As a startup in the tech-first digital world, to be able to actualize your idea, you will most likely need to on-board hyper specialized professionals, from across the world. The question that arises then is, ‘can a virtual workforce be as productive as you’d like for your ideal team to be?’ The answer to that lies in your ability to become a top manager, hire the right people and then give the team the direction and roadmap. This should be the same direction that you’d to a conventional team, so much so, that they’d start with the atmosphere that empowers them with the productivity you are looking for. After which, you simply have to channel that productivity towards the right set of projects and assess processes every once in a while.
This channelization though, thrives on the application of workforce management and strategic distribution, processes which are crucial even for nascent, agile teams. Standardized work distribution, accurate demand assessment and skill inventory details may initially sound like the very conventions you’re trying to get rid of or those that come in the way of ‘fun’ agility. However, implemented right, they can, in fact, provide a solid foundation to both the scale and sustenance of your virtual team.
Architect Team Breakdown Structures With Workforce Visibility
Resource planning begins when the portfolio pipeline is curated. To set things in motion, you’ll need to start with a team-wide resource map that instantly lets you see what your employees’ competencies and availability are like and how you could match numbers in case a staffing shortage or excess occurs. For a virtual team, an effective all-hands meeting can be a great starting point before it could mature into using a resource planning tool.
As the team matures, you’ll benefit from recording both skill details as well as project histories. With this information, you’ll be able to create a Resource (People) Breakdown Structure (similar to that of a Work Breakdown Structure) to ensure the right resources are selected and are allocated the right tasks. Regular weekly and monthly schedules are another essential component within this.
Strategize People Optimization
Considering that 70% of the workforce opt to work remotely at least once a week, it helps to encourage stimulating dialogue between teams in order to ensure they remain optimally occupied and motivated. Further, you will need to both respect their time and time zones as well as clarify ownership and the quality of outcomes. With these basics in place, you can go on to make allocations based on availability and task preferences. The biggest challenge is to encourage communication that is effective enough given virtual collaboration calls for the team to go an extra mile. To strategize people time, account for their hours as you’d of in-office teams and provide room for both balance and recreation. Eventually, you will begin to see that teams reciprocate with the level of professionalism you’ve standardized.
Weigh People Capacity Against Project Demand
Projects cannot be planned without ensuring that the requisite quantity and quality of skilled labor is on hand. Monitoring your team’s capacity and performance management brings information concerning the nature of skills you have onboard. It helps you decide if the upcoming projects can be supported with the available capacity. To reiterate, the actual capacity of a well-managed virtual team at the peak of its productivity should be no different from that of a team in-house team of the same scale.
Having analyzed capacity, matching it to incoming projects lets you staff projects optimally while accommodating shifting demands. Moreover, you’ll monitor how skills can be shared among inflight projects, thereby giving starving projects momentum by releasing staff who’re both skilled and available for the period requested for.
Create Cost-Sensitive Plans
With a virtual team, especially one that has to manage contractors from different countries working on multiple projects, factoring the price point to maximize project profits is crucial. It helps to create a budgetary module within the project resource plan to estimate how a project’s revenue can be maximized. This also helps streamline processes by decluttering your resources schedules and distinguishes time that is spent on non-core activities. Your people are not only more productive while focused towards their core work but also generate high returns through viable effort-to-output ratios. Besides, you will capitalize on expensive skills in effective ways and at the same time, distribute skill evenly among people.
The trend of virtual teams is revolutionizing the way exponential organizations scale, innovate and produce. Don’t let the fear of sub-optimal productivity let you miss out on substantial operational benefits and unmatched skill potential that spans the entire world. Begin with small non-obligatory contracts and scale when you’re assured of results.