International Project Management Day




Resource Index > Organizational Resources > Virtual Teams and Vendor/Partner Management

Virtual Teams and Vendor/Partner Management

More and more project managers are finding themselves managing virtual teams -- teams whose members, by choice or by circumstance, are not collocated in the same building. Virtual teams aren't limited to telecommuters. If you collaborate with remote groups or divisions, or use third-party developers, suppliers, and vendors, you've got a virtual team. There can be significant advantages to virtual team arrangements (More coffee! Bunny slippers!), but there are also daunting problems when the "30-foot rule" of close collaboration is violated. The resources here will help you monitor and track progress and encourage productive collaboration with your scattered team members, without resorting to micromanagement and smothering oversight.

How can we help you with your Virtual or Distributed Team?

Examples of Successful Virtual Team Techniques
What does good virtual collaboration look like? These resources provide examples and case studies that illustrate the principles of good collaboration in action.

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  • Getting Aligned and Staying In Sync for Successful Projects with Outside Partners
    This paper provides some ideas for assessing and selecting team members, planning a project while considering the specific ramifications of remote members, and managing communication and the project's activities to successful completion.
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  • Consulting Contract Guidelines and Examples
    Guidelines for creating consulting contracts, including typical information covered and two sample contracts, for project contractors, consultants, or the project managers or functional managers hiring them.
  • RFP for Training Program Development
    Streamline the provider selection process using this template for a Training Program Request for Proposal (RFP). A comprehensive RFP will help you gain clarity and alignment on the real goals of your training program, and will make sifting through offerings and choosing an appropriate vendor easier on your selection committee.
  • New System Request for Proposal (RFP) Outline
    A comprehensive RFP template for new systems proposal requests, along with guidelines for RFP success and detailed annotations. Customize this template to fit your software system or co-development project and shave weeks off your RFP selection time.
Guidelines and Suggestions for Virtual and Distributed Teams
You don't have to live through it to learn how to do it. Thousands of teams before you have collaborated across vast differences with great results. The resources collected here will help you achieve similar success with your virtual team.

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  • Meeting Evaluation Guidelines
    Keep your conference calls on track by monitoring the team's assessment. This file provides a simple questionnaire and process to help evaluate meeting effectiveness and suggest goals for improvement.
  • Best Practices from Experiences in Facilitating Virtual Meetings
    This paper arose from the authors' work facilitating over 100 virtual meetings, including idea generation, planning, decision-making, status briefings, and many others. From this experience, the authors identified their set of lessons learned and honed a set of best practices which cover specifics in areas like time zones, processes, and technology.
  • Team Member Status Report
    Collecting regular team member status reports provides the project manager a window into the true state of the project work. This template includes guidelines, a sample template, and two examples.
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  • Tracking with Visible Deliverables
    This template provides formats and example project data illustrating effective ways to track project progress --- by explicitly tracking drafts, reviews, and completion of multiple very small deliverables.
  • Web Conferencing Planning Activities
    This guideline walks you through the whys and hows of creating a quality online presentation experience for your virtual team or organization.
  • Licensing Project Management Guidelines
    Guidelines for managing a project where one company is licensing another company's product or technology to incorporate into their own product development effort.
  • Partner Contract Guidelines
    When outside partners are employed to execute part or all of a project, the contract with that partner is critical for defining expectations, due dates, and responsibilities. This template provides guidelines for typical contents for such contracts.
Other Options
  • Tracking and Managing Virtual Teams
    A mini-course with Cinda Voegtli - $24.95 - 1 PDU
    You can't even see them, so how do you know they're actually working on your project? This course from Cinda Voegtli addresses the unique challenges of tracking and managing distributed team members. The trick is to focus on what is getting done, not necessarily how it's getting done.
Typical Issues on Virtual Teams and Answers to Common Questions
Common issues for virtual teams, and answers to typical questions.

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  • Safer Status Emails
    A few minutes spent analyzing your message before you hit Send can save you hours, or days, by avoiding a chaotic aftermath--and have huge implications for your career.
  • Being Heard Above the Communication Blizzard
    Are your key project communications getting lost in the avalanche? Try these suggestions for climbing out of the drift.
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  • Tools for Teams: Beyond the Email Bottleneck
    Collaboration is central to team work--reviewing deliverables, communicating status, dealing with issues--but it doesn't come easily. This paper by Tony Christopher of Digital Places proposes that the solution to these frustrations lies not just in the tools, but in how the organization goes about implementing them, and how seriously they take the tools management process.
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Other Options



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