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‘Managing Virtual Teams’ by Sarah Cook


Managing Virtual Teams
Sarah Cook
Echelon Learning Ltd., 1999. A4 ringbinder, £179.
ISBN1901600 04 1

This is a resource pack by LearningMatters which runs the activity information/purchase facility on the Internet extending a collection of activities into a full resource for trainers. The pack consist of two elements; 30 activities that are concerned with the skills required in effective team development and working; and a 'Trainer's Guide'.

The Trainer's Guide is a 33 page booklet interfiled in the ringbinder for ease of reference and contains 3 sections of advice to trainers who are required to train virtual teams. The first section is concerned with planning and preparing the training - planning key considerations; and key steps to structuring the programme, being fully prepared and what to do on the day. The second section offers guidelines and checklists to the various skills required by professional trainers in terms of effective presentations; conducting a group discussion; conducting a group discussion; using OHPs, flip charts, and marker boards; and evaluating training. The third section contains five example training programme modules - creating a virtual team (3 hours 20 minutes); leading a virtual team (5 hours 10 minutes); time and stress management (2 hours); project management for virtual teams (4 hours); and communication in a virtual team (3 hours 40 minutes). These modules suggest the activities that are relevant to the topics, give guidance for running the module and summarize the activities with purpose; timing; numbers; materials and instructions.

The activities themselves extend these summaries and include instructions, activity sheets and checklists, and range from 'Opportunities and problems in virtual team working'; 'Are you suited to virtual team working?'; 'Key steps in building a virtual team'; through 'Dealing with conflict'; 'Counselling skills'; and 'Conducting a selection interview for recruiting to an assignment'; to 'Making the best of e-mail'; 'Choosing the right communication media'; and 'How well am I communicating?'.

The style of the Guide and the activities is clear and comprehensive, and the activities, within the universal problem of what is new and what is a variation on a traditional theme are sufficiently different from other team development collections to be well worth considering.

A well-written, well-prepared, and attractive collection that will certainly help the team development trainer or the team leader who wants to develop internally his or her own team to provide interesting and effective material.

Leslie Rae


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