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Topic for June:
Date: Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Topic: Managing Virtual Teams for Real Results
Speaker: Rick Brenner


Virtual teams are now officially the way of things. Everything about such projects or operations is more difficult than face-to-face teams - including figuring out how to declare victory when failure is what actually happened.

What's a virtual team? You'll find various definitions if you surf around a bit, but the main features of a virtual team are what make them so difficult to manage - the people are dispersed geographically, they meet infrequently or never, and they might even come from different cultures. And these three factors conspire to make what's usually easy, difficult - and what's usually difficult, impossible.

But on top of all of that, there is organizational politics. Project sponsors and managers must learn to navigate the politics of all organizations that host project team elements. And they must understand the politics of managing team elements that lie outside their own organizations.

This program helps people who sponsor, lead or participate in virtual teams.

Participants learn to appreciate the true challenges of the dispersed environment.

They learn how the economics of the dispersed environment differ from the economics of the face-to-face environment, and how the picture conveyed by the organizational cost management system distorts our view of these differences.

Most important, they learn strategies and tactics for making the dispersed environment productive and effective. Based on attendee interest, topics will be drawn from this selection:

  • The nature of global and dispersed teams
  • Building and maintaining trust
  • Planning communications
  • Dealing with dispersion
  • Accounting for socio-cultural and political differences
  • Accounting for language differences
  • Allocating the work with dispersion in mind
  • Dealing with voicemail and email in virtual teams
  • Making face-to-face meetings count
  • Celebrating achievements
  • Leading telemeetings

Whether you're a veteran of virtual teams, or a relative newcomer, this program is a real eye-opener.

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About the Speaker

Rick Brenner is principal of Chaco Canyon Consulting.

He works with people in problem-solving organizations that need state-of-the-art teamwork and with organizations that want to create innovative products by building stronger relationships among their people.

Mr. Brenner is the author of 202 Tips for Managing Global Teams, an ebook that is the basis for the program he will deliver to Boston SPIN.

In his 25 years as a software developer, software development manager, entrepreneur and consultant, he has developed valuable insights into the interactions between people in the workplace environment, and between people and the media in which they work.

He coaches managers at all levels.

Mr. Brenner has held positions in software development and software development management, at Symbolics, Inc., and at Draper Laboratory, where, as a DARPA principal investigator, he conducted research into the software development process.

Since 1993, he has taught a course in business modeling at the Harvard University Extension School.

Mr. Brenner holds a Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering from MIT.

His current interests focus on improving personal and organizational effectiveness in abnormal situations, such as dramatic change, technical emergencies, and high-pressure project situations.

He has written a number of essays on these subjects, available at his Web site,, and writes and edits a weekly email newsletter, Point Lookout.

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