reached at chris@brandon-hall. technical writing. in professional writing from Carnegie Mellon University.A.S in electrical engineering from the University of Pittsburgh. Her career has included editing. Christina is also author of the book Simply Balanced: Bible “Contradictions” Teach Balanced Living. Christina’s education includes an M. and Web copy. a B.Christina Downs is an editor for Brandon Hall Research. where she has worked on elearning reports. proofreading. newsletters.A. in English writing from the University of Pittsburgh. and a B. knowledgebases. and publishing.

we have experimented with many other information and communication technologies. team members primarily communicated through telephone conferencing and e-mail. In using these tools. In our organization. and. we have experimented with various ways of connecting the members of our virtual team.0 technologies. but it is not without its difficulties. micro-blogging (Twitter and Facebook). we have been working as a virtual team for a number of years. and the technological resources that are needed to support this type of organization.Introduction Brandon Hall Research understands first-hand the benefits and difficulties of managing virtual teams. to appoint someone to chair each meeting. to follow an agenda. At Brandon Hall Research. Although we are headquartered in California. video conferencing (between two members at a time only). In the past two years. Along the way. social networking software (Ning). the process of setting up and managing a virtual team. the research on the effectiveness of virtual teams. and many issues enter into this success. we have seen that it’s important to allow social time with each other before working online. Every team member needs to be committed to making the company and the professional relationships succeed. blogging (using WordPress). one researcher even worked from New Zealand. we have embraced “cloud computing” by using a number of collaborative programs — such as Google Docs — and by realizing the importance of maintaining a common calendar that is accessible to all. supplemented by face-toface meetings at conferences or other events throughout the year. A few years ago. virtual world environments like Second Life. we have moved to Web 2. In particular. for about a year. instant messaging (chat). such as voice over IP (VoIP) conferencing using Skype and Saba’s Centra platform. and to follow up each team June 2009 Do not reproduce 7 . and wikis. Using a virtual team approach has worked well for us. Most recently. we have learned that merely accessing a variety of technologies is not enough for a virtual team to operate smoothly. many of our staff members are located across the United States and Canada. This research report looks at the advantages and disadvantages a company faces in using virtual teams.

to review the research on the effectiveness of virtual teams. This report is designed to accomplish the following: to pass on the insights of our experience operating as a virtual team. we function very well. June 2009 Do not reproduce 8 . The senior analysts are always on the lookout for new tools that could help our virtual team function better and that also would lead to lower costs and higher efficiencies. We are not perfect at these duties and are still learning as we go. rather. including their rewards and pitfalls. particularly experimenting with new approaches and technologies. and to suggest the best practices and processes if you are considering setting up a virtual team within your organization. These actions help ensure camaraderie and accountability. It helps that the members of our virtual team are open to change. will improve your confidence as you begin. we don’t adopt them for their own sakes. but. we examine them in terms of their impact on the company’s business. as a virtual team. While we also research and write about these technologies. Understanding more about how successful virtual teams work.meeting with proper documentation and action items.

Each relationship is itself part of a larger network of relationships. existing simply as a set of Web pages and outsourced services. some companies are 100 percent virtual.” “distance workers. Michael Schrage (1995) suggests that the concept of a team as an organizational structure with set roles may be outdated.” Sometimes they are also called “offsite teams. “hollow firms” maintain a small staff in a central office.” “computer-supported cooperative workgroups. who often reside in different geographical places and have to use for co-operation means of ICT [information and communications technologies] in order to span the boundaries of time and space. groups of employees who work together on a shared project. For them. He says “the real basic structure of the workplace is the relationship. These relationships can be measured along all kinds of dimensions – from political to professional expertise. In this research report.” “telecommuters.” “remote teams. most virtual team members do occasionally meet face-to-face. the amount of informational value provided by such tools.Part 1 – Pros and Cons of Virtual Teams Although they may not use the actual term. and the synchronicity of team member virtual interaction” (Kirkman and Mathieu.” In 2005.” “offsite employees. Next in the continuum. the same authors defined “team virtuality” as “the extent to which team members use virtual tools to coordinate and execute team processes.” While using electronic tools is a necessary part of the definition of virtual teams. The fact is that work gets done through these relationships. 2005). we consistently use the term “virtual teams” to describe these groups of employees. Kirkman and Mathieu (2004) define virtual teams as “… groups of workers with unique skills. from a distance using information and communications technologies (ICT).” “teleworkers.” and other terms. The degree of virtuality – or “virtualness” – is the basis of Helms and Raiszadeh’s (2002) classification of virtual firms. but outsource all non-core functions to achieve a competitive advantage “by seeking economies within June 2009 Do not reproduce 9 . are known as “virtual teams.

but we also connect at other locations. and still access all the information you need to carry out your tasks. libraries. current structures. The world of work has truly become portable. “virtual offices/teams” are those without a central physical location for each employee. most staff members work from home most of the time. and coffee shops. At Brandon Hall Research. where workers use telecommuting to complete part-time virtual work. Inputs Processes Produced Outputs People Independent Shared Members Purpose Cooperative Goals Links Multiple Media Leadership Integrated Levels Interdependent Concrete Tasks Boundarycrossing Interactions Results Trusting Relationships Figure 1: Virtual Team System of Principles (From Virtual Teams. One reason we consider ourselves a virtual team is because we share all the characteristics of a virtual team. as enumerated by Lipnack and Stamps (1997) in their publication of the principles of virtual teams (Figure 1). This is also known as “hoteling” because space at the central office is temporary and interchangeable.the basic. Lipnack and Stamps. 1997)   June 2009 Do not reproduce 10 . while the firm’s employees either entirely work at home or are fully mobile (working from hotels or vehicles and visiting the central office “hotel” on occasion). such as conferences. so an employee’s location is not a critical factor in whether a person can work or not.” Finally. universities. This is the goal of cloud computing: that you can work from any location. at the far end of the scale.

Many of us are also involved in communities outside the company. this requires a new management mindset that breaks away from the traditional command-and-control management of teams to a much looser management style that encourages cooperation and sharing responsibilities among all members of the team. Even while individuals work together and separately on shared tasks. and we deliver concrete results (such as this report.People working on common tasks or in the same professional field who voluntarily get together to share experiences and knowledge. At Brandon Hall Research. We cooperate on shared goals. many of which can be seen as communities of practice. our learning tool knowledgebases. • Community of practice teams . We are connected to one another through various media (Internet. knowledge sharing networked professional communities” that foster collaboration and spread best practices. within our organization. we attend a monthly company meeting to socialize and exchange relevant information among those who work for the company. Lipnack and Stamps (1997) would certainly consider our organization a virtual team. At the same time.Usually made up of managers or senior analysts with responsibilities for specific functions in the organization. we do hold different kinds of virtual team meetings. virtual teams can connect “islands of knowledge” into “self organizing. etc. similar to those identified by Kimball (1997): • Executive teams . • Project teams . our personal interactions cross state and time-zone boundaries every day to accomplish our work. we depend on each other to complete tasks. or the Brandon Hall Webinar series).Groups created around a specific task where members are selected for their expertise and that function for the life of the project. In these ways and others. and we trust each other to produce agreed-upon deliverables.).Brandon Hall Research employs independent team members who share accountability at integrated levels of production. cell phone. To quote Geisler (2002): June 2009 Do not reproduce 11 .

virtual teams can be viewed as building blocks for organizational learning. June 2009 Do not reproduce 12 . Because virtual teams work at a distance. Team organizations have created work structures that are more democratic and flexible with a common mission of sharing responsibility for results and decisions between management and workers … Self-managing teams are said to be the key to leaner and more flexible organizations capable of adjusting rapidly to changes in the environment and technology. Hard work was encouraged more than a balance between work and home life. teams rely on employee empowerment rather than management control and direction. For example. Duarte and Snyder (2007) list the types of virtual teams by the kind of work they do: • • • • • • • Networked teams Parallel teams Project or product development teams Work. Employees’ roles and responsibilities tended to be specialized and information typically went to management rather than to employees. or production teams Service teams Management teams Action teams Alternately.”  Other views suggest different ways to categorize virtual teams. the work of a team is usually recorded. Rules and auditing processes were important means of control. this can be added to the repository of an organization’s knowledge base. functional.“The Industrial Age was characterized by hierarchical organizations that relied on management direction and organizational departmentalization to provide order and consistency. Conservative improvements tended to be the norm because organizational controls typically inhibited risk taking … Unlike rational organizational structures of the past.

virtual teams have become almost indispensable for businesses. Mastering Virtual Teams.Benefits of Virtual Teams As companies become more global and operate in dispersed geographic areas. not just physical location” (Gould.” contend Duarte and Snyder in their 2007 book. 2006).. influenced the way people work. Virtual teams make businesses more flexible in that virtual teams can adapt rapidly to changing circumstances. et al. reducing workspace costs. For example. developing products more efficiently. The use of virtual teams has become a common way of doing this. more efficient work. improving access to global markets. 2006). more productive -. providing better customer service. Virtual teams generated new modes of communication that have. among others: • • Expertise (finding the best people without limiting hiring to specific locations) Economic (faster/shorter projects. and increase speed. increasing productivity.” In summary. In many cases. virtual teams provide the following benefits.and more satisfied and loyal – employees) • • Flexibility/adaptability (changeable teams in a changing world) Environmental (fewer employees driving to and from the office) June 2009 Do not reproduce 13 . The expertise needed to fulfill a company’s mission can now be drawn from almost anywhere in the world. Economic benefits of virtual teams include reducing the amount of time needed to complete a job. “Gaining competitive advantage in a global environment means continually reshaping the organization to maximize grants. address threats. “The goal is to leverage intellectual capital and apply it as quickly as possible. “People can be recruited for their competencies. less expensive workspaces. and benefiting the environment due to reduced travel (Horwitz. physical disabilities also become irrelevant because of an employee’s ability to work from home in a virtual team. reliable asynchronous communications allow team members to work different shifts in a continuous workflow. in turn.

We are just beginning to learn how to manage the complexity of virtual teams. Often mediocrity is taken for granted.Issues in Managing Virtual Teams Despite the many benefits. The 2004 review of the literature on virtual teams by Powell. Beyerlein et al. revealed a number of issues that practitioners should be aware of in setting up and managing a virtual team.” (p. so it should not surprise us that a number of issues or problems can arise from these new forms of organizational collaboration. trust. and some fail at their tasks. These issues include the following: • June 2009 Do not reproduce 14 Initial design and composition of the team . rather. shared understanding. Most problems don’t stem from the fact that virtual teams use technologies for maintaining contact but. In fact. 2003). culturally challenged. team skills. resulting in multiple reporting relationships for each team member. Consequently.” Virtual teams can be “communication challenged. from the changing nature of how the teams function in the workplace. and task challenged” (Malhotra. as many teams have little awareness or understanding of what constitutes optimal performance. et al. not all virtual teams perform well. with members distributed throughout the organization and beyond. Nemiro et al. there are many causes of poor performance. employees may be part of several different teams. time. there is no investment in improving the effectiveness of the commonly agreed on critical success factors needed for team success -. and the varied support systems that provide facilitating organization contexts for team activities. drawn entirely from within an organization. culture. 32) Gerda Mihhailova (2007) notes that “turning ordinary teamwork fully (or at least partially) into virtual teamwork introduces a whole new range of problems for managers. (2008) say the following about the failure of virtual teams: “… individuals who collaborate in teams do not always achieve their goals. and leadership. Teams are no longer fixed entities. Such teams may form and reform continuously. technology.elements such as team structure and process. in varying geographical locations. Instead. (2008) identify the six major challenges of virtual teams as distance.

Initial design and composition of the team . shared norms. Teambuilding exercises.• • • • • • • • • • • Cultural differences among team members Technical expertise and its effect on team performance Training Relationship building Team cohesion Trust among team members Communications Coordination Task-Technology-Structure Fit Team performance Satisfaction of team members Let’s briefly look at each of these factors. and satisfaction.Consistent training among all team members improves the team’s performance. Training . Early training also can foster cohesiveness. and can create obstacles to effective communication. teamwork. and can improve the quality of decisions. trust. Cultural differences among team members . commitment.Cultural differences among team members can lead to coordination difficulties. Technical expertise and its effect on team performance .Teams need to develop a shared language and a shared understanding of the team tasks.Lack of technical expertise and the inability to overcome technical problems negatively impact an individual’s satisfaction with the team experience and negatively impacts performance. and a clear team structure all contribute to the success of a virtual team. June 2009 Do not reproduce 15 .

Developing trust is a big issue in virtual teams. this can change. differences in interpreting text. and the omission of nonverbal cues. Coordination difficulties have been attributed to working across time zones. many members initially assume the others are trustworthy unless indicators suggest they are not.” Task-Technology-Structure Fit – It is important to ensure a good fit between the tasks assigned to a virtual team and the technologies available to them. Communications . Team performance – Most studies show little significant difference between the performance of virtual teams and face-to-face teams. virtual June 2009 Do not reproduce 16 . At least one study has shown that women in virtual teams receive greater team cohesiveness compared with men in virtual teams.Coordination has been linked to virtual team performance. in virtual teams. members need to be excellent communicators.Relationship building . such as routine analysis or monitoring the status of a project. however. It also helps if team members send social communications among themselves in addition to task-oriented messages. and including members with “divergent mental models. Interestingly. as it is often hard to assess the trustworthiness of team members if you have never met them.Cohesion among team members has been associated with better performance and greater satisfaction of team members.For virtual teams to work well.Compared to traditional teams. the lack of a common frame of reference. mixing different cultures. It has been found that electronic communications are best suited for more structured tasks. trust needs to develop quickly. especially if face-to-face meetings also occur among team members early in a project. For many virtual teams. Team cohesion . in one study. Communications can be more difficult in virtual teams because of the challenges of time delays in sending feedback. Coordination . and the difficulties that virtual teams face have been studied extensively. However. Over time. members of virtual teams generally report weaker relational links to other members of the team. Trust among team members .

teams generated more ideas than traditional teams. On the other hand, virtual teams often take longer to reach decisions. Satisfaction of team members – The results on this factor are mixed, with some studies showing greater satisfaction for each type of team. Satisfied virtual team members were more likely to have been given training and used more communications methods than those team members who felt less satisfied. DeRosa, et al. (2004) say that “… the lack of physical interaction results in reduced verbal, social, status cues that are typically present in face-to-face (FTF) communication.” This occurs due to the difficulty in creating a sense of “shared space” with virtual teams. Leadership issues can arise, as many virtual teams form for short periods of time and witness many changes in membership. Virtual team managers need to learn new skills, including new ways to monitor employees, provide feedback, and resolve conflicts. Team building exercises seem especially important for managers of virtual teams to master. Because virtual team members rarely see each other during meetings, members can often be multitasking. Christina Wasson (2004), an anthropologist who studied multitasking in virtual groups, contends that both merits and problems arise when virtual team members multitask during online meetings. She suggests that multitasking can be used in the following circumstances: 1. Multitasking enhances employee productivity when it uses an employee’s extra attention, which would otherwise not be used by the meeting, taking advantage of additional attention resources previously unavailable (in an onsite meeting or during regular work). Essentially, employees do more work than would be possible in either situation alone. 2. Multitasking does not diminish the productivity of a meeting as long as employees make the meeting their first priority and only place excess attention into other activities.

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According to Wasson, “under these two conditions, multitasking enhances the productivity of the organization as a whole.” Additional conditions for multitasking include the following: 1. When other activities, which are considered barriers between the virtual meeting and the participant’s local space, are performed appropriately, then these activities in the local space will not interfere with the meeting. 2. The individual’s personal skill at multitasking needs to be adequate to his or her tasks. 3. Multitasking only succeeds when the meeting activity does not absorb the full attention of the participant. 4. The topic of the meeting conversation must be less critical to the hearer during those times when he or she engages in multitasking. 5. Multitasking is effective when the individual is unexpectedly faced, in his or her local space, with a high priority claim on his or her attention that he or she can deal with quickly. As seen above, the practice of multitasking provides benefits when it is done in a way that does not interfere with the primary meeting or when it accomplishes other unexpected high-priority tasks. This leads into the following merits typically observed from multitasking during virtual team meetings: 1. Employees who are multitasking tend to be more productive. 2. Additional work is accomplished. 3. Team members have no idea other work is being done, so no one feels they are being ignored, as can happen during onsite meetings when a member’s attention wavers. 4. Team members tend to feel less bored during meetings, an issue that also can be addressed by more effectively designing and holding meetings, whether onsite or online.

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5. Employees may feel as though they accomplish more, lessening the stress of a heavy workload – in turn, helping the person work more calmly with less stress. Unfortunately, these merits can be nullified by some of the following disadvantages of multitasking: 1. Meeting participants forget to put their phones on mute. 2. Meeting participants’ attempts at multitasking exceed their personal skills to distribute their attention, leading them to miss points and slowing down the meeting. 3. Meeting participants give too much of their attention to local office activities, with too little attention left to adequately attend to the meeting. 4. Meeting participants fail to notice an important topic, or fail to pay more attention to meeting topics at which they are the experts. 5. Meeting participants do not properly assess the relative importance of competing claims on their attention. Wasson then suggests solutions to each of these five problem areas. One solution to all of the problems discussed above is to effectively use information technology to support the way virtual teams function. Malhotra (2004) lists four ways the IT department can support how virtual teams function: • • • • Support for task coordination Support for external activities Support for distributed cognition Support for interactivity

In summary, while virtual teams differ from traditional teams in important ways, and, while problems arise, these differences and problems can usually be overcome with effective leadership, ongoing management, individual accountability, and appropriate technology.
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They are often called on to play both a team member and a leader role simultaneously. and personal responsibility is critical for a virtual team to work successfully. and they may be part of more than one virtual team. Nemiro et al.Part 2 – Effectively Managing Virtual Teams Effectively managing virtual teams starts with leaders who can confidently lead without being overly involved in every detail of a project. trust. (2008) comment: “Virtual team leaders operate in different conditions than leaders of traditional code located teams. This combination of flexible leadership. That is because the members of virtual teams need to be trusted to do much of the work on their own. and to be able to manage their time and tasks without extensive supervision. with a leadership role in one and a member role in another … researchers have found that effective virtual team leaders need to perform multiple leadership roles simultaneously.” June 2009 Do not reproduce 20 .

from both sides. a multitude of interconnected problems that can develop into crises without warning. This represents a fundamental shift in how learning occurs. as we move from a model of instructor-led teaching of individuals to one of learner-led finding. and are constantly changing. et al. we require them to navigate June 2009 Do not reproduce 21 . status cues that are typically present in face-to-face (FTF) communication. doing.0 technologies has been the change in emphasis from individual learning to team-based collaborative learning. With this increased responsibility comes the need for both managers and individuals to recognize. all leaders need to continually evolve. the more sophisticated leadership must become. part of the shift from Web 1.” This occurs because it is difficult to create a sense of “shared space” with virtual teams. these differences. “We demand that [leaders] solve. With this shift. and collaborating in small groups. as many virtual teams form for short periods of time and witness many changes in membership. and individuals are given even more responsibility for managing their own work. requires a different approach or touch. when manager support or intervention is necessary. Leadership issues can arise. “… the lack of physical interaction results in reduced verbal. especially those in virtual worlds.Leading Virtual Teams DeRosa. provide feedback.0 to Web 2. regardless of whether they are virtual or onsite. Compared to face-to-face teams. in his influential book. and even embrace. states. virtual leadership involves fostering the leadership of others. or at least manage. and resolve conflicts. the old image of a “seasoned warrior” leading the troops into battle simply no longer works. Leading in a Culture of Change. (2004) say that. including new ways to monitor employees. Michael Fullan (2001). managing virtual teams. For example. Because problems in today’s society have become so complex. “The more complex society gets. Virtual team managers need to understand. As Thomas Homer-Dixon (2000) wrote in The Ingenuity Gap. for virtual teams. Even further. but about providing direction and support to team members when and where it is needed. Virtual team managers need to learn new skills. social.” Leadership in virtual worlds is not about traditional “command and control” structures.

information. 2007). and resources for the team to get the job done • Results catalyst: Help the team improve performance and achieve positive results Leadership is “mobilizing people to tackle tough problems” (Heifetz. Leadership is active and diverse. we submerge them in often unhelpful and distracting information. 1994). 15) Leading a virtual team takes a special person with multiple skill sets.” Leadership is not a set of traits. we buffet them on every side with bolder.an increasingly turbulent reality that is. According to Michael Fullan. and we force them to decide and act at an ever faster pace. but also retains common elements across companies. literally incomprehensible to the human mind. (2008) suggest that effective leaders of virtual teams must carry out at least six different roles in doing their jobs: • • Living example: Serve as a rare model of effective virtual teaming Coach: Help team members develop their own potential and ensure accountability in others • Business analyzer: Translate changes in the business environment and opportunities for the organization • • Barrier buster: Open doors and run interference for the team Facilitator: Bring together necessary tools. it is a way of doing. in key aspects. true leadership contains the following five components: Moral purpose – Doing good is good for business. Both definitions of leadership use active verbs – “mobilize” and “influence. June 2009 Do not reproduce 22 . It is also “a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal …. more powerful special interests that challenge every innovative policy idea. Nemiro et al. leaders need to remember that organizations are communities of humans. [a] transactional event that occurs between the leader and his or her followers” (Northouse.” (p.

” Creating and sharing knowledge involves storing it. helping a team sort out what is happening. and social skills. understand the context of an issue. and infusing the embodiment of knowledge in products. motivation. services. identifies three important decisions that any leader must make: 1. disseminating it. Leaders expect and know how to cope with both. Kogler Hill (2007). and systems. Coherence making – In the end. and move in a specific direction to solve a problem. empathy. Should I monitor the team or take action? 2. Knowledge creation and sharing – Information becomes knowledge only when it takes on a “social life. Relationship building – Leadership happens within a community where individuals need to understand themselves through self-awareness and self-regulation. a leader is the person who makes the best sense of a complex situation. Susan E. Should I intervene to meet task or relational needs? 3. elevating goal A results-driven structure Competent team members Unified commitment A collaborative climate Standards of excellence External support and recognition . and where they need to learn how to relate to others by understanding. Should I intervene internally or externally? She then enumerates the factors that make any team effective: • • • • • • • June 2009 Do not reproduce 23 A clear.Understanding change – Change involves both messiness and creative breakthroughs. writing on team leadership.

” and “build community.” Of course. But virtual teams. June 2009 Do not reproduce 24 . leading to a negative cycle. says ethical leaders “respect others. in the same volume. these qualities apply to all team leaders – not just those in virtual teams.” “serve others. in particular. must be careful to avoid poor leadership because obvious problems could go unnoticed at a distance.• Principled leadership What is meant by “principled leadership”? Peter Northouse. What it boils down to is that effective and principled leadership is critical for all teams. “are just.” “are honest.

stakeholders. your company has decided to create a virtual team? Whatever your reasons – be they to recruit the best talent. Duarte and Snyder (2007) suggest it takes six steps to start a virtual team: 1. Recognize that most communications are non-verbal. David Gould (2006) provides the following tips from his research on forming virtual teams: • • Hold an initial face-to-face start-up meeting. Use visuals in communications. 5. so team members should use caution in tone and language.Creating Virtual Teams So. 4. review points. Contact team members. mission. discussing team norms. In particular. Select team members. and beginning teambuilding relationships. 2. • • • • Establish a clear code of conduct or set of norms and protocols for behavior. and champions. Conduct a team orientation session that focuses on explaining the task. planning the technological aspects. or simply test the waters – you need to know where to begin. 6. Within those steps. especially to resolve conflict and maintain team cohesiveness. 3. Develop a team charter that includes the team’s purpose. such as status mechanisms. and goals. Identify team sponsors. June 2009 Do not reproduce 25 . establishing communication channels is important. Recognize and reward performance. increase productivity. and documentation. additional actions and goals may pertain specifically to your organization. planning how communication will be achieved. Develop team processes. Hold periodic face-to-face meetings.

Yet. if roles are already clearly laid out and if members don’t have the same opportunity to “lock horns” that can occur in a face-to-face group. The storming stage may be absent.Creating a virtual team is merely the first step in what is generally considered a fivepart process of group development (Lee-Kelley et al.. Performing – The team concentrates on the tasks for which it was formed. specifically due to the lack of cues commonly used to make judgments about other group members. developing trust is a critical issue in virtual teams. on both sides of any relationship. working physically alongside them every day and viewing their facial expressions and work habits. a struggle often ensues to sort out issues of power. These distinct stages include the following: Forming – The group is initially created. for example. influence. as discussed above. Trust needs to be earned. Norming – The group settles down when a system of mutually acceptable rules is implemented. particularly a virtual one. How are you going to get along with this person? Will that person turn reports in on time? Does “John” have my back if I’m called away on an emergency? These questions and others are difficult to answer when you can’t stand nose-to-nose with another person. In a professional setting. Adjourning – This stage happens when the group winds down its work and disbands. and position in the hierarchy. as members leave and are replaced. how do team members learn to trust one another? June 2009 Do not reproduce 26 . or when the composition of the group significantly changes. Virtual teams may or may not go through all of these stages. 2004). Storming – As the group starts to jell and work together. necessitating a new “re-forming” stage.

Coping with Technical and Task Uncertainty 4. identified nine behaviors that facilitated trust in teams. which is one sign of high levels of trust among team members. Transitioning from Procedural to Task Focus 9. and e-mails usually contain a lot of humor. a graduate business school in France. In our virtual teams. Communicating Socially 2. professor of information systems at the University of Texas at Austin. Reacting Calmly to Crises June 2009 Do not reproduce 27 . and Dorothy Leidner. as members learn about each other. meetings. Displaying Leadership 8.Facilitating Trust in Virtual Teams Developing trust among team members is critical for virtual teams to function at optimal effectiveness. associate professor of information systems at INSEAD. Such physical encounters seem critical in developing trust in virtual teams. Providing Substantive and Timely Responses Member Actions That Maintain Trust Later On 7. Displaying Individual Initiative Communication Behaviors That Maintain Trust Later On 5. Sirkka Jarvenpaa. Liz Lee-Kelley and her colleagues demonstrated that moving from one stage to the next might depend on the number and frequency of face-to-face meetings. In a study based on 12 case studies. This trust comes with time. Conveying Enthusiasm in Communications Member Actions That Facilitate Trust Early On 3. conversations. Communicating Predictably 6. These trust building behaviors include the following: Communication Behaviors That Facilitate Trust Early On 1.

as a team progresses. additional trust building behaviors can be added to expand the initial trust and to transition to a more mature virtual team. June 2009 Do not reproduce 28 .These behaviors suggest that new virtual teams should provide opportunities to interact socially right from the start. Doing so will help new team members feel more comfortable. and should go the extra mile to resolve any early technical difficulties or task confusion. Over time. leading to the other two early trust building attitudes: enthusiasm and initiative.

2003) With so many potential issues. Other issues involved with leading virtual teams include the following: • • • • Lack of facial and body language cues to validate team members Fear of isolation Changes in operating procedures Demand for higher individual accountability because delays resulting from lack of preparedness are exacerbated and recovery takes longer (Wilson. fairness. expectations. Obviously. and affiliation. one big problem with being in charge of a virtual team is the difficulty understanding and managing what you cannot see. how can virtual leaders ensure success? What does it take to lead and manage a virtual team? Joyce Thompsen (2000) argues it takes at least the following five skills: • • Communicating effectively and using technology that fits the situation Building community. In a recent Canadian study (Hambley et al. strategy. Study participants also believed poor leaders lacked vision. purpose. 2007).Managing Virtual Teams Leading and managing a virtual team can be more difficult than contending with a face-to-face group. respect.. and direction. measurable results . among project team members • Establishing clear and inspiring shared goals. qualitative data were collected through comprehensive interviews with nine virtual team leaders and members from six different organizations. and that poor leaders were unable to run effective virtual team meetings or to “read” and “hear” cues from team members while using virtual conferencing software. and vision • June 2009 Do not reproduce 29 Leading by example with a focus on visible. based on mutual trust. The most common challenge appears to involve solving problems across multiple time zones.

Record the team’s decisions and commitments to each other. Use rigorous project management disciplines to ensure clarity. be honest in team negotiations. the following are 17 “pointers” Kevin McMahan (2005) shares for managing a virtual team: • Engage the team in setting expectations about behavior and performance. • Strive for a good faith effort in complying with the team norms and commitments.• Coordinating/collaborating across organizational boundaries Because virtual leaders can use all the help they can get. Encourage proactive behavior. role division. look for predictable. empathetic task communication. Document the tacit. • Keep communications in a shared database to use in new member orientations. and frequent interaction with acknowledged and detailed responses to previous messages. time management. and timely responses to members. as a team. June 2009 Do not reproduce 30 . a positive tone. • • • • • Clearly define member responsibilities. substantial. and be enthusiastic in e-mail dialog. and don’t take advantage of others or of the situation. • Provide more formal communication than in traditional same time/same place teams. and embed the process into the organizational structure. rotating leadership. Determine. • Focus knowledge management attention on the tacit as well as the explicit knowledge. • Encourage social communication that accompanies completing tasks at the outset. task goal clarity. Consider servant leadership exposure and training for potential team leaders. how conflict will be addressed and resolved.

. the study showed the following: “… highly effective virtual team leaders act in a mentoring role and exhibit a high degree of understanding (empathy) toward other team members. these teams displayed significantly more concentrated leadership behavior focused on performance (i. • • Encourage and provide feedback on all team activities. 2002). we say the group has “shared leadership” or is “self-managed.e.. 2006). listen to feedback! Design and integrate tools that fit the team environment. effective leaders are also able to assert their authority without June 2009 Do not reproduce 31 . Leadership also can be shared within a virtual team so that no one person actually manages the functioning of the group. Specifically. preferably with a view toward future audiences. reward the desired performance.. • Match desired activities with performance evaluation factors. “producer” behavior) and shared leadership behavior focused on keeping track of group work (i. develop an information system to help translate terms in the subject disciplines. • Build information sharing (knowledge management initiatives) into the organization’s strategic plan. When no designated leader is assigned for a group. • For a team crosscutting an organization’s departmental boundaries. A study of 13 culturally diverse global virtual teams found that effective team leaders “… demonstrate the capability to deal with paradox and contradiction by performing multiple leadership roles simultaneously (Kayworth and Leidner. Specifically. “monitor” behavior) than the lower performing teams” (Carte et al. don’t force the team to adapt its behavior to the “latest” software.• Record and share the “context” when sharing information. At the same time.” A longitudinal study of virtual teams at three North American universities showed “high performing self-managed virtual teams displayed significantly more leadership behaviors over time compared to their low performing counterparts.e.

But. 7) Much advice about leading virtual teams revolves around fostering positive and respectful relationships among team members who hold each other accountable and support each other through difficult situations. and prompt communication with their peers and in articulating role relationships (responsibilities) among the virtual team members. the rewards can be worth the effort.” (p.being perceived as overbearing or inflexible. Finally. June 2009 Do not reproduce 32 . The same also holds true of professional relationships in the onsite workplace. but virtual relationships face unique challenges that take more work to maintain and nurture. detailed. effective leaders are found to be extremely effective at providing regular. if a virtual team is right for your organization.

informal communication. including the following suggestions: • Clarifying team goals and team roles that do not conflict with commitments to other work units • Carefully implementing efficient communication and collaboration processes that prevent misunderstandings and conflict escalation due to reduced communication cues • Continuously supporting team awareness. improving managerial and leadership communication. for instance. To help ensure effectiveness. or team-based incentives • Developing appropriate kick-off workshops and team training concepts to prepare and support the team for the specific challenges of virtual teamwork. and building relationships are the most important factors affecting June 2009 Do not reproduce 33 . general principles can be followed when managing virtual teams. and money setting up and managing a virtual team. 2005) A study by Horwitz. both qualitative and quantitative data are necessary to provide guidelines that can help you determine if a virtual team might succeed in your company. task design. energy. and sharing of socio-emotional cues. together with providing sufficient performance feedback and information about the individual working situation of each virtual team member • Creating experiences of interdependence within the team to compensate for feelings of disconnectedness. et al. Because no single one-size-fitsall approach will be effective for every organization. via goal setting. (Hertel.Part 3 – Research on the Effectiveness of Virtual Teams Do virtual teams work as effectively as face-to-face teams? That is an important question to answer before investing time. The answer can be explored via empirical studies based on both qualitative and quantitative research methods. (2006) indicated that improving cross-cultural communication. clarifying goals and roles.

that trust is essential. that teambuilding exercises pay off. virtual teams need to be self-directed by highly motivated individuals who can mostly work on their own. and having a variety of specific skills. One research study concludes that “… wholly virtual teams might not meet organizational expectations and achieve the same levels of performance and success as those that. Effective communication involved transferring ideas. are able to meet at critical times” (Lee-Kelley et al. sharing information. People need to feel connected to each other.virtual team performance. “… even though many SMWTs [self-managed work teams] are largely self-managed. Dispersed workers often experience isolation and other challenges that can impede effective functioning. and notifying team members of any problems or issues” (Staples and Webster. It seems that virtual teams need face-to-face meetings for members to get to know each other and to develop trust. At the same time.. 2007). Best practices for virtual team members include “… supporting other team members. 2004). unless a combination of high-tech and high-touch is maintained. Interviewees sought a respectful team environment where members weren’t afraid to openly discuss ideas.” A recent study found that many virtual teams need special leadership. established a climate of mutual trust by emphasizing the development of June 2009 Do not reproduce 34 . where people could be reached. virtual teams can be over managed. communicating effectively. 2007). because relationships are so critical. Again. 2006). relationships matter in the workplace. performance peaks are often followed by declines in the productivity (Hawkrigg. Essentially. and where team members responded appropriately to requests for help. external leadership may be fundamental to the performance of these teams … successful external managers provided clear objectives. whilst being geographically dispersed. listening to and internalizing the ideas of others. and that. “The virtual teamworking technologies alone may have limited scope in contributing to reproduction and reinforcement of commitment and personal trust relationships” (Nandhakumar and Baskerville. However. They need a “human touch. Perhaps the most important factor in the success of virtual teams is the opportunity to occasionally meet face-to-face.

online chats). June 2009 Do not reproduce 35 .. This study determined that U.” an equalizing effect that “is not only beneficial for shy students. indirectly supporting the effectiveness of a virtual team. A 2006 study of a collaborative project between two international business communication classes at U. This same study uncovered one major benefit to online communication vs. … A related finding is that asynchronous communication seems to have a positive effect on language accuracy and its mitigating intercultural miscommunication. is used effectively in virtual teams. discussion boards. face-toface communication: “Online written communication promoted equal participation of group members. and information processing capabilities” (Curseu. 2004). Second.S. Information and communications technologies affect information processing in virtual teams in two ways. students preferred e-mail as a forum for professional communication. overall. …” We can see that the tools used in virtual teams do benefit team members. However. and did not engage in micromanagement of the team” (DeRosa et al.strong relationships with team members. 2008). The point is not necessarily which online communication medium is best but how communication. while German students preferred discussion boards.S. these online tools benefit onsite and virtual teams alike. the communication technology impacts the pool of knowledge and its use in virtual teams. and reflected upon the various aspects of the learning process (Gareis. evaluated each channel’s effectiveness for virtual teamwork. First. 2006). virtual communication has “an indirect effect on the way teams process information because the communication environment influences team processes. That effectiveness comes back to how a team is managed. and German universities compared a number of online communication channels (e-mail. the emergence of trust and cohesion. How do virtual teams process information? This question may shed some light on whether a team is effective or ineffective. but also for non-native speakers of English who may have trouble responding quickly in spoken conversation or who may be worried about their accents.

people.Summary: Success Factors for Managing Virtual Teams In the end. and skill variety) to meet their objectives. most of the recommendations for successfully managing virtual teams are fairly similar. • The information technology (IT) needs (equipment. they cover most of the major points on how to lead and manage a virtual team. • People are recognized for their contributions and are fairly rewarded. funding. financial support.. Combined. June 2009 Do not reproduce 36 . Melymuka (1997) suggests that the following factors are present in successful virtual teams: • • • • • • • • • • Providing a supportive corporate culture Hiring the right people Addressing time considerations Communicating emotions Properly using synchronous and asynchronous modes of communication Using appropriate software tools Ensuring comfort with using technology Putting a limit on the number of team memberships for each person Providing network and system support Addressing sensitivity to cultural differences in communications Compare these points to Staples and Webster’s (2007) list of “organizational best practice items” for virtual teams: • Teams are provided with adequate resources (e. and training) of teams are well supported. Our research highlighted three sets of recommendations.g.

• • • The company provides adequate technical training for the team. • The company provides adequate team skills training (e. In the end.) for the team. Give people shorter assignments. The company provides adequate remote coordination skills training for the team. As the recommendations show. Establish ground rules. Remind everyone they are a team.. Moreover.g. Communicate. interpersonal. In summary. the TechRepublic. You also must remain open to change if one method doesn’t work or if a new technology aims to provide a greater benefit. Obtain the right technology. organization. commitment and accountability tempered with flexibility and communication are critical factors in helping any virtual team succeed.com Web site (Mochal. 2007) provides 10 tips for managing virtual teams: • • • • • • • • • • Establish team objectives. Be extra diligent in managing workload. Adjust and compromise on time differences. communication. Be sensitive to cultural differences. the effectiveness of a June 2009 Do not reproduce 37 .• The company provides adequate electronic communication skills training for the team. Look for opportunities to socialize. The company provides adequate customer service training for the team. you need to select the suggestions that best apply to your individual situation. etc.

virtual team always depends on the effectiveness of the interpersonal relationships among its members. June 2009 Do not reproduce 38 .

0 has been the change in emphasis from individual learning to team-based collaborative learning. a Request for Proposal [RFP] system) • • • Teams (small groups work together on projects) Community (e.. and collaborating in small groups. doing.0 to Web 2. a community of practice) Process support (systems that support repetitive workflows) All five of these methods can be used in a virtual world setting that is purpose-built for working together.Part 4 . These technology products can be divided into the following categories: • • • Web collaborative software Project and team management software Conferencing and meeting software The following is a list of the best known tools in each of the above categories: June 2009 Do not reproduce 39 . Timothy Butler and David Coleman (2003) suggest five fundamental models of working together: • • Library (a few people place material in a repository.g.. This represents a fundamental shift in how learning occurs. many respond. as we move from a model of instructor-led teaching of individuals to one of learner-led finding. many draw on it) Solicitation (a few people place requests.g. e. Hundreds of vendors produce and sell products that allow teams to work together online. All five of these methods also require technology appropriate to the purpose of that method. Working in teams is one of many different ways to collaborate.Technology for Supporting Virtual Teams Part of the shift from Web 1.

The following list highlights some of the best known software currently being used in corporate environments. Annotea – This is a World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) LEAD (Live Early Adoption and Demonstration) project under Semantic Web Advanced Development (SWAD). jot down notes. share files. and their combinations. http://www. document versioning. http://www. and communicate with others. with templates and workflows for product development. task management software.Web Collaborative Software This software group includes online collaborative working environments.com Backpack – An organizational tool that enables collaboration with others. http://www.w3. and upload photos. voice and data collaboration. It includes document organization and sharing. and computer-supported collaborative learning environments. http://www.com CentralDesktop – This Web-based collaboration tool helps business teams manage projects. and information technology adoption. calendars and scheduling software. intellectual property management. group document sharing and management tools. June 2009 Do not reproduce 40 . and searchable discussion threads. and communication. It also provides Short Message Service (SMS)/text message reminders.com Bright Idea – These software products assist managers in all areas of innovation.backpackit. Users can share Backpack pages with others by e-mailing the page address to the other person. this Webbased service lets users make to-do lists.avecomm. share information.brightidea. bookmarks. expert location. Annotea enhances collaboration via shared metadata-based Web annotations.org/2001/Annotea aveComm – This technology adds to a software/hardware application or product with Web-based video.

and a meeting manager. collaboration. desktop. http://www. create documents. resource information sharing. robust document management. flexible workflow. recording. features a project navigator. develop ideas. Features include the following: instant messaging. project planning and reporting.com Engineering. resource sharing. version control. discussion forum.centraldesktop. and document management. share knowledge.engineering. Using Croquet.com Collaboration Suite – This collaboration suite.jsp Croquet – This combination of open source computer software and network architecture supports deep collaboration and resource sharing among large numbers of users.http://www. instant messaging. search. office. software developers can create powerful and highly collaborative multi-user 2-D and 3-D applications and simulations. mechanical CAD Viewer to compress and send CAD files over Internet.com Digité Enterprise – This tool offers real-time collaboration through Web access. and even maintain a team calendar.com Confluence – Confluence is an enterprise wiki that hosts online workspaces where team members can hold discussions.atlassian. and e-mail June 2009 Do not reproduce 41 . post blogs and meeting notes.opencroquet. Users can draw freehand or with prebuilt objects.digite.org DabbleBoard – DabbleBoard is an online whiteboard specifically designed to facilitate collaboration. http://www. desktop sharing and remote desktop control.dabbleboard.com eRoom – This Web-based collaborative workspace enables distributed teams to work together more efficiently. http://www. and playback. http://collaboration.com/software/confluence/solutions/collaboration. alerts. It features a network architecture that supports communication. http://www. and synchronous computation among multiple users. designed for engineers.

gordano. Google Video. and Google Sites complement traditional office software to make teamwork easier. a powerful. Features include the following: accessing documents. scheduling and using calendars.com/products/Collaboration.com/esynergy Flypaper – This simple.com/apps/intl/en/business/index.emc. and integration with SharePoint and BEA WebLobic. http://www. with collaborators able to add to and change the diagrams. hotComm is the desktop client that provides fast.com/products/family/eroom-family.htm hotComm – This peer-to-peer collaboration platform is designed to leverage the 1stWorks Network. scalable. http://www. http://www. http://www. http://www.com Gliffy – This tool provides the ability to do diagramming in a Web browser. easy-to-use.exactamerica. online collaboration system contains content management and a dashboard. tracking the status of assignments.integration (Microsoft Office and Outlook). efficient. Companies or departments can use these apps on their own to be more productive. an example of the new “cloud computing” or “Software as a Service” (SaaS) model of collaborative computing. and secure peer networking architecture.gliffy. http://www.com Google Apps – Google Docs. allowing all members of the value chain to view and modify information based on their access and roles within the system. The company also has the Flypaper Enterprise Collaboration Platform.htm Exact Software e-Synergy – The e-Synergy platform integrates and consolidates corporate data into a single database. private interactive access June 2009 Do not reproduce 42 .google. and sending workflow tasks.flypaper.html Gordano Groupware and Collaboration Server – GMS Collaboration Server provides a fully functional cross-platform alternative to Microsoft Exchange.

shtml IceMAIL – Features of this enterprise class e-mail and collaboration system for small businesses include the following: shared calendars.com/icemail_home.hyperoffice. Its virtual “meeting room” can be embedded in existing infrastructures and customized in terms of look-and-feel. data.hotcomm. http://www.com/info Interwoven WorkSite – This document management and team collaboration software stores all project-related documents.asp In-team – This company offers tools and modules to support teams in a variety of environments. and provides search. folders. http://www.com/hotComm. IBM also is a pioneer in using virtual worlds for team collaboration and training. online document management.A Web-based solution for creating team workspaces for collaboration. online contact management. and shared documents.inteam.ibm. http://www-03.or exchange of text.icewebonline. http://www. http://www. task manager. versioning control. Microsoft Outlook. and Lotus Notes. and applications between participating hotComm users on the Web.interwoven. integrates with Microsoft Office.ibm. contacts. online calendar. and extensibility.com/components/pagenext. and Microsoft Outlook integration.jsp?topic=PRODUCT::WORKSITE June 2009 Do not reproduce 43 .com IBM Lotus QuickPlace . http://www.com/systems/i/software/quickr http://www. voice.com/virtualworlds/innovationinvirtualworld. video.asp HyperOffice Collaboration Suite – The features of this hosted collaboration solution include the following: business e-mail.

php?menu=our-solutions&submenu=collaborativeintranet Microsoft SharePoint – Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services 3. information. files.JDH Web-4M – This collaboration suite for business or training/education is an integrated suite of multiuser. and control where it goes and who can access it. and photos.jdhtech. http://www. and secured fashion – for up to 399 users. Users can store information. Proactive features. and systems both within and beyond the organizational firewall. http://www.microsoft. schedule and track events and activities. peer-to-peer. and calendar events.fr/index.0 is an integrated portfolio of collaboration and communication services designed to connect people. calendars. http://technet. team events.com/en-ca/windowsserver/sharepoint/default. and shared files in a hosted and secure collaborative environment.oodrive. processes. and groupware tools for synchronous course delivery and instructor/student interaction.aspx Near-Time – Near-Time integrates a group Weblog with wiki pages. author and review pages individually and across the group. Web resources. June 2009 Do not reproduce 44 . such as subscriptions. organize and discover content through categories and tags. resources. structured. notifications.com NexPrise Collaboration – This tool centralizes all project-related documents. and publish and broadcast your content to the Web. any workgroup belonging to an internal or external organization can publish and share information and documents in a collaborative.com Mayetic Collaborative Workspaces – Functions of this teamwork collaboration tool include the following: share documents. keep users abreast of any developments requiring attention. Create a Near-Time space to share ideas. and data into a single storage area where project members can quickly locate and retrieve the most current and accurate information. http://www. and files.near-time. Using Mayetic collaborative workspaces.

June 2009 Do not reproduce 45 .com/products/middleware/beehive/index.com ProjectSpaces – ProjectSpaces is a password-protected.forumone. and status — online. powerful. milestones. teams. http://www. and review ideas. members.courseforum. http://www. http://www. instant messaging.com Novell Groupwise – Novell GroupWise is a complete collaboration software solution that provides information workers with e-mail.oracle. Web-based extranet tool. schedules. and entire organizations to detect a presence and collaborate instantly.http://www. Within each area.opentext. project teams. It is a wiki that lets you share. and securely. task management.com Oracle Beehive – Oracle Beehive provides the tools an enterprise needs to seamlessly collaborate from within any application or device. ProjectSpaces offers powerful tools for managing multiple teams.com/section/services/projectspaces Ramius Community Zero – CommunityZero is an interactive Web site that allows a group of people to communicate and exchange information over the Internet in their own private and secure area.novell. http://www. and priorities and by receiving on-the-spot status reports. and reliable tools for collaborating more effectively across organizational and geographic boundaries.html Projectforum – This Web-based collaboration software is easy to set up and use. partners. http://www. called an online community. and others — with simple.nexprise. privately. and contact and document management functions. It enables individuals. It provides working groups — committees. calendaring. It allows managers to tightly control the project lifecycle by monitoring due dates. discuss. secure.com/products/groupwise Open Text – Open Text provides Enterprise Content Management (ECM) solutions that support collaboration and document management combined together. documents. tasks.

http://www.same-page.com Teamspace – Teamspace is a groupware system for international Web-based collaboration and virtual teamwork.ramius. and exploit their knowledge.teamspace. http://www. and real-time communications such as presence confirmation.html Swirrl – Swirrl is an easy-to-use Web application that helps organizations capture. and communicate.” http://www. SiteScape is collaboration software that includes document management. and finding. http://www. Staff members can access the components they require to work effectively.com/promo/sitescape. calendar sharing. voice and Web conferencing.novell. threaded discussions.com SiteScape – Recently acquired by Novell. having discussions. scheduling time and resources.swirrl. workflow and task management. Teamware Office includes facilities for using e-mail. search. eStudio does not require an IT department to maintain it.cfm Same-Page eStudio – eStudio is a hybrid solution that offers more than 30 software features needed for effective collaboration. share. while customers view only the data that is relevant to their company interaction. whether they are individuals in June 2009 Do not reproduce 46 . The eStudio administrator tightly controls user access. Web-based whiteboarding. managing and retrieving documents. and acting on information in a user-friendly and timely way. http://www.participants are provided access to a suite of powerful tools that enable a group to effectively get organized.com Teamware Office – Teamware Office is a set of groupware applications that provides users with an easy way of carrying out office tasks and communicating with each other. viewing.net/welcome. The idea with this software is to “create your own team and work together with colleagues all over the world. and instant messaging. The facilities are designed to meet the needs of users. analyzing. share knowledge.

com Trichys WorkZone – WorkZone is the easy-to-use extranet for organizing and sharing work with clients. and business partners. or an external business partner. collaborate.com WebCrossing Core – WebCrossing Core is a collaboration server engine. e-mail server. June 2009 Do not reproduce 47 . and document management in a Web browser without downloading additional software. centralize communication.phx/teamware/index.com/Home/products.net/Resource. http://www. XML-RPC server. and collaborate with clients and remote teams.net Zoho Virtual Office – This groupware provides a virtual collaboration platform where individuals and groups can communicate. organize. Use TeamWork Live to manage projects. FTP server.teamworklive. project. http://www. WorkZone can be accessed from any Web-enabled computer (Mac or PC) and requires no additional hardware or software. it includes the following fully functional Internet protocols: multi-domain Web server.webasyst. Designed specifically for the non-technical user.trichys. and share information seamlessly using a number of useful applications such as e-mail client. Beyond builtin basic message board functionality. WebAsyst enables users to implement customer.local or remote offices. http://www. track tasks. project teams. and more. TeamWork Live is hosted. http://www. share documents and files. chat server. newsgroup server. secure. http://www. Web-based project management and collaboration tool.htx TeamWork Live – TeamWork Live is an intuitive.webcrossing. so there is no software to install or support. members of a team within an enterprise. a simple and powerful solution for group online collaboration.htm WebAsyst Suite – WebAsyst is a suite of Web-based software applications.teamware.

http://www. and performance management tools into a single application. task scheduler. such as Subversion. http://www. instant messaging. and FogBugz.aceproject. June 2009 Do not reproduce 48 . Have an area where you can collaborate with your team.basecamphq.activecollab.zoho. Perforce. Mantis. including keeping track of the work of each team member. Ace Project – This intuitive project management software for work teams works with Microsoft Project. focusing on communication and collaboration. http://www. and can be hosted or installed on your intranet. Trac. clients. personal and group calendar.html?ad-main Project and Team Management Software This category of software is used for managing complex team projects. and contractors. contacts manager.com Acunote – Acunote is an Agile project management tool that integrates with a number of other software development management tools.com activeCollab – activeCollab is a project management and collaboration tool that you can set up on your own Web site.com Basecamp – Basecamp tackles project management from an entirely different angle. and keep projects on track while retaining full control over access permissions and your data. etc. task management.virtual storage for documents. Bugzilla. http://www.com ManagePro – ManagePro combines project management.com/virtual-office/index. discussions board. http://www. This type of software also is used to produce progress reports for the team and for managers.acunote. JIRA.

updating.onproject. invoicing.com Project/Open – This integrated open-source Web-based project management and PSA (Professional Services Automation) software is designed for consulting companies and IT departments with between two and 200 employees.com myonProject – myonProject is an online team collaboration and project management solution that offers practical. calendars. and sharing information easy and also works as customer relationship management (CRM) software. discussions. http://www. facility management.http://www. online management for projects of any size and scope. scheduling solutions. set user permissions. project planning. The application helps a company run its business by taking care of everything from CRM.com QuickBase – QuickBase applications make tracking.to medium-sized businesses looking for a simple but effective method to manage their projects online. http://www.com OPMCreator – This instant-to-set-up. feedback. http://www. scalable. giving all team members constant online access to needed information. June 2009 Do not reproduce 49 .peoplecube.opmcreator.project-open. simple. project tracking.projectdox.com ProjectDox – This easy-to-use database neatly stores and organizes project files. http://www. affordable. assign tasks. pay-as-you-go Web-based project management software is ideal for small. Share multiple projects with multiple users.com PeopleCube – PeopleCube includes Web event calendaring.managepro. and payments. and human performance management applications. http://www. and e-mails. and share documents. and collaboration to timesheet management.

Project team members have instant access to all project information that is relevant to their work. http://www. and communicate with their project teams. and the system tells them exactly where they should focus their time every day.aspx June 2009 Do not reproduce 50 . TDNext focuses on helping managers and project team members work more effectively. Project managers have all the tools necessary to monitor team progress.0Project Suite – TeamDynamix TDNext 4.teamdynamix.com/home/video TeamDynamix TDNEXT V4.http://quickbase.intuit.com/CollaborationProducts/Products.0 is the latest edition of the acclaimed project management and project collaboration server. identify and resolve potential problems.

http://www.asp BudgetConferencing – This tool is a low-cost audio and Web conferencing system that can enable operator assisted conference calls or full-time operator support.telnetz.interwise. http://www. http://www.com/bridgepoint. http://www. BridgePoint users can establish conferences at a second’s notice from an Internet connection.com/products/acrobatconnectpro AT&T Connect – AT&T Connect delivers unlimited voice.com/att_connect. With the convenience of online access through an individual account. voice over IP (VoIP) capabilities. Adobe Connect – Securely share presentations and multimedia right from your desktop.html Bantu Messenger – Bantu is a powerful communication and collaboration platform. and videoconferencing. BridgePoint allows companies to meet virtually anywhere to accomplish their goals. Bantu’s secure Instant Messaging (real-time text communication). The software may be a suite of applications that include a whiteboard. Record classes and live Webcasts. text chat.com June 2009 Do not reproduce 51 .adobe. and get feedback from hundreds of participants — all using a Web browser and Adobe Flash.budgetconferencing. Web.php BridgePoint – Combining audio and Web conferencing components. and the display of slides or it may be a solution containing only one or two of these features. Lead or attend virtual classes with full moderator control and participant interaction features. Share and collaborate on any application or document in real time. http://www.bantu.Conferencing and Meeting Software Conferencing software mainly focuses on live communications among members of a virtual team. and Alerts (time-sensitive notifications) servers offer rich communications features.com/services/faq_basics. Presence (see who’s online).

voting. and images. http://www. an interactive whiteboard. share.facilitate. http://www.com Genesys Meeting Center – This center features audio. http://www. http://www. http://campfirenow. http://www. WebEx. and mark up Microsoft Office documents). universal file viewer (to view. Cisco MeetingPlace is a complete rich-media conferencing solution that seamlessly integrates voice.com Cisco Unified MeetingPlace – An integral component of the Cisco IP Communications system.com June 2009 Do not reproduce 52 .ezmeeting. including whiteboards. http://www. and Raindance.com/en/US/products/sw/ps5664/ps5669/index.com/internet_conferencing. video.com Facilitate – This solution supports online meetings and collaboration with a set of tools for brainstorming.genesys. and Web conferencing specialists. desktop sharing. snapshots.asp Elluminate Live! – This real-time virtual classroom environment is designed for distance education and collaboration in academic institutions and corporations.elluminate. and corporate instant messaging. presentation tools.html Communique – This tool enables audio conferencing with PowerSlides.communiqueconferencing. video conferencing.com eZmeeting – Features of this live meeting and Web conferencing tool include the following: interactive data collaboration. and Web conferencing capabilities. video. conducting surveys. and Internet conferencing with Microsoft LiveMeeting. and creating action plans. drawing tools.Campfire – This is a simple-to-use instant messaging software for businesses. categorizing.cisco.

polling and quizzes. https://www. instant messaging. virtual environment. and microphones allows two groups of up to six people to hold a live meeting in two separate locations.com/enterprise/us/en/halo/index. session reports.gotomeeting. you can host or attend an online meeting within seconds. desktop sharing. quick desktop sharing tool for hosting live Web demos. sales presentations. broadcasts files. and by whom.ivocalize. June 2009 Do not reproduce 53 . notes. record and playback. Halo allows meeting participants to make eye contact. http://www. It is also multilingual.net/site/getglance/examples.com iVocalize Web Conference – This tool enables interactive Web conference meetings.html IntraLinks On-Demand Workspaces – In this secure. online seminars. Conceived by Dreamworks as a response to travel concerns after the terrorist attacks of Sept. and collaboration.com Halo Video Collaboration Service – This system of carefully placed plasma televisions. how often.intralinks. http://h71028. share files and documents.Glance Corporate – Glance is a simple. cameras. Real-time reporting shows which information has been accessed. e-mail invites. and shout over each other in an attempt to be heard — just like a real meeting. and presentations to audiences spanning the globe. annotations.glance. e-learning classrooms. http://www. live demos. Features include the following: shared documents. and more. 2001.www7. business communities can exchange high-value information across enterprise boundaries. pre-recorded broadcasts.asp GoToMeeting – With this online meeting solution for sharing desktop resources. http://www.hp. 11. and phone use.com Linktivity Inter-Tel – These voice and data communications solutions and collaboration applications include Web conferencing with the following features: multipoint videoconferencing. Web conferencing.

and integrate the activities of learners. http://www. http://www.com/centra-saba Skype – Make free calls over the Internet. feature stories. transparency tools. http://www. or set up a video link between two people. http://www.com/conferencing/web-conferencing/netspoke Radvision – These desktop videoconferencing products and components deliver realtime interactive communications to manage dispersed organizations.com/us PGi Netspoke – PGi Netspoke provides Web and audio conferencing services.premiereglobal. and Web seminar platform to enable e-learning and collaborative Web conferencing across the globe. http://www. easy-to-use Web conferencing solution allows users to share and present any printable document. and a change presenter ability.meetingone. names of people logged in.radvision. This powerful. and coached e-assignments.com MeetingOne – MeetingOne is a full service audio and Web conferencing provider that focuses on event solutions.com Saba Centra – This online learning environment combines a highly interactive virtual classroom learning. and discussion rooms of various levels of exclusivity. a featured person. June 2009 Do not reproduce 54 . or an entire desktop. threaded discussions. Provide pictures of team members. and faster communications infrastructure.saba. http://www.linktivity. remote control. more agile. coaches. Use the instant messaging function with or without voice communications. e-meeting.com Q2Learning eCampus and eCommunity – Rapidly develop blended learning programs that weave together e-learning courses with simultaneous Web meetings. and managers. hand raising. for a more powerful.keyboard and voice chat.q2learning. any application. attendee lists.

http://vyew. and prospects — all without leaving their desks.com Socialcast – Communicate and share information any time. set up labs and conduct quizzes. Training can be June 2009 Do not reproduce 55 . Solutions include Web meetings.socialcast. This tool requires only a browser and a phone. a small business. application sharing.voxwire. present PowerPoint slideshows. It can be used for private communication or with large groups of participants. and see the same Web site or other presentation on their screens — from anywhere in the world.http://www. http://www.com SpiderWeb Communications – These Web-based solutions enable face-to-face interaction with remote employees.spiderwebcommunications.com Vyew – This platform enables real-time and always-on interaction between people and content. anywhere. http://www. and videoconferencing services created for today’s enterprise. show rich multimedia content and documents. teleconferencing. elearning. whether for an individual. and system management.com WebTrain – This includes Web conferencing and collaboration solutions and a virtual classroom. partners. send text messages. or a large business. WebEx services offer the right solution. tour Web sites. live video. share other applications.com/site WebEx Meeting Center – WebEx powers online meetings.asp Voxwire – This unlimited computer-to-computer Web conferencing application allows people to talk to each other. and breakout groups. Present courseware in a synchronous online environment. http://www. conference calling. Web conferencing.skype. and provide effective distance education at a fraction of the cost of traditional classroom courses. remote support. It works with mobile devices.com/index. Webinars.webex. http://www. It includes VoIP.

http://www. and meetings. support for virtual teams is mostly about overcoming three kinds of distance — physical. operational. Webcasts. and social distance is the result of cultural barriers and prejudices. operational distance is the barriers within an organization due to different job functions. online classes. and social. All three require the effective leadership and management of virtual teams. http://www.wiziq. or meeting. and content display. course.webtrain.horizonwimba. application sharing. June 2009 Do not reproduce 56 . including a full-featured whiteboard. The latter two are harder to solve with technology alone.com WiZiQ – This virtual classroom tool provides good VoIP and some additional features to rival the big vendors. guest lectures.com Wimba Collaboration Suite – This full-featured.conducted in multiple simultaneous languages in the same training session. live virtual classroom supports audio. Physical distance refers to the geographical and time zone differences that can be overcome through the right combination of electronic technologies. office hours. It enables users to hold live. video. http://www.com At the end of the day.

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