Distributed teams have been described in a variety of ways. However, the crucial building blocks of physical distribution and communication arbitrated by communication and information arrangements are the fixtures in any characterization. Some define a distributed team as a grouping of individuals who network through mutually dependent assignments conducted by a common reason.
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They do the work assigned to them across room, time, and managerial limitations with links reinforced by webs of communication, equipment and know-how. Distributed teams are more often impermanent, have not worked jointly ahead of time and so are not familiar with each other well. They are also ethnically dissimilar, and are dependent on computer arbitrated communication that facilitates not only to reduce the distance between workers, but also time by means of various types of interactions (Beyerlein & Johnson, 2001).
Mounting apprehensions over the shelter and protection of journey are now increasing even larger attention in global distributed teams. There are various types of distributed teams. They include parallel teams, action teams, networked teams, management teams, service teams, project teams and production team (Brown & James, 2007).
Technological modes of communication
A large number of diverse classifications can be used to categorize the extensive assortment of tools that sustain distributed team partnership. There are three main categories of the types of technology that are put into use by the distributed teams. These include synchrous communication, asynchrous communication and collaboration tools. We shall start with synchrous communication.
Synchronous communication can be referred to as direct communication, whereby the raconteurs are time harmonized. This means that all parties engaged in the communiqué are at hand at the same period of time. We can also say that synchronous communication entails instantaneous communiqué between the team associates or the distributed team in this case (Gibson & Cohen, 2003).
This comprises of, but is not restricted to, a telephone discussion: it does not refer to texting though. A chat room event, instant messaging and video-conferencing are also perfect examples of synchrous communication. This type of communication is mostly used in situations in which the communicators are forced to be involved in very important discussions which are essential and need the input of everybody who is involved in the said project.
The advantages of this type of communication are: they are comparatively easy to manage; there are rapid and secure trips at an even swiftness; there are no glitches in this mode meaning that communication should be smooth all the way and there is design instrument support (Edwards & Wilson, 2004). One more important advantage is that communication is immediate, in that feedback is obtained instantaneously.
The disadvantages of this type of system are numerous, they include completely reliant on superior communications between computers, that is, the computers that are in use have to be in good condition; Power efficiency is less and this may bring a slight problem in communication; Wastefulness of the system’s capacity.
That is, the system may have higher capability than what it is being used for and this may lead to wastage of resources. Metastability will greatly affect communication between distributed teams and clock skew which simply implies a slight difference in time between receiving and obtaining information (Duarte & Synder, 2006).
Asynchronous type of communication does not demand that all parties concern in the communiqué to be in attendance at the similar time. Asynchronous communications are what permit distributed teams to be divided not only by room but furthermore by time. Some examples of this category include websites, intranets, e-mail messages, discussion forums and boards, blogging, and text messaging over mobile phones.
This type of technology could normally be used for a follow-up, this would probably be a case in which one of the members knows the other is not “online” and the discussion has no urgency at all. They are various advantages of asynchrous communication: there is no clock skew as the users will be communicated in a mode that is not real-time. There will be no Metastability as this system is naturally asynchrous.
This system is power efficient and will therefore lead to better use of the resources provided by the company. There is prospective for adaptation to physical assets. There is a possibility for migration of technology. The system detects the conclusion of the calculation; thereby, there are output alterations (Lipnack & Stamps, 1997).
However, we have to consider the fact that there are disadvantages to this type of communication used by distributed teams. These are the systems are hard and strenuous to design, this will cause the company to spend a lot on resources; support tools for the design is mandatory because specialized training is required; utmost care should be observed in state consignment to side-step the inevitable condition.
Whereas both asynchronous and synchronous technologies make communication among the members of the distributed teams easy, they are just instruments of communication. There are quite a few other tools that help out with the workflow among the individuals of the distributed teams. They are generally referred to as collaboration tools. Examples of these include the database systems. These are systems that store information for speedy recovery.
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Presentation packages-packages like the Microsoft LiveMeeting or the WebEx are packages are intended to aid online presentations. The electronic whiteboard is a digital correspondent of a notebook for team aberration online. There are packages such as document sharing. Microsoft Office and Google Apps software comprises of collaboration means that permit remarking, integration and merging of thoughts and files.
Project management software includes software such as Microsoft Project that is invented to assist the panels to remain on route throughout an assignment. There are disadvantages of this mode of communication. They are like there might be glitches present in the software, the members of this discussion setting can be impersonated and some of the software can be cracked by hackers. The advantages of this mode include the easy access to the members, and the communication between members (Lipnack & Stamps, 2000).
These examples show that distributed teams are a very important aspect of the business world as they make life much easier in terms of cost reduction in running of the business. The various tools that are mentioned in this paper are a very important aspect of the distributed team concept as shown above, as they are the very essence of the working of the system.
The various advantages have shown that the tools have enhanced communication between the teams while the disadvantages of the technologies have shown that a lot of resources have to be put in place in order to maintain these modes of communication. There is definitely room for improvement in order to hasten the global nature of business and break down barriers that may impede this development. The categorizations have evidently shown the importance of each of these aspects to us.
It is, therefore, recommended that the businesses would fund a breakthrough in the technology that is being used in order to get rid of the shortcomings such as clock skew and Metastability (Pauleen, 2004).
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