Virtual collaborative team environments face unique challenges because their communication is not face-to-face. Managing Virtual Teams: Getting the Most from Wikis, Blogs, and Other Collaborative Tools provides practical advice for managers of distributed teams who must design the internal systems and meet deadlines with a diverse team, and for team members who want to develop and maintain professional relationships. To address these needs, this book is divided into three parts. Part I discusses team dynamics, project management and development, and forms of communication. Part II covers the types of tools currently available for collaboration such as wikis, blogs, RSS feeds, and more, and describes the different feature sets of each. Part III explains the various features of the book's companion wiki.
There are lots of good books available today about how to use collaborative tools like wikis, blogs, RSS, and messaging systems. They usually cover the conceptual basics needed to implement the specific tool, and then go into detail about how to implement and manage the various tool features. Tools books are often designed for technical people who already have a grounding or experience in what the tool is and why they want to use it.
There are even more good books available about how to manage teams, how to manage projects, and how to manage cross-cultural or international teams. Typically aimed at managers, these books are packed with theory and many good tips on how to get along with various types of people, but are often vague about the specific tools that are available for project management.
We wanted to write a book that brings these two areas together. Managers need to understand what tools and technologies are available in order to make good choices, and they need to be able to use these tools to support good management practices. As businesses grow increasingly global, and companies are outsourcing to vendors across town, across the country, and across the world, we decided to focus specifically on how to choose and use tools to manage virtual teams.