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Virtual Teams: People Working Across Boundaries with Technology Hardcover – September 13, 2000

4.2 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

"Virtual teams and networks?effective, value-based, swiftly reconfiguring, high-performing, cost-sensitive, and decentralized?will profoundly reshape our shared world. As members of many virtual groups, we will all contribute to these ephemeral webs of relationships that together weave our future." ?from Virtual Teams, Second Edition

There are no such things as boundaries in today?s work environment. Virtual teams from all over the world use technologies like the Internet, intranets, and groupware to work together on projects?but the major drawback to these teams is their high failure rate. Virtual Teams examines the numerous problems that arise and provides you with proven techniques to solve them.

Written by the two leading experts in networked organizations, this Second Edition shows you how to effectively start, implement, and maintain virtual teams in your own organization. Lipnack and Stamps present a comprehensive framework that makes virtual teams accessible and practical, describing the best practices to use in order to make your group excel.

The authors present the 90/10 Rule, which stresses how a virtual team?s success is based 90% on the people involved and 10% on the technology. They also take you through the seven steps that every team must complete in order to achieve their results. These include:

  • Creating a team identity
  • Drafting a mission statement and setting goals
  • Determining milestones and establishing a schedule
  • Identifying team members and their roles
  • Choosing the appropriate media

Along with the authors? experiences, case studies from Sun Microsystems, Shell Oil, Pfizer, Motorola, Ernst & Young, and others are integrated throughout, offering insights from key executives on virtual teams and adapting to the virtual workplace.

With its in-depth look at this increasingly important way to work, Virtual Teams, Second Edition gives you the tools you?ll need to create and build a winning virtual team for your own organization.

From the Back Cover

Praise for the First Edition of Virtual Teams

"If you want to see where organizational communications are going in the future, heed what these pioneers have written today."
—Howard Rheingold, author, The Virtual Community, and founder, Electric Mind

"Lipnack and Stamps have written an important book for the twenty-first-century corporation."
—Regis McKenna, The McKenna Group, author, Relationship Marketing

"This book provides a long overdue perspective on how to apply the discipline of real teams in the fast-moving, increasingly dispersed information age of the future."
—Jon R. Katzenbach, author, The Wisdom of Teams

"For those who want to lead the movement, catch up with it, or simply know where it is going, this book is packed with useful information and interesting stories."
—Dee W. Hock, founder and chairman emeritus, VISA

"Virtual Teams provides valuable insights into global teamwork and management through network technologies now available to all companies, large or small."
—Jim Lynch, director, corporate quality, Sun Microsystems, Inc.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 2 edition (September 13, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471388254
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471388258
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #737,233 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I purchased this book because I was intrigued. In much of the work I do I am a member of "virtual" teams. That is, I often am some distance apart from the people I am working with.
I found the book to be a slow read, with nuggets of information separated by deserts of fluff. The first half of the book is filled with vague ramblings about how the information age has changed the way that teams work and with case studies that illustrate how the forming of virtual teams has helped various companies solve difficult problems.
In the second half, the book begins to pick up. In a chapter entitled "Teaming with People" the authors discuss team dynamics, including essential roles with a team, how teams form and which aspects of team dynamics are especially subject to the stresses of distance communication.
The authors suggest that the beginning and closing phases of most projects are the most stressful on team members and that extra effort be exerted at the beginning phase of the project to bring the core project team members together, even if they are geographically separated. This, say the authors, will help build interpersonal relationships that can hold the team together in times of stress.
There are several optimum team sizes. 3 to 5 is the size of a core team, 5 to 25 the size of a "team family" and 25 to 200 the size of a "team camp". In the authors' opinion, any team larger than 5 people will naturally divide into sub-teams.
The authors also point out the value of rewarding teams. Making teams compete, or making them completely independent of one another has little value for the company. Cooperative goals can encourage and motivate all of the teams, while competition can demoralize them.
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Format: Hardcover
The authors are convinced that, eventually, "virtual teams will become the natural way to work, nothing special. Virtual teams and networks -- effective, value-based, swiftly reconfiguring, cost-sensitive, and decentralized -- will profoundly reshape our shared world. As members of many virtual groups, we will contribute to these ephemeral webs of relationships that together weave our future." That day is already here for many people and I agree that virtual working relationships will soon be the rule rather than the exception. The authors correctly note that technology extends capabilities "but organizing to do things together is only human. The most profound change of the new millennium is in the way we're organized." Moreover, as more people connect online, "we increase our capacity for both independence and interdependence. Competition and cooperation both thrive in our new culture." However, there are perils to avoid because whatever goes wrong with in-the-same place teams can also go wrong with virtual teams -- only worse and, worse yet, faster and at a much greater cost.
The authors organize their excellent material within 14 chapters whose individual titles indicate each chapter's perspective on virtual teams: Why, Networks, Teams, Trust, Place, Time, Purpose, people, Links, Launch, Navigate, Theory, Think, and Future. I agree that a virtual team "is a group of people who work interdependently with a shared purpose across space, time, and organization boundaries." Nonetheless, I still have some quibbles about the authors' sequence of subject matter (not with the content itself) and am still convinced that cooperation between and among members of virtual teams is even more difficult than it is between and among those within physical boundaries.
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By Bruce on September 30, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I spent many hours with Lipnack & Stamps' Virtual Teams. Lipnack and Stamps are team consultants, and this book is one of their business cards. It's strong on axioms, moderate on bibliographic references, filled with trenchant observations derived from their consulting experiences, and written in a hurried style that reads like a draft or a condensed version of a larger book, despite its 300 pages. The authors provide dozens of taxonomies, some of which are useful and thought provoking, but most not deriving from research data. I obtained one item referenced in the bibliography, a middling-quality correlational study, but noticed the authors were quite creative in their interpretation of its results. Once you get past the aphoristic writing style ("Connected, linked, matrixed. We are the future now. . . Before we know it, 10-year-olds will be running the world. Perhaps they already are. . . The new virtual organizations are at once very old and very new, very small and very large . . . ") you'll find yourself reading many interesting nuggets of information combined with useful advice on how to build and manage a virtual team. I appreciated the fact that Lipnack and Stamps avoided treating the virtual team as a panacea or as a solution to team problems. Their cool approach to the formidable problems faced by distributed groups adroitly avoids the hype in which other authors engage. I also appreciated their extended discussions in the areas where virtual teams suffer the most, including trust and communication across time zones. Leadership got slight treatment, but perhaps for good reason-the DNA of effective leadership in general has yet to be cracked, and is a largely unexplored phenomenon in virtual teams.
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