Virtual Teams Best Practice
Designate a ‘tool master’ for each software tool used by your virtual team. This tool master is responsible for developing expertise for a specific software tool. The tool master can then instruct and assist other team members and how to use the software program to its full and best effect.
If your team has more tools than members, each team member may be responsible for more than one tool. The tool master should allocate time to initially learn about each tool and later allocate time to stay up to date on new features and best practices for that tool. The tool master should be provided with a time and money budget to purchase books, training, certifications, and other resources to develop this expertise. Don’t forget to remind each tool master to add their newly acquired skill-set to their profiles and resumes.
One of the first things the tool master should create is a one page introduction to their software tool for team members. This one page introduction should specifically include etiquette rules on when and how the tool should be utilized.
The tool master should host an initial and subsequent short training sessions demonstrating the best use of this tool. The tool master should also put together a short program to onboard new virtual team members on setting up and using the software program.
The tool master should also create a dedicated subfolder within your virtual team drive system dedicated to the specific tool. Then the tool master can place their one page introduction, etiquette instructions, and additional information documents within that dedicated folder.
Finally, we recommend that there either be a dedicated chat channel for tools in general or even a dedicated channel for each tool. This chat channel then becomes the mechanism through which team members can ask questions or seek advice as needed.
In the interests of continuous improvement we recommend periodic reviews be conducted to determine how effective each tool master is, and critically, how they could improve.
Establishing Tool Masters is a simple step that can go a long way toward improving the overall quality of communications on your virtual team.