Virtual Teams Inquiry LO7208
Mon, 6 May 1996 08:32:51 -0400

Replying to LO7176 --

In a message dated 96-05-06 00:39:41 EDT, you write:

>Current working definition:
> A virtual team is a group of people with common purpose
> communicating across boundaries on interdependent tasks.
>We welcome comments on the definition and examples.

Well, this definition does not seem to distinguish *virtual* teams
from any other organization. *All* organizations are:

- groups of people
- with common purposes
- communicating across boundaries
- on interdependent tasks

The term *virtual*, unless you're just using it as a buzz word to gain
interest, would seem to require a steep decrease in "face to face"
communication and/or some electronic infrastructure or "world" within
which the work is done and werein the one contributor's work is
immediately visible to others in this "world" construct.

As an example from my own experience, I have three engineering teams. Two
are concentrated in two cities and have a lot of face time within these
concentrations. The third is *widely* dispersed across the US and Europe
and *mostly* work from home offices. The companies' Chief Scientist lives
on a mountain top, the Chief Engineer lives in a major metropolitan area.
They, from time to time, visit the two concentrated sites for face to face
closure and to keep the *vision* straight. It works. But the
infrastructure and tool set was a formidable challenge in the beginning.
Interestingly, travel savings, alone, more than offsets the annual

Hal Popplewell


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