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About Global Teams

Erran Carmel defined a Global Team as a team “separated by a national boundary while actively collaborating on a common software/systems project”.

Organizations depend on teams to leverage and improve business processes, and to accomplish tasks across functional and international boundaries. With global teams growing all around the world, it is not uncommon to build a multifunctional team, with team members complementing each other’s abilities regardless of their geographic location, delivering higher value to an organization. When you hire a global trusted partner to extend the capacity of your team, your team is becoming, by definition, a global team.

Regardless of the motivation of an organization to work under this schema, there are certain challenges in a global team; plus, the usual challenges in any development group are accentuated by geographic dispersion.

According to Erran Carmel, there are five problematic areas in the context of global collaboration which drive the global team apart:

  • Geographic dispersion

  • Loss of communication richness

  • Coordination breakdown

  • Loss of teamness

  • Cultural differences

And I have to agree. During my 20+ years working with global teams I think these five are the ones that best describe –or group– commonly found issues.

The best course of action is to develop, for each one of those five areas, a tactic map with specific actions to maximize your strengths and deal with your weaknesses. Each map is different, for example if you already have a strong telecommunications infrastructure, you don't have to deal with that aspect, and your tactics will focus more on, say, your SDM if it does not allow for faster, higher value delivery.

On the other hand, I would not limit these practices to teams crossing national boundaries (near-shore or offshore); I would extend these practices to teams that are not co-located, including onshore models.

Want to know more? Let’s talk!

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