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Friday, 8 May 2015

Why traditional teams need same tools as virtual teams? | Collaboration corner

Source: https://www.facebook.com/binfire

Why traditional teams need same tools as virtual teams?

Virtual_teams-1In
the past, virtual teams faced many challenges that traditional teams
 did not encounter. But these days more often than not traditional teams
are behaving more and more like virtual teams and face the same issues.
The fact that all team members are not in the same location all the
time is making traditional teams similar to virtual teams! People
travel, work from home or work from offices across the street or across
the oceans. The effect is the same, not everybody is in the same
location at the same time all the time! To properly manage projects,
teams need the right tools for planning, managing, tracking and
Collaborating to reach their goals and to deliver awesome products or
services.

Communication

Face to face conversation is always the best communication method,
but most often it is expensive and impractical. To bring a few people
from across the ocean for few hours of meetings, in most cases is waste
of money, time and not to mention the cost to environment. If you need
to brainstorm with a few people or should have a meeting with a group of
people to decide on an urgent issue, chances are that one or more of
those people are not in the same location the time you need them and
they could be reached only remotely.  Therefore both traditional and
remote teams need good communication tools. The following communication
tools come handy for effective conversation and collaboration!

1-Voice & Video Conferencing

Good voice & video conferencing is a
must for when you need to have a conference call with people located in
many locations. Although not as effective as face to face communication,
it is by far the next best option. A good video conferencing system
should make it possible for all participants to hear, view and be seen
clearly by everybody else in the conference call. Systems which have
auto zoom in and out on the speaker are very effective and help the flow
of the conversation. The good news is that the cost for video
conferencing tools & applications are dropping rapidly and are
becoming more affordable even for cash strapped startups.

2-Group Chat

Sometimes video conferencing is too
intrusive of others who are working in the same room and an online group
chat application will do just fine. A good group chat should let people
join the chat session at anytime and make it easy for participants to
know which message belongs to whom and who has joined the
conversation.It should also archive all conversations and make it
available to the chat participants or anybody in the team for future
reference!

3-Online Interactive Whiteboard

To be able to brainstorm and view details
of a design or a drawing, an online interactive whiteboard plus voice
conferencing like Skype or Google is the best choice. A good whiteboard
is real time and all actions done by one is seen by all participants
with no delay. The ability to paste & manipulate images is a
fantastic collaboration tool. Each project should have its own
whiteboard and the content of whiteboard should be saved automatically!
Video conferencing does not always replace a good interactive
whiteboard. To let more than one person to draw or manipulate items on
the whiteboard is a feature that is not practical with video
conferencing, but is easy on an interactive whiteboard.

4-Message board

When communication happens at a time when
not all team members  could be reached for conversation by voice, video
or live chat due to time differences, then a message board is a great
option. A message board should have options to carry multiple
conversation channels, capability to attach files and leave comments. A
message board also acts as the team’s bulletin board where all
information which might be interesting to the whole team can be posted.

Document sharing

Any project team should have a good document storage and document
distribution option. Making sure documents are distributed and shared to
all those who need to see and review them in a timely manner is
critical for the success of the project. Keeping versions and a history
of who has done what to any given document helps the team to have access
to the most relevant information in real time. It also will enable any
member to trace back design or strategic decisions made by the team.

Online Document review & Markup

Reviewing and giving feedback on documents online helps the team to
fix and enhance documents in much shorter time intervals that using the
traditional way of sharing document via email and asking for feedback. A
great feature that any online document markup should have is to keep
history of the changes to the document. Notice document markup is
different than online document editing application like Google Docs.
Imagine editing a huge AutoCad file online, It is not practical! But the
same file in PDF or image format could be reviewed and marked up online
by one or many people in real time.

Managing Tasks

Projects are consist of Tasks which needs to be done to achieve
project goals and therefore a good task manager is a must for the
success of the project. The beauty of online task management is that all
tasks in the project are available to everybody. Every change or update
is instantly shown to all team members.  This enhances transparency by
flagging all late tasks or tasks which are due soon and bring them to
attention of the entire team. A good task manager should have sub-tasks
and option for dependencies plus the ability to leave comments and
attach files to both comments & tasks. Tagging tasks permits the
team to categorize tasks in groups for easier search and grouping. A
cool feature which is found in some project management applications is
the option to follow a task or make other team members to follow a task.
This makes sure all those who have an stake in a given task are always
updated with progress or changes of that task.

Reports

In our busy work, generating reports are a cumbersome and thankless
task. going over a mountain of data to catalog the information and make
it visually understandable to our colleagues and bosses is a time
consuming job! If the application we use to manage our projects is
capable of creating these reports for us, our lives as managers will be a
lot more pleasant and productive!

For the best project management software in the market today for your traditional or virtual team click here for 1 month free trail!


Why traditional teams need same tools as virtual teams? | Collaboration corner

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