Virtual teams perform better when all members are proficient users of the tools required and are aligned with the processes required to perform remotely Barima, Virtual teams require considerable effort from top management in the form of training and support to get project management team members to accept the framework and its control mechanisms Kuruppuarachchi, The third component of a successful implementation is the establishment of unified rules and processes.
Workman found that virtual teams that formalize their processes outperformed teams that focused on results in both quantity and quality. However, team members have a difficult time learning new work processes and creating new team norms when CMC tools are implemented. To be able to fully use CMC tools and overcome the observed issues of virtual teaming, project managers and their organization support structures need to use tactics, rules, and methods that require a large amount of effort.
Walther and Bunz conducted a study that found virtual teams that made a self-directed effort to adhere to SIP-based rules resulted in higher levels of a trust of other team members, b liking for each other, and c team performance. Including the three components—a skilled project manager, resources, and unified rules and processes—requires a significant investment of time and effort at the beginning of a software implementation.
It is possible that most organizations are either not aware or not prepared to invest the resources required to get over the hump required to implement project management CMC tools to a level that would allow the virtual project team to benefit at an equal cost of co-located teams Anantatmula, ; Kuruppuarachchi, As further exploration into the topic of virtual project management and the use of CMC tools, we have developed three research questions to investigate:. RQ 2: Are companies giving their teams the support required during and after project management CMC implementations?
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This research examines two components of an organization, a collective organization as a software-buying entity and the individual software users within the organization. To study both of these we used two approaches to gather information. The first approach was a thematic analysis of the marketing materials of leading software providers to ascertain major themes about features and benefits of the project management software solutions.
Organizations are difficult to examine as decision-making entities. Other than the fact that most companies generally do not disclose their proprietary decision-making information, investigation is complicated by the manner in which companies make buying decisions. Purchase decisions can be influenced by needs and interpretations of multiple departments within the organization Kauffman, Organizations have to rely on information that is accessible and often make decisions with limited information Kahneman, The goal was to determine what messages are being accepted by companies during the initial phase of purchase investigation.
The second approach was a survey of project managers and project team members to gather information about how they use project management software and their perceptions of product usability. The hope was that we would gather enough data to answer RQ2. Are companies giving their teams the support required during and after project management CMC implementations? The first step of the thematic analysis was the identification of leading project management software solution providers.
Some of the result sites included discussion pages that listed or mentioned multiple project management solution providers. Each appearance of a software provider was recorded and the providers that were listed three or more times became the basis of the thematic study. Both authors visited each of the vendor websites independently to document themes in the marketing content for features and benefits related to the software solution. Each vendor's website was examined as if interviewing a salesperson, with the purpose of answering the following questions: 1 What features does the product contain?
Each researcher took notes for each of the three questions and then reviewed their findings together. The results of the review were then compiled into a master list. The project management research survey was hosted by SurveyMonkey and was distributed to professionals who manage projects or work on project teams. Participants were recruited via email invitation, social media messaging, and social media posting.
The anonymous survey was available between 18 and 28 November The survey invitation resulted in 51 responses. Thirty-eight of the 51 respondents were in a project management leadership role. The remaining 13 respondents were involved in projects as team members or in project support roles.
All respondents used CMC project management tools to manage either co-located or geographically dispersed teams.
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Questions on the survey included demographic questions to gauge the size and location of teams as well as gather information that would be useful to understanding their needs for virtual project management tools. Questions about their company project management tool were only made available to respondents that answered a qualifying question indicating that their organization provided project management software tools. Respondents were asked questions to determine if the use of the project management tool was mandated by the organization, the availability of training and support provided by the organization to use the tool, and the ability for them as users to modify how the project management tool is implemented or used by the organization.
Participants were also asked to rate the quality of training and support as well as the overall usefulness of the organization provided project management tool.
The results were compared using a chi-square test of independence with the level of significance set at 0. Questions about their personal or department project management tool were only made available to respondents that answered a qualifying question indicating that they used an independent project management software tool. Respondents were asked questions to determine the number of users in their department, project management tool features commonly used by their project teams, and the availability of support and training for the project management tool.
Respondents were also asked to rate the overall usefulness of the department or personal project management tool. To quantify the volume and media used for project communication that takes place during projects, respondents were asked to select how much of their project team communication by percentage is performed for each of the media in a list. The list included seven types of communication media: 1 face-to-face meetings; 2 features within a project management tool; 3 email; 4 chat or instant message; 5 phone or voice conference; 6 virtual meeting or desktop sharing; and 7 video conference.
The results of the last two sections were used to quantify the type and amount of project communication being conducting in virtual and non-virtual media. The online sales and marketing material of 11 project management software vendors were reviewed in a qualitative manner to answer three questions that a typical software buyer might ask.
The results of the first question What features does the product contain? By examining the common features of project management tools, we are able to construct an understanding of the technical demands that sellers think contribute to the buying decisions of organizations. The results of the second question What is the benefit of using the product, or what will an organization gain from implementing the solution? The common themes identified for advertised benefit: 1 process automation; 2 return on investment ROI ; 3 management visibility; and 4 integration with other systems.
The results of the third question How much effort is required to implement the software in an organization? By examining the uncommon features and benefits we were able to begin constructing an understanding of factors that only a minority of organizations is interested in for making buying decisions.
The uncommon themes identified for product features: 1 method of communication; 2 proposed implementation plan or scope; and 3 method of document management. The uncommon themes identified for advertised benefit: 1 ability for current process improvement and 2 process for knowledge management and transfer. Common features show there is a universal understanding of what is required for a CMC project management tool to function.
These features include task management, which allows project managers to break down units of work by resource, project document management, which is used for storing project artifacts, and communication and collaboration tools, which allow project team members the ability to communicate progress and issues during the progress of a project. From this, we can conclude companies have an understanding of their project tool needs.
Common benefits show that companies are primarily motivated to buy solutions based on needs of the company, making money and increases to top-level management efficiencies, rather than benefits for the end users of the software. There was little discussion about how the software solution decreased the workload or burden on the end users.
The uncommon features showed inconsistent methods for providing solutions for communication and for document or information management. This leads to the belief that companies are not sure as to the best practice, or best method for dealing with these requirements.
Likewise, the uncommon benefits showed there is little discussion about changing current practices and the need for upfront time and effort for implementation. Of all the respondents who reported that they had an organization provided project management tool, Also, A chi-square test of independence was performed to examine the relation between the rating of the company software training and support and the overall usefulness of the company software tool.
People who perceived above satisfactory training and support rated their software tool above satisfactory in overall usefulness. A chi-square test of independence was performed to examine the relation between the user's ability to change how the company software tool is used within the company and the overall usefulness of the company software tool. People who were able to modify or change how the software was used rated their software tool above satisfactory in overall usefulness.
We found no significance in the relationship between companies that mandate the use of the company software tool and overall usefulness of the company software tool.ybalocevug.gq
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Of the respondents in this study, only slightly over half had a company provided project management tool, leaving the remaining Of those with a company project management tool, the significance test indicates that users find the tools more useful when their company invests time and effort to provide support and training. There is also a significant relationship between the ability to change how the project management tool is configured and the usefulness of the tool. These two findings support what was found in the literature with regard to the application time and effort needed to support CMC implementations.
Our findings concur with previous studies that show that the effort-to-support and effort-to-adapt pays off in product usefulness. This study indicates that a small number of companies are benefiting from the return on investment of support of their project management tools. From the team demographics section of the survey it was discovered that for co-location and dispersion of teams that It was also discovered that The average duration for all face-to-face meetings was The average duration for all virtual meetings was Of those participants, Table 1 reports results from the survey question of the company tool feature set and user adoption of the feature.
Table 2 reports the results from the last section of the survey, which asked participants about their project management team communication.
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