Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Behind the Scenes of a Virtual Team

Behind the Scenes of a Virtual Team
Presenters: Tracey Lyan, Sharii Miller, Salley Brett - Vangent Inc

Presenters are using Microsoft LiveMeeting.
Resources at

One here, one remote.
- The organization moved from central offices to more telework

Success variables
- Patience

Best Practices
- Be intentional about communication
- Establish a relationship with tea members
- Use tools to share at work

(The group attempted to have us observe the best practices in action as they worked. Gave us a worksheet, best practices checklist).

Have them give prior notification for times can't attend.

Have brightly colored calendar big group, smaller groups, VIPs. All know what all is happening.
- Will have different types of media for different needs
+ Teleconference
+ Live meeting for collaboration
+ Phone
+ email
+ IM - to touch base, quick answers.

Using all of the media available.

Information needs dictates the meeting.

Audience liked the predictable days and times.

They missed initially the relationships they develop in the office. But finding developing the relationships remotely.
- Spent time getting to know each other Add the personal to your interactions.
+ Simple questions - What cartoon character do you interact with and why?
+ use avatars for identity
+ 1 truth, 2 lies

- Take time to have fun together (example from the conference - hockey talk, with Karl Kapp and Stephen Downes. Sadly separately. Maybe we ought to start an edubloggers hockey community - for those who will sit through 3 overtimes on a school night! Oh yeah - and you know all 3 of us will be watching tonight.)

Virtual brainstorming - what icebreakers do you use.
- (They did a real nice job of facilitating collaboration remotely. The type of thing I wanted to see with the Workshop).

- Then - how do you do the icebreaker virtually?
+ add pictures and/or music
+ Movie star most resemble and add that picture.

Remember - any icebreaker use in person can also do virtually.

(Used a lot of interactivity in this system - 2 things this group asked when they developed this: 1 - how do we demonstrate what we are talking about? 2 - how do we incorporate interctivity. They did a great job of this!!!!!)

Virtual team - organization is important and communicating the organization and why.

Use online tools to share work. Gotta manage your resources
- Project websites (Easy to find what looking for, status updates, deliverables)
- Sharepoint servers - best practices, process info, research, virtual calendar and documentation. Contact list.
(Wish they showed the sharepoint site)

Tools to share work
- Organize the card and find the card so find it

Make sure tool accessible by all of the right people and that the people can find the information they need and retrieve.
- Sharepoint organized by functional areas.
- Within functional areas, related libraries
- Also key categories of data within each item.
- Gotta communicate that the information is out there. (They did scavenger hunt for new site and prizes)
- Maintenance - identify folks to perform regular maintenance of shared documentation and come up with long term plan to keep docs up to date.

Ideas on the wiki and communicating with each other during the presentation.

Typical tasks to do in team
- Documenting notes from meeting.
+ Some using Adobe Connect notes
+ Many transcribed and to everyone else.
+ One using mind map
+ They use blog (like I am for my co-workers with this conference!)
+ Eventually moving to where they edit the blog posts. Still working on process.
+ Using comments on the meetings
- Getting to know meeting participants
- Working globally
- Keeping people engaged
+ Rewarding activity

(at this point, we are watching the sky darken outside. Big nasty line of storms coming and the poor lady in Ashburn, VA calling in is hiding in her basement).

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