Saturday, March 15, 2008

Real Teams vs. Virtual Teams

I was surprised when I first read this article stating that virtual brainstorming teams were more successful then "real" world brainstorming teams. I didn't want to believe it so I looked at some more articles. It seemed all the articles agreed with the first article. Until I read this article that presented some good points as to why a virtual team could be more beneficial then in real life. The article presented these ten rules that should be followed to create a working virtual brainstorming team.

  1. Invest in an online resource where members can learn quickly about one another.
  2. Choose a few team members who already know each other.
  3. Identify "boundary spanners" and ensure that they make up at least 15% of the team.
  4. Cultivate boundary spanners as a regular part of company wide practices and processes.
  5. Break the team's work up into modules so that progress in one location is not overly dependent on progress in another.
  6. Create an online site where a team can collaborate, exchange ideas and inspire one another.
  7. Encourage frequent communication. But don't try to force social gatherings.
  8. Assign only tasks that are challenging and interesting.
  9. Ensure the task is meaningful to the team and the company.
  10. When building a virtual team, solicit volunteers as much as possible.

I guess the world is changing and it looks like brainstorming teams are too. I hope it is as beneficial as the research shows. I still believe there is something to be said for "real" world interactions and brainstorming. I have always been more creative with people around then by myself, but maybe I'm an exception. Anyone else feel this way?

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Raphael Jaras said...

Hey Carolyn I really enjoyed reading your blog. I agreed with you right away with not wanting to believe that virtual teams worked better then actual brainstorming. I didn't come across those facts that you showed but they are very good points. I say the basic idea that would make virtual brainstorming better is a relationship between the people creating solutions. I think we are not the exception and a lot of people would agree.

Kendra said...

I'm also curious about how the relationships between people in virtual teams are like. That is one of my main concerns with virtual communication and I would like to know if there are any statistics showing whether the relationships are stronger by face to face or virtual teams.

Timur Khalif said...

Carolyn, I felt the exact same way when I read the same article. How can that be possible? I was stunned to find out that this method is actually working for many teams and sometimes even works better. The fact that technology is evolving our way of life is really scary, but true. It is seen here. Great post and i completely agree.

Alyssa said...

Carolyn, I really liked your blog! It was very easy to read and well organized. You had eye catching visuals which enhanced my understanding.