Building Productivity in Virtual Project Teams

Bill Hamersly, Denise Land


The steady increase in project failure rates is leaving businesses searching for better integration techniques to virtualize their project environments. Through virtualization, organizations may have positive impacts on communities across geographical boundaries and resource constraints. The focus of this phenomenological study was to explore, via the experiences of successful project management practitioners, best practice strategies for integrating virtual project teams through data analysis. The conceptual framework included von Bertalanffy’s general systems theory, decomposition model of business process and project management frameworks, and the recomposition approach. Twenty-two senior project managers with more than 5 years of experience managing virtual project environments participated in semistructured telephone interviews. The van Kaam process employing normalization and bracketing approaches in data analysis resulted in the emergence of 34 thematic categories. The 10 most common themes culminated in the identification of strategies relevant for virtual project teams. The major themes pertained to 3 broad areas: (a) structure that accommodates skills and technology for virtual team success, (b) governance leading to efficient virtual project team management, and (c) collaboration practices across diverse environments. This study involved the exploration of the experiences of the participants. Using the van Kaam method for normalization of the data and clustering like experiences into thematic statements, the study provided a plethora of new information concentrated on 10 themes that emerged. 


Project, Project Management; Governance; Communication; Strategy; Diversity; Structure; Virtual; Virtuality; Virtual Project Teams.

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