How To Be An Effective Team When You Never Meet Face To Face

I am just starting a uni module which involves team work in an online discussion board. Basically we never meet each other face to face. How do you think this will change our team work and what would be the two most important ground rules?

The Team Doc Says…

Congratulations to you and kudos for realizing there could be additional challenges in your virtual team arrangement. One of the main issues that can derail a virtual team is communication. Of course this is the same issue that can derail teams that are not virtual. 🙂

So one of your team ground rules should be around communication — as in what will be shared and how it will be shared. Since the team is virtual, a wiki or blog might be a good idea. And, of course, you can always use email with threaded discussions (that could get a bit cumbersome though).

The other key ground rule should be around resolving conflict. Your team will need to define when the team needs to get involved, how they will get involved and what process will be used to resolve the conflict. I've defined a process for resolving conflict in a virtual team here.

You'll also want to make sure that you define team roles which will help you communicate better and (hopefully!) minimize conflict.

What about you reader? Have any additional suggestions? Please leave a comment.

About Denise O'Berry

Denise O'Berry is President of The Small Business Edge Corp, a small business consulting firm. A small business owner since 1996, Denise understands the challenges facing small business. She's lived them herself and helped hundreds of clients work through the frustrations, fears, and joys of owning a small business. Denise is the author of Small Business Cash Flow: Strategies for Making Your Business a Financial Success, a practical guide about keeping the cash in your business - where it belongs. Find more resources and tips at deniseoberry.com and askteamdoc.com