Maximizing Virtual Team Performance in the Construction Industry

RT-326 Topic Summary
RT 326

Overview

The engineering and construction industry increasingly relies on geographically distributed, or virtual, team to execute project work.  This research examines ways the construction industry can maximize the performance of virtual teams by exploring current and emerging virtual team practices, identifying and recommending enhanced work processes, and developing a tool that will help CII member companies improve virtual team performance.
 
The research team identified 21 Virtual Team Key Performance Indicators (VT KPIs) that are statistically significantly correlated with achieving high performance, grouped into three categories: Technology, Team, and Process. The team completed an Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) to prioritize and calculate a weight for each of the KPIs based on their relative importance to other KPIs within each category. This weighting provided clarity on which VT KPIs have the highest impact on team performance.
 
The research team developed the IR326-2, VIRTUOSO–High Performance Virtual Team Equalizer, an Excel-based tool that provides virtual team project managers with anticipated performance levels for the Technology, Team, and Process categories of virtual teamwork. It identifies areas needing improvement within each category and suggests implementation guidance to enable higher levels of performance.
 
The research team found that achieving higher scores on the VT KPIs could help to maximize the performance of a virtual team. In a business environment where fewer and fewer distributed teams can afford to co-locate or even hold in-person meetings, VIRTUOSO enables the development of adaptive and responsive virtual teams.
 
RT-326 expects the VIRTUOSO tool to provide the following benefits:
  • Increase company awareness of virtual team key performance indicators and their relative importance;
  • Quantify areas of virtual team performance deficiencies; and
  • Highlight needed implementation guidance to maximize virtual team performance.
RT-326 follows and expands on the previous work of 3 research teams:
  • RT-134, Identifying Success Factors for High Performance Work Teams
  • RT-170, Making Virtual Teams Work
  • RT-211, Effective Use of the Global Engineering Workforce

Key Findings and Implementation Tools

1 : 21 Virtual Team KPIs

RT-326 developed and distributed a survey and analyzed the survey data on virtual team performance in the construction industry. This was followed by conducting several case studies among CII member and non-member companies with further input from virtual team experts in the industry. This resulted in RT-326 identifying 21 virtual team KPIs which were separated broadly into three categories:  (RS326-1, p. 9)
  • Technology (9 VT KPIs)
  • Team (7 VT KPIs)
  • Process (5 VT KPIs)
Table 1 summarizes all VT KPIs by category, along with their prioritized weightings in descending order. The team then developed implementation guidance for virtual teams to employ to improve upon each KPI.
Reference: (RS326-1)

2 : Challenges of Virtual Teaming

 All teams experience barriers and the following barriers were identified as being significant for virtual teams. (RS326-1, p. 12)
  • Technology and connectivity issues
  • Difficulty reading visual cues
  • Leadership requirements
  • Team and individual accountability
  • Lack of engagement and trust
  • Lack of procedures for virtual teaming
Reference: (RS326-1)

3 : VIRTUOSO TOOL

The VIRTUOSO Tool (Figure 1) allows users to anticipate the performance level of a virtual team by determining scoring for Technology, Team, and Process categories using a PDRI-based metric on the basis of the VT KPI priority weightings identified in the AHP process. An implementation equalizer allows for comparing VT KPI scores against the maximum possible score and customizing the output implementation guide that the tool produces for improving the virtual team performance for each KPI.  (IR326-2, p. 5)
Reference: (RS326-1)

4 : VIRTUOSO Tool Validation

The development of the VIRTUOSO Tool was validated using a survey distributed among project managers of 19 high performing and 17 poor performing virtual teams. It evaluated whether the anticipated performance assessment provided by the VIRTUOSO Tool in Technology, Team, and Process correlated with project performance variations (i.e., baseline, high, and breakthrough performance). The validation survey found that technology measures, while necessary for virtual teams, did not have strong associations with performance.  (RR326-11)
 
Reference: (RS326-1)

5 : Implementation Tools

IR326-2: VIRTUOSO–High Performance Virtual Team Equalizer Tool and User Guide
 
VIRTUOSO–High Performance Virtual Team Equalizer, is an Excel-based tool that provides virtual team project managers with anticipated performance levels for the Technology, Team, and Process categories of virtual teamwork. The tool is designed to be used by project managers who are managing projects that rely on dispersed team members.  The tool assesses virtual team performance for the VT KPIs determined for each category. It then uses an implementation equalizer to generate guidance on ways to enhance virtual team performance based on anticipated deficiencies. Companies can leverage their technology capabilities, along with virtual team characteristics and process management, toward maximizing a project’s virtual team performance. (IR326-2, User’s Guide)
Reference: (IR326-2)

Key Performance Indicators

Improved performance/achieved success

Research Publications

VIRTUOSO: High Performance Virtual Team Equalizer - IR326-2

Publication Date: 11/2016 Type: Implementation Resource Pages: 27 Status: Tool

Determining Virtual Team Performance in the Construction Industry - RR326-11

Publication Date: 10/2016 Type: Research Report Pages: 123 Status: Reference

Maximizing Virtual Team Performance in the Construction Industry - RS326-1

Publication Date: 10/2016 Type: Research Summary Pages: 19 Status: Supporting Product


Supporting Resources

Presentations (CII Annual Conference & Workshops)

Plenary Session - VIRTUOSO: Orchestrating Virtual Team Success

Publication Date: 08/2016 Presenter: Number of Slides: 15 Event Code: AC2016

Implementation Session - VIRTUOSO: Orchestrating Virtual Team Success

Publication Date: 08/2016 Presenter: Number of Slides: 23 Event Code: AC2016


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