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Cora Systems Ltd Aviva Stadium, Dublin, 15 June 2012 Dr. Deasún Ó Conchúir PMP © Scatterwork GmbH 2012
Virtual Teamwork - Culture and Communications Virtual Teamwork Commonplace and accepted, particularly in the IT sector Operational and Strategic benefits Communication Remains fundamental to Virtual Teamwork Technology is also necessary, but should be transparent © Scatterwork GmbH 20122
Agenda Introduction Virtual Teamwork Communications Culture Tips for Virtual Teamwork Virtual Teamwork Applications Discussion & Conclusions © Scatterwork GmbH Please comment to Twitter using Hashtag: #Cora_VirtTeam
Dr. Deasún Ó Conchúir PMP At Scatterwork GmbH, SwitzerlandScatterwork GmbH Author of "Overview of the PMBOK Guide" published by Springer-VerlagOverview of the PMBOK Guide Member of PMI Educational Foundations Engagement Committee for PMI Communities Selected Clients 4 Collaboration Consultant © Scatterwork GmbH 2012 Sign up for the Scatterwork Consulting Blog Scatterwork Consulting Blog
Practical Experience Project Management and Consultancy experience in over 30 countries Research on Virtual Working applications at ETHZ (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zürich) 6 virtual teams established as VP Education & Certifications of the PMI Switzerland Chapter Experimental Virtual Team Development: Core team members in various parts of Switzerland All interaction is virtual © Scatterwork GmbH 20125
Participant Profile Location? Virtual workload? Project or Process oriented? © Scatterwork GmbH 20126
The Changing Environment 8 Geopolitics Rise of BRIC states Climate Change Globalisation Aging Population Cloud Computing Free WLAN, e.g. in BLT Tango trams (Switzerland) BLT Tango trams SaaS (software as a service) Banking Crisis Smartphone & Tablets © Scatterwork GmbH 2012 Location independence
Workplace Trends 9 Replicating old working methods is unlikely to work in the current environment Increasing diversity increases risks Awareness must be inclusive of different cultures and ways of thinking Some solutions are emerging © Scatterwork GmbH 2012
Project, Procurement and Helpdesk Management e.g. clients of Cora Systems Industry and Professional Associations involving members in different companies IT and Financial Services Sectors Construction Sector, especially for large projects Industry Sectoral Task Groups e.g. registration of hazardous materials usage etc Management Consulting New Business Consortia during the early stages of formation Company Merger Teams, together with their advisers such as consultancy firms and banks Clinical Trials for pharmaceutical companies Virtual Teamwork Scenarios 10 © Scatterwork GmbH 2012
The Virtual Evolution in Non-IT Environments 11 Some traditional employees find the environment difficult to understand If there are too many innovations, there is a danger of confusion Early Adopters are also constrained to use existing documented procedures The learning process will take society some years © Scatterwork GmbH 2012
Acceptance of Virtual Working In IT environments Multinationals Among Smartphone users Generation Y are: Tech-Savvy: Family-Centric: Achievement-Oriented Recognition-seeking Ref: Sally KaneSally Kane 12 Greatest acceptance occurs where the tools are readily available. Although the technology is essential, human communication remains indispensible. © Scatterwork GmbH 2012
Trend Reversal from Commuting Teleworking Implies that the Individual works directly with the centre Assumes that the office does exist Example: Executive agencies of the US Federal Government must implement teleworking policiesteleworking policies Co-working On-line Working Locations accessible by subscription Workers appreciate the company of others © Scatterwork GmbH
Management by Wandering Around (MBWA) in Virtual Teamwork? Anecdotal evidence of resistance to Home Office Organiser of Cultural School Tours Uses and telephone Required to drive 8 hours a week to and from office Small Consulting Company Owner resisted use of VPN server access because of network security Everyone had to travel to work, even to check mails Network access used as tool of management authority Traditional Manager can see how team is working intervene at any time © Scatterwork GmbH
Source Personal interview with the founder of mySQL, Monty Michael Widenius, 7 March 2011 © Scatterwork GmbH
Started in 1995 by two friends who knew each other well: one in Finland, the other in Sweden Next addition to the team was in Germany, 4 th in Yugoslavia Team growth was slow, about 3 persons per year for the early years 16© Scatterwork GmbH 2012
Very High Productivity Working hours selected to suit personal rhythm Lack of interruptions, which suits the problem solving Very long working hours commonplace Productive time not wasted by commuting or generating greenhouse gases Huge choice of skills from global talent pool Experience is not lost when someone moves (e.g. spouse) No workspace needed Rapid recruitment Minimal direct costs for team member, which is equivalent to a salary increase Benefits of Virtual Working at mySQL 17 © Scatterwork GmbH 2012
People still need to know each other Twice yearly meetings in exotic and exciting places Meeting Costs offset the lack office costs Not a cheap solution Essential to track each persons activities What have you done in the last week? What do you plan to do next week? Team members can leave very easily You are training them for the competition Working Conditions Based on typical Finnish employment contracts Employees are owners and treated equally (notice, holidays etc), to be fair and create trust 18© Scatterwork GmbH 2012
Some Challenges from Experience at Scatterwork Unless everybody delivers, nobody does Limited team spirit and poor morale among members who have never met each other New communication tools can be confusing Technical failures, e.g. resulting in apparent lack of responsiveness Misspelling of persons name influenced timely communications Lack of familiarity or comfort with the modern social tools Local manager influences diverts effort from project 19© Scatterwork GmbH 2012
20© Scatterwork GmbH 2012
Establish an Atmosphere of Trust The Essential Ingredient Even a suspicion that trust is lacking is deadly to the virtual teams When interacting with Team Members and Stakeholders Listen actively and stop ALL other activity Deliver on promises Example: Start meeting at agreed time Impact of changes on others hard to evaluate 21© Scatterwork GmbH 2012
Instil a Culture of Personal Responsibility Each team member is personally responsible For his or her own work and relationships For clarifying requirements and deliverables For ensuring adequate resources, information etc In a traditional environment Some of these functions may be provided by management input Substandard, late or non-delivery of deliverables affects colleagues The effect of misunderstandings and plan changes can put unexpected burden on colleagues 22© Scatterwork GmbH 2012
Match Personal Contracts to the work IBM Germany (Spiegel Online 2012, in German only)Spiegel Online 2012 Employee Employment contracts replaced by Project Assignments without long-term engagement International contracts, specifically to circumvent restrictive practices in home country Personal Payments Schedule, Scatterwork GmbH Planning meeting identifies deliverables for (nominally monthly) sprint Personal payments are released on completion of all planned sprint deliverables (not by calendar date) Does not modify the amount payable, only the trigger for payment Designed to encourage teamwork © Scatterwork GmbH
Build Team by developing Operational Guidelines Written version of Team culture Documents the basic rules of behaviour Makes explicit what is implicit The results belong to everybody Develop interactively using Teleconference & Wiki 24© Scatterwork GmbH 2012
Global Team Simulator Global Team Simulator for Virtual Teambuilding Global Team Simulator Functions: Participants get to know each other using virtual collaborative games and a project simulation Participants develop: Virtual Team competence Multi-cultural collaboration 25 © Scatterwork GmbH 2012
Operational Guidelines – Interactions How are meeting times agreed? How are meeting start and finish times interpreted? Response Time to messages, Immediately? Today? This week? At all? Tolerance and respect for out of hours contacts How private are evenings, nights, weekends, holidays? When and on which days does the weekend start and finish? © Scatterwork GmbH
Operational Guidelines – Exploit Multiple Time Zones Reduce need for simultaneous availability Maximize the simultaneous business hours e.g. taking calls from home before travelling to work Improve the simultaneous communications for maximum effectiveness, e.g. IM (instant messenger) Increase the effectiveness of non-simultaneous communications e.g. Replace call by access to report database Document and agree the communications plan 27© Scatterwork GmbH 2012
Operational Guidelines – Issue Resolution Issue Resolution Preferences Talk first or write first? Depends on: Time zones (Foreign) Language competence (from the individuals point of view) Use of Mood Messages, Smilies, Status & Presence Signs In a co-located project teams, judgement of mood depends on the observer © Scatterwork GmbH
Check your Cultural Assumptions Brainstorm regularly to check/ identify cultural assumptions Misunderstandings and bad decisions arise from incorrect assumptions Conscious Subconscious 29© Scatterwork GmbH 2012
Cultural Diversity Characteristics Personal Life experience Attitudes Contacts Cultural Ethnicity Language Religion Geographical Location Time zone 30© Scatterwork GmbH 2012 Multiple cultures increase the challenge Each different characteristic complicates relationships
Hofstedes Cultural Dimensions Power Distance (PDI) Individualism versus Collectivism (IDV) Masculinity versus Femininity (MAS) Uncertainty Avoidance (UAI) Long-Term Orientation (LTO) 31 Ref: Professor Geert HofstedeProfessor Geert Hofstede © Scatterwork GmbH 2012
Cultural Dimensions: USA, India, France 32 Ref: Professor Geert HofstedeProfessor Geert Hofstede © Scatterwork GmbH 2012
Cultural Dimensions: Switzerland, Ireland 33 Ref: Professor Geert HofstedeProfessor Geert Hofstede © Scatterwork GmbH 2012
Exponentionally more difficult as diversity factors multiply Promote shared: Avoid Unproductive Diversity Single CountryCurrency Time zoneTaxes Common Team Language in which members can express their feelings Legal and Commercial Environment (e.g. EU) Definition of weekendCulture (company and national) © Scatterwork GmbH
35© Scatterwork GmbH 2012
Eliminate for Projects and Assignments Use Task Management Application Context-oriented collaborative comment streams for discussion Workspaces manage who is associated with which projects Thumbnail photographs help team visibility Reports of up to 30% reduced network traffic Examples Podio, LumoFlow, IBM Connections PodioLumoFlow IBM Connections © Scatterwork GmbH
Eliminate for repetitive Processes Use BPMN (Business Process Modeling Notation) Intuitive graphical process descriptions Automatic message routing generated from flowchart Examples IBM Blueworks Live, Questetra, RunMyProcess IBM Blueworks LiveQuestetraRunMyProcess © Scatterwork GmbH
Example: BPMN Workflow © Scatterwork GmbH Process capture and implementation: Swim lanes indicate assignments
Typical Project Processes Collect requirements Hold Meetings Tracking Phase Review Create WBS Report Progress Estimate costs Issue new Document version Develop Schedule Train new Employee Monitor & Control Project Work Distribute information Analyse stakeholders Update Website etc etc Your examples of repetitive processes (even if not documented)? 39© Scatterwork GmbH 2012
Significant Advantages of BPMN (also apply to co-located teams) Retention of a critical competitive Company Know-How Individuals may get ill, retire, change job etc. Facilitates Continuous Improvement (Kaizen) Best practice can be duplicated Process Documentation drives improvements Shorter latency (=waiting) times The team can easily be scaled up or down, depending on the capacity demand 40© Scatterwork GmbH 2012
Risks of Undocumented Processes Rework and waste Inability to restart after severe disruption such as flooding or fire Difficulty in replicating key processes in multiple locations and teams Key production worker reaches retirement age Unwilling to hand over experience 41© Scatterwork GmbH 2012
How to implement Processes with BPMN 1. Capture the process flow graphically Subject Expert & Application Expert working together 2. Review the Process with others who are familiar with the environment Adopt improvements and document graphically 3. Launch the draft process Complete the process cycle, identifying possible improvements Incorporate improvements after the cycle 4. Launch the revised process After some cycles, the adjustments should stabilise © Scatterwork GmbH
Tame your Most Problematic Process! Complimentary BPMN Starter Consultations to the first four (4) comers at 43 © Scatterwork GmbH 2012
Summary The transition to multi-location project environments took place long ago Usage is still evolving and will take some time: Culture Tips for Virtual Teamwork Establish an atmosphere of Trust Instil a Culture of Personal Responsibility Match Personal Contracts to the work Build Team by developing Operational Guidelines and/or Global Team SimulatorGlobal Team Simulator Check your Cultural Assumptions Eliminate Projects and Assignments Repetitive Processes © Scatterwork GmbH
Dr. Deasún Ó Conchúir PMP Tel Profile Webwww.scatterwork-consulting.comwww.scatterwork-consulting.com Book Overview of the PMBOK Guide published by Springer-Verlag Overview of the PMBOK Guide Join the Scatterwork Consulting Mailing List at 45 Collaboration Consultant © Scatterwork GmbH 2012
Swiss Knowledge Management Forum (SKMF) Roundtable 10 March 2011, EPFL, Lausanne Dr. Deasún Ó Conchúir PMP
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