How to Manage Remote Project Teams - Tip #5

Introduction: In the current times of globalisation and international competition, project work at many international companies is often carried out by virtual project teams which are distributed across multiple locations, countries, and time zones. Due to the ongoing Covid-19 crisis the trend of remote project work was boosted even further, as companies in various industry sectors, such as in the IT industry, had to adapt and enable their project teams to work remotely in order to keep their businesses alive. The following series provides some concrete and practical advice based on experience gained from the daily project management work. 

Recommendation #5 - Celebrate successes and strengthen team-building: It is always a good idea for a project manager to look for ways to strengthen the team-building within the project team. Achieving this is more difficult in a virtual environment with no co-location and no personal contact between the team members. Apart from a potential initial face-to-face meeting with the whole team, which may or may not be possible, as described earlier, the project manager has to find other ways to foster team collaboration and team-building. A recommended method of doing this is to organize informal virtual team events in order to reward the team for project successes, such as celebrating the achievement of a major project milestone. Even though classical methods like taking the team out for a common dinner are not feasible, there can be many creative solutions such as “virtual online drinking” events or whatever other ideas the team may have. These team activities will prove very valuable because they generally increase team cohesion, promote team spirit, build trust within the team and with the project manager, and can help to overcome difficult situations later in the project, where an extra effort will be needed and the mutual support between the team members can make the difference. 

Author: Paraschos Pentas, Date: 31 March 2021