Future Trends: Global Projects & Virtual Teaming

Future Trends: Global Projects & Virtual Teaming

Debra D. Orosbullard (PMP, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-400-2.ch030
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The business world is running at a faster pace than ever before. Globalization has partnered the world and new ways of doing business to meet increasing demands are inevitable. Teams now have members dispersed around the globe, distanced by location and brought together by technology. Where these geographically dispersed teams work is known as a “virtual” world. The “virtual” team is different from the traditional team many are familiar with requiring that new skills be learned to be a successful member. This chapter will introduce the virtual team and discuss how it is different from traditional teams. The skills required of the leadership and members of a virtual team will be identified and detailed. The various types of virtual teams will be examined to determine how they are utilized in today’s business world.
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Globalization and Project Teams

The integration of the world’s people, markets, culture, economies, technology, politics, processes, resources, and services gives birth to “Globalization”. Even though the concept of merging international economies seems new, it has been in development for many centuries.

Worldwide trade and exploration had its beginnings in the 16th century as Portugal began what is known as the “Age of Discovery” in the mid 1400s. As those adventurous early explorers began to venture further and further beyond the known, they began the integration of the world’s civilization and gave birth to globalization. It has only been in our lifetime, during the past 75 years or so, that the acceleration of globalization has touched everyone’s life on a personal level making it seem a modern phenomena.

In examining how globalization has changed the world it can be safely said that it has influenced every facet of our lives. It has changed our economies; brought together the world’s cultures, developed technology, improved health care, led to human rights, and influenced ecology.

This chapter studies the effect globalization has on projects and the project team. Just as it has an impact on our everyday lives, globalization has changed how we manage projects and the structure of the project team and how they interact. Globalization, integration, and multinational corporations all represent a major tend in the twenty-first century (Lientz & Rea, 1998). Teams have changed from the members being co-located organizationally and geographically to the team members being distributed organizationally and geographically (Kimball, 1997).

The way we interact with each other on a project and at the team level has been greatly influenced by today’s technological advances. The geographically dispersed team needs a way to communicate and share information in real-time. Technology has provided the means to enable communication globally. The way we work is changing and just like the early explorers we are expanding our horizons and learning new ways to work with the future landscape that is being developed. As Smagg (2008), points out there is an “abundance of technology available today for collaboration including instant messaging, web conference, collaboration technologies, unified communications…” we still need to adjust to this new way of doing business. The roles have changed and the idea of the project team and members roles has changed.

As globalization fosters increased partnering relationships between our organization and those outside such as partners customers, vendors, etc. becomes more complex and important. As technology allows immediate access to partners across the globe and the ability to share electronic project data files real time it brings us together and makes our lives easier, but it also further complicates things. The boundaries between organizations and countries disappear and new challenges arise; to be effective in today’s business world the pressure is to be more productive. The virtual or geographically dispersed team has been born out of the need for teams from all over the world to work together.

Work began in the virtual world during the late 1980’s when the distance education field began to use computers to connect students. As Pauleen points out, the “Current notion of the Virtual Team has been around since the mid 1900’s: First addressed by the practitioner literature… research on virtual teams in organizations has only emerged in the last few years” (Pauleen, 2004).

First, let’s define what a virtual team is. There are many definitions of virtual teams, but they all have one thing in common: the “Virtual team members are physically separated (by time and/or space) and the virtual team members primarily interact electronically.” (“Virtual”, 2008). The quest of business to gain new markets on a worldwide or global level has been the driving force behind the development of virtual teams. As Kimball (1997), points out “Although the technology that supports these new teams gets most of the attention when we talk about virtual teams, it’s really the changes in the nature of the teams- not their use of technology – that creates new challenges for team managers and members.” There are challenges faced by virtual teams that are usually not a factor in tradition teams, virtual team members usually have never met each other in person, they often live in different countries, are from different cultures, work for different organizations, and they usually do not share the same first language.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Organizational Culture: Organizational culture, or corporate culture, comprises the attitudes, experiences, beliefs and values of an organization Partnering- to join or associate with another as partner.

Virtual Team: A group of employees using information and communications technologies to collaborate from different work bases. Members of a virtual team may work in different parts of the same building or may be scattered across a country or around the world. The team can be connected by technology such as groupware, e-mail, an intranet, or videoconferencing and can be said to inhabit a virtual office. Although virtual teams can work efficiently, occasional face-to-face meetings can be important to avoid feelings of isolation and to enable team building.

Globalization: The development of an increasingly integrated global economy marked especially by free trade, free flow of capital, and the tapping of cheaper foreign labor markets.

Real Time: When an event or function is processed instantaneously, it is said to occur in real-time. To say something takes place in real-time is the same as saying it is happening “live”.

Collaboration: To work jointly with others or together especially in an intellectual or business endeavor.

Complete Chapter List

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Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
Robert K. Hiltbrand
Terry T. Kidd
Terry T. Kidd
Chapter 1
James W. Price Jr., Pamila Dembla
As exploratory research, the chapter’s aim is to assess if Sun-Tzu’s application of Taoist principles are applicable to the problem domain of... Sample PDF
The Tao To Understanding Enterprise It Project Complexity: Sun-Tzu's Five Factors Revisited
Chapter 2
A. J. Gilbert Silvius
This chapter describes a study into the expected development of the competences of the project manager in the year 2027. The study was performed... Sample PDF
Project Management 2027: The Future of Project Management
Chapter 3
Gregory J. Skulmoski, Francis T. Hartman
The purpose of this research was to investigate the soft competencies by project phase that IT project managers, hybrid and technical team members... Sample PDF
The Progression Towards Project Management Competence
Chapter 4
Ralf Müller
This chapter addresses project managers’ leadership styles, mainly from the perspective of technology projects. It starts by defining and outlining... Sample PDF
Leadership in Technology Project Management
Chapter 5
Melanie S. Karas, Mahesh S. Raisinghani, Kerry S. Webb
A project manager’s role on any project goes far beyond task-related deliverables. Although the project manager must be able to effectively manage... Sample PDF
The Importance of Leadership in Project Management
Chapter 6
Jaby Mohammed
This chapter introduces the concept of technology management by objectives. Technology is one of the fastest moving elements in the 21st Century... Sample PDF
Technology Management by Objectives (TMO)
Chapter 7
Gary Pan
The goal of any product is to be used. In a very real sense, people judge the success or failure of any product by the extent to which it is used by... Sample PDF
Examining Stakeholders' Roles in Influencing IT Project Cancellation Decisions
Chapter 8
Daniel W. Surry
This chapter will discuss more than 20 system development life cycles (SDLC) found in the Information Technology project management arena, whereby... Sample PDF
Bringing the User into the Project Development Process
Chapter 9
Evon M. O. Abu-Taieh, Asim A. El Sheikh, Jeihan M. Abu-Tayeh, Maha T. El-Mahied
This chapter uses the Diffusion of Innovations (DOI) theory and examines a business case, highlighting certain gaps in the theory. First, confusion... Sample PDF
Information Technology Projects System Development Life Cycles: Comparative Study
Chapter 10
Francisco Chia Cua, Tony C. Garrett
This chapter introduces the Firm-Level Value Creation Model as a means of planning Information Systems projects based on their potential for... Sample PDF
Analyzing Diffusion and Value Creation Dimensions of a Business Case of Replacing Enterprise Systems
Chapter 11
Otavio Prospero Sanchez, Alberto Luiz Albertin
In this chapter the authors investigate the management of service innovation projects; can ICT based service innovation be facilitated by... Sample PDF
IT Project Planning based on Business Value Generation
Chapter 12
Bendik Bygstad, Gjermund Lanestedt
This chapter provides a framework for technology project implementation in systems where the human is an integral element of the completed project.... Sample PDF
Managing ICT Based Service Innovation
Chapter 13
Katy E. Ellis
Project management is a carefully planned, organized effort to manage the resources in order to successfully accomplish specific project goals and... Sample PDF
Employee Preparation, Participation, and Performance
Chapter 14
Jaby Mohammed, Ali Alavizadeh
This chapter provides a fundamental yet comprehensive coverage of quality management. Bringing managers and engineers the most up-to-date quality... Sample PDF
Quality Assurance in Project Management
Chapter 15
Sohail Anwar
Project management is a carefully planned, organized effort to manage the resources in order to successfully accomplish specific project goals and... Sample PDF
Quality Management and Control
Chapter 16
Dawn M. Owens, Deepak Khazanchi
Successful implementation of IT (information technology) projects is a critical strategic and competitive necessity for firms in all industrial... Sample PDF
Software Quality Assurance
Chapter 17
Fayez Ahmad Albadri
An overwhelming number of Information Technology (IT) projects experience persistent problems and failures. This chapter reflects on some of the... Sample PDF
IPRM: The Integrated Project Risk Model
Chapter 18
Technical Risk Management  (pages 283-294)
Pete Hylton
In today’s highly competitive industrial environment, many high-tech businesses are using Technical Risk Management (TRM) in their engineering... Sample PDF
Technical Risk Management
Chapter 19
Lauren Fancher
IT projects across all sectors are relying on more iterative methodologies that can employ early and frequent assessment and evaluation processes in... Sample PDF
Early, Often, and Repeat: Assessment and Evaluation Methodology for Ensuring Stakeholder Satisfaction with Information Technology Projects
Chapter 20
Chad J. Cray
Considering the high failure rate of information technology (IT) projects over the last 40 years, project managers should use all the tools at their... Sample PDF
A Needle in a Haystack: Choosing the Right Development Methodology for IT Projects
Chapter 21
Mysore Narayanan
In this chapter, the author describes how one can implement and incorporate creative techniques to design, develop, document and disseminate a... Sample PDF
Project Management Assessment Methods
Chapter 22
Mario Vanhoucke
It is well-known that well managed and controlled projects are more likely to be delivered on time and within budget. The construction of a... Sample PDF
Static and Dynamic Determinants of Earned Value Based Time Forecast Accuracy
Chapter 23
Michele De Lorenzi
This chapter presents a technology exploration process designed to support service innovation for information and communication technologies in a... Sample PDF
Technology Exploration Process: From Technology to New Services
Chapter 24
Henryk R. Marcinkiewicz
Three models structure the planning for technology integration into instruction. Institutional needs are assessed for three dimensions suggested in... Sample PDF
Planning for Integrating Technology
Chapter 25
Michael Crow
Kansas State University has ensured greatly increased academic involvement in the implementation of its new student information system through the... Sample PDF
University Task Force Deepens Academic Involvement in ERP System
Chapter 26
Joni A. Amorim, Carlos Machado, Rosana G.S. Miskulin, Mauro S. Miskulin
The production of quality educational multimedia content involves both its publication and its use, considering aspects ranging from metadata... Sample PDF
Production, Publication, and Use of Educational Multimedia Content in Brazil: Challenges and Opportunities in Real World Technology Projects
Chapter 27
Hasan Tinmaz
Technology planning is an indispensable activity for all higher education institutions nowadays. The major purpose of the technology planning is to... Sample PDF
Instructional Technology Plans for Higher Education Institutions
Chapter 28
Patricia McGee, Veronica Diaz
The rapid proliferation of e-learning tools that offer low or no cost investment and are not housed on institutional servers, has made it very... Sample PDF
Shifting from Classroom to Online Delivery
Chapter 29
Bimal P. Nepal, Leslie Monplaisir
Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in automotive industry are faced with the conflicting goals of creating vehicles with higher reliability... Sample PDF
Lean and Global Product Development in Auto Industry
Chapter 30
Debra D. Orosbullard
The business world is running at a faster pace than ever before. Globalization has partnered the world and new ways of doing business to meet... Sample PDF
Future Trends: Global Projects & Virtual Teaming
Chapter 31
Geoffrey Corb, Stephen Hellen
Social networking technologies—such as Wikis, blogs and instant messaging—are increasingly being employed in business settings to support... Sample PDF
Wiki-enabled Technology Management
Chapter 32
Owen G. McGrath
Higher education IT project managers have always relied on user activity data as logged in one form or another. Summarized counts of users and... Sample PDF
Mining User Activity Data In Higher Education Open Systems: Trends, Challenges, and Possibilities
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