Tools for Virtual Teams
- Do you find yourself repeating the same information to different individuals?
- Is there confusion about who’s doing what in your virtual project? You talk to one person and they think the “other person” is doing it.
- Do you have trouble locating your documents, and then when you finally find what you want >> you’re not sure if it’s the latest version!
- Do you sometimes think you’ve told someone something, only to find out they don’t know what the heck you’re talking about!
- When a key player is no longer working with your online business, do you spend hours re-explaining your systems or retraining a replacement
Warning >>> your virtual business could be losing money, valuable information and paying thousands of dollars in unnecessary retraining and rework!!
In a virtual, online working environment there is a special need for the skills and on-going learnings of the organisation to be captured and retained. Especially when individuals are often working across different time zones.
Having information systems in place in ANY work environment is absolutely essential to the success and smooth operation of a business. In a typical work environment, people will see each other face-to-face, share information freely when they meet at the water cooler or when they head out together for a business lunch.
However, in a virtual work environment when you are not having that daily, face-to-face interaction, systems become even more important.
Your virtual team needs to have established systems and processes in place that will ensure when an individual team member discovers valuable information about her tasks, client information, areas for system improvement, changes to processes etc. – then other team members can be updated and informed regardless of what time, or what place they are working from.
Here’s 4 important ways to make sure you capture and retain information across your entire virtual team…
#1 Establish An Online “Real Time” Collaborative Information Portal For Your Team
There are hundreds of systems available online. Do your research – find a tool that suits your business size, style and structure. Take advantage of trial offers to make sure they work for your business . Continue reading
I have received other messages – “what is my password for…again?” – “do you have a copy of that document I sent you 6 months ago?”
Whether you are in an airport, hotel or at the beach, there is no reason for you to not be able to access your systems quickly. Of course internet connection is a must, however even if internet is limited, it should not stop you working offline.
Travelling, working virtually and running a team can be so great – we sometimes will find a friendly restaurant by the beach to enjoy an afternoon of work, snacks, wine and coffee.
If you do not have the right technology and systems in place, it can be a source of great anxiety. The good news is – this does not have to be hard or expensive.
Here is an outline of the areas you need to have in place… Continue reading
In this Video following on from part II, John shows you an easy way to take your requirements list and use it to research the market, and then subsequently make a shortlist of suitable solutions available. This then will form the foundation to test the software or solution and rate it for your team.
If you use this process, you will save time in researching, you will save yourself headaches in trying to figure out what is the best fit, and lastly you will ensure the nearest fit to your requirements.
In this video John discusses the second part of the process in choosing The Right Tools For Your Virtual Team. Following on from Part 1 – making a requirements list, this video discusses turning it into a Research list to be used to research the right tools for your Virtual Team.
When we do a strategy meeting with someone to help them outsource or streamline – one of the easiest ways we find to fix major problems and obstacles in a business is to find the right technology tools.
It is also one of the biggest challenges solo-prenuers and online marketers face, especially if they are not good with computers and software.
I am here to tell you that the challenge is not the “technology” nor is it “the problem”. I am also here to tell you that it is easy to find the right solution for your needs – and YOU don’t need to be a tech-head.
That is why I am devoting the next few issues to showing you a really simple process to help define your needs, research a solution, and choose the best fit – whatever your problem or technology requirement.
This happens every day in business around the world. Someone is searching for a solution they “think” they need but have never actually brainstormed and written down the specifics of what they need. 100% of the people we meet with have never written a “specification” of what they want.
Now I know what you are going to say “I am not a techie”, “What would I know about a writing specification”, “This is above my head”.
By specification, I simply mean a list of specific needs
How do you think you would go finding your dream home if you told a real estate agent you wanted a 4 bedroom house with water views? You might get lucky but I don’t think so, I think you would be searching for years to find the exact house with the exact features you want.
The same applies to your business. You need to get specific and detail exactly what you need.
I have seen major deployments go wrong because they had a technical specification but not a “User specification”
So this is what I want you to do. Open a new word document and title it My Requirements
The next thing I want you to do is start typing, type what?
Type exactly what you want, don’t worry if you don’t think it exists, type exactly what you think would fix your problem.
Please note – if you have a team, have each and every member do this same exercise – you will be surprised at the great ideas they will come up with.
Here is a very simple example of a requirements list:
- I would like an way for my clients to automatically book an appointment with me
- I would like to select the days to make available for different types of appointments
- I want my VA emailed so she can set up a recorded phone call
- I want it to automatically update a calendar
- I want my iphone calendar updated also
- I want my client to fill out a questionnaire before my meeting
- I want to access the questionnaire in a central location before the meeting
Now this is a simple solution that would not even really need the process I am about to show you, but the principle still applies. Write it down, it does not matter how stupid or simple it sounds, write it down. Be as specific as possible, the more specific the more chance at finding what your require. A lot of people have the first thing they want to fix in mind, find a solution and pay money only to find down the track that solution can’t grow with them or does not even satisfy 50% of their requirements.
This process will help you get in mind the “Bigger Picture”, and gets your team to think about a “total solution”.
It will also lay the foundation for the next critical step in the process – Creating a Research Wishlist
So before I write the next article, you have some homework to do – get writing and get brainstorming with your team.
If you have any questions, leave them below in the comments, I would be happy to help.
Also, if you have had a good or bad experience, let our little community know, maybe there is something we can do to help.