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Informal communication for virtual teams? Ideas, comments, etc.
Thank you to Michael Nir, Aidan Foley und Rob Ruiz for their ideas, comments, etc.
And what is your experience?
Don’t know about any ideas, but I think informal communication is an absolute necessity for teams that don’t meet on a regular basis. Even if it’s scheduled as little as 30 minutes every other week. As with many of my last teammates, I never personally met them, plus the 9 hour time change, plus the cultural differences, plus the language understanding, etc. It adds up, and after awhile, we are not as efficient as we could be.
Completely agree about the importance of informal communication and rapport building for project teams.
A couple of things from my experience …
I’d ask my more senior resources to pick someone to be their “little brother or sister / mentee” on the project and to make a concerted effort to reach out to them regularly to discuss both project and non-project related items – be it over instant messenger, phone, video chat, etc.. They saw this as an opportunity to practice their own mentorship and leadership skills … great byproducts were more thoroughly engaged project team members, stronger relationships on the team overall and even the occasional identification of risks, stressors, etc. that team members maybe didn’t have the chance or comfort level in sharing via other communication forums.
Also, I’d carve out 5 minutes from my weekly team status meeting to allow team members (those who wanted) to share a story, joke, etc. It was strange for the team at first, but after a while they / we learned to appreciate the chance to not always discuss business matters and to just “hang out” together.