Monday of last week was the deadline to hand the instructional content we had developed over to our French team members for the next phase of our project. In the end, we had a reasonable document and our translators have got stuck in with great enthusiasm. So, while we still are available to assist with queries, we have completed a substantial part of the assignment. We all exhaled and moved on to the next items on our respective agendas.
Tuesday saw one of our lecturers upload a lecture on collaboration and virtual teams and initially I thought “…..OK a bit late for that, I could have really done with this podcast two weeks ago…….”, but then as I reviewed the content I realised that by reversing the assignment and the lecture, I now had a better handle of the issues around virtual collaboration and virtual teams than if the order had been the more traditional lecture first (content download) and then assignment.
There were plenty of “Aha!” moments as I reviewed the lecture material. While some issues (and their solutions) had become obvious during the assignment, other issues only came to the fore at the end – for example, we should have developed a communication protocol and spent some time at the start on non-task communication and generally got to know the group a bit better. The importance of version control also became an issue towards the end of the project. All in all, this was not only a learning experience in virtual collaboration but also n the power of flipped learning.
- Creating feelings of trust using icebreaker activities for virtual teams.
- Making Virtual Teams Work: Ten Basic Principles.
- This classic HBR article by Oncken and Wassis (1999) is about managers delegating to team members but is also applicable to virtual teams – Management Time: Who’s got the Monkey?