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Chapter 4. Communicate, Coordinate, and ... > The Primary Tasks of Virtual Teamwor...

The Primary Tasks of Virtual Teamwork

More important than getting the job done is making sure that everyone knows how to get the job done. Working closely with someone who lives half a world away will be a new experience for most virtual team members, so it is important to discuss ways to keep projects running smoothly.

Communicate

At the heart of a virtual team is the challenge of sharing important information. Members provide status reports, share action plans, pass on background information, and alert each other to potential opportunities and pitfalls. Technology advances provide multiple options for virtual teams to share information quickly with one another. Groupware (computer software, available from many major vendors) enables any member of the team to store and retrieve common teamwork products from individual work stations located throughout the world. Team members can access a file, update it, and return it for others to view and act on in turn. Members may not be eager to share information with people they do not know but if the need to work together is strong and clear, they will quickly overcome this. They must work very hard to establish communication with each other and agree on roles, tasks, and time lines. They must also build trust with one another by seeking to build relationships with other members. Global teams may need to explore differences in cultural beliefs and communication norms to communicate well.


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