Working Collaboratively on Global Project Teams

Posted by in Blogs, Raechel Logan: The Team Member Advocate

Collaborative Projects

A few weeks ago I came across this quote by Tom Petrocelli, Senior Analyst, Social Enterprise at ESG (The Enterprise Strategy Group), that I loved:

“The social enterprise has the potential to transform the business landscape. New ways of communicating and collaborating are helping to break down the barriers between functional silos and geography. The end result will be more agile businesses fueled by better decision making and more efficient processes.” 

One of the biggest growing challenges facing project managers and project teams in today’s workforce is figuring out how to manage and balance global or spread out teams. It’s becoming more and more common for team members to work remotely or even in different countries. With time zone, language, and cultural differences, keeping a collaborative atmosphere on your project team can be difficult… and even frustrating. But, it’s important! So, how do we do it?

In a recent post on PMI’s Voices on Project Management blog entitled, “The 5 W’s of Successfully Working on a Global Project,” Conrado Morlan offers five W’s to consider when trying to begin to collaborate on a global project or team: Who, What, Where, When, and Why. Why these W’s may seem simplistic or slightly obvious, they are, in my opinion, a great place to start when trying to facilitate collaboration on your dispersed team.

Morlan gives a few nuggets of wisdom you may want to consider as the project manager of a global project:

1. What skills do you need to develop that will help you find credibility in another culture’s eyes? Learning another language? Understanding the relevant cultures involved with your team and how they work with deadlines or other aspects of business?

2. Where is there opportunity for you to learn? Interacting with the members of your team working remotely or foreignly as often as you can will help you learn how to better collaborate and communicate with them.

3. Considering all of the time zones involved in your project, when are the best times for conference calls, video conference calls, etc., so you can get your entire team involved at the same time?

And I would add one more:

4. What tools, especially collaborative or social tools, can you leverage to help your team collaborate more often, without the barriers of spread out time zones or different languages?

The goal, of course, is to achieve better communication and participation on your global projects so that you can “break down the barriers between functional silos and geography,” as Petrocelli’s quote mentions.

You can read Morlan’s full blog post here.

To find out how AtTask can help you create a more collaborative atmosphere on your global team or project, click here.