We now have the ability to communicate immediately with a diverse range of companies and teams from around the world. Throughout history, a few simple management principles have proven to be effective in almost every situation.
In simple terms, here’s how to manage a global team:
Establish explicit communication parameters early in the project’s life cycle.
These don’t have to be hard and fast rules; merely figure out what kind of communication is appropriate at different periods of the day, week, month, and year.
If you’re working on an open-source project, you might have to decide when it’s better to contact the project’s maintainer rather than use chat forums. If you’re working on a larger corporate project, you may need to decide whether it’s acceptable to hold unplanned meetings rather than requiring everyone to schedule time beforehand.
While this does not totally eliminate email communication, it does help everyone on the team to better manage their calendars so that essential subjects are discussed at the proper time rather than having various teams waste hours waiting for each other during crucial project phases.
Communicate asynchronously as much as possible.
While email may not be the best option for every type of communication, it has its purposes and, if at all possible, should be used less frequently than chat rooms or face-to-face interactions.
If you’ve previously sent a letter or a meeting invitation, sending an email is a good rule of thumb. This removes distractions for your employees and allows information to flow at its own pace through management channels.
Make a system for collecting feedback and comments from your team that everyone can use.
This should ideally be documented, but even if it isn’t, provide time for individuals to share their concerns and ideas to you and other team managers on a frequent basis.
If you have the capability, implementing anonymous surveys to gather honest input from everyone can help guarantee that you’re making decisions based on evidence from all sources, not just the loudest voices in the room.
Maintain, as much as possible, consistency in expectations across teams and geographical borders.
This eliminates ambiguity for your teams and employees, allowing them to manage their workloads more easily and tie everything together at the end of the project.
If 2 different programmers working on the same task on two different continents have slightly different ideas about what needs to be done and when, the result will be misunderstandings and irritation rather than productivity and efficiency.
Set reasonable expectations.
If you expect too much or too little from your teammates, you will be disappointed. They must first determine how many hours per day/week they should work and what types of duties they should perform before being asked to take on new responsibilities or projects.
If, on the other hand, you start expecting everyone to work 80+ hours per week because you believe it is “the norm” in the industry, you will most likely burn out your employees and reduce overall productivity.
Ensure that new hires are well-prepared before they begin working for the company.
This necessitates conducting in-depth interviews with them as well as allotting sufficient time for existing employees’ schedules and tasks. Everyone will be confused and frustrated if an employee is hired without a clear understanding of what they will be working on or when they will be expected to master important aspects of the business.
Effective managers employ a variety of strategies to minimize problems such as employee turnover, scheduling conflicts, and poor communication within their global teams and departments. Adopt them as soon as possible into your global teams.