Teams working on a task outcome are embedded in a social and business environment; they have their own work to complete, and in addition they have others to keep informed about how things are going. Perhaps it’s the manager of a division, and he or she has sponsored the work, and as such, needs to be kept up with the progress that is being made, as well as technical, business and political interference that has to be run. Or maybe it’s the senior management team, and they need regular / frequent updates on what’s going on.
There’s a third group too, and that’s everyone else in the organization who may have a direct or indirect interest in the work of the team. There should be some way of keeping them informed at a high-level about how things are going, and when the work is intended to be completed.
These three constituencies can be thought of as three concentric circles, with the virtual team members in the center, the sponsors in the next circle, and everyone else in the final circle. Starting from the center and moving out, the level of detail about what’s happening starts extremely dense and becomes less and less dense. The project team needs to know everything on a day-to-day basis, the sponsors receive less day-to-day data but more summarized information, and everyone else should have access to the statement of work, the names of the people involved, some key dates, and the name of someone to contact for more work.
What Do I Need To Do?
Determine who the sponsors are of the work, and ask them the kinds of information they want to hear on the progress of the team, and the frequency with which they want to receive it. The interactions with this group should be planned and intentional; merely giving them access to the collaborative workspace of the team is generally the wrong way to go about doing things.
See A-Z of Virtual Teams: Summary for the complete list.
Update (April 19)
Gavin has posted some thoughts on this one, and suggests that the better term is “stakeholders” rather than “sponsors”.
Categories: Culture & Competency