How to manage a dispersed project team
January 26, 2023 |
6 min read
Managing geographically dispersed project teams is nothing new. However, developing this important aspect of a project manager’s skill set, in the wake of the pandemic, has never been more vital. In today’s globalized world, project teams are becoming ever more geographically dispersed. Add to this the challenges of dealing with many different stakeholders and personality traits, and the need for project managers to develop and adapt their approach has never been clearer.
Running a project with a dispersed team has a knock-on effect on productivity in meetings, clarity of communications, understanding shared objectives and outcomes, professional relationships, and collaboration methods. The modern project manager must grapple with how these effects place additional demands on their role and find ways to accommodate them.
Building a collaborative and productive team dynamic is generally much easier in person than remotely. Tuckman’s classic “Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing” model is useful for understanding how a team’s productivity can develop through the life of a project. Dispersed teams often have more flux and change than co-located teams, so this cycle of convening a new team, finding out how to work together and then becoming productive is repeated whenever a new project is initiated. Dispersed teams with an offshore component must also recognize cultural differences.