The Virtual Edge: Embracing Technology for Distributed Project Team Success


the-virtual-edgeBook Title: The Virtual Edge: Embracing Technology for Distributed Project Team Success
Authors:  Margery Mayer, PhD
Publisher:  Crown Business
List Price (Amazon): $39.95
Format: Paperback              Publication Date: 2010
ISBN: 978-1-935589-09-9

PMI Bookshelf reference (url): http://pmi.books24x7.com/toc.aspx?bookid=35847

Reviewer:  John Lee, PMP
Review Date:  April 1, 2013


The author provides a very concise explanation illustrated by actual case studies of how global teams can be more effective in communicating and working together to achieve set objectives. Quality leadership is how to build and motivate teams to deliver to expectations. Today’s global leaders must use technology to add to the team’s experience and bring value to the effort.


Globalization has bridged the gaps between countries, economies and people. It provides businesses with more options within their own local markets as well as overseas. Most supply chain operations are global as the goods and services are provided through several parties and countries before reaching the end consumers. An example is offshore programming where software programmers in India provide the coding for an application developed in the USA for a customer. Often the best resources for the job may be sitting in another country. This has extended the supply chain and created many opportunities to exploit the best talent available at the right cost. It has also created other problems as the global manager needs to manage across cultures.

There are many ways to achieve connectivity today.  There are audio, video, asynchronous e-mail and synchronous chat calls. Communication gap tend to exists due to cultural differences, language, beliefs, social norms and work ethics.  A worker in USA may work 50 hour weeks for 10-12 hours a day including working from home. A worker in France may not want to work a minute more than 8 hours a day. By understanding the cultural nuances, a global manager can calibrate the schedule according and set the right expectations with the stakeholders. Technology though essential cannot guarantee quality in communications. It is important for leaders to understand and develop communication plans that incorporate technologies and use best practices to disseminate information at the right timing to the right audience.


A different skill set is needed to lead in the global environment. The constraint for the global team leader to understanding each team member’s behavior must be managed by better ways to predict and control these behaviors. The ability to think critically and analyze the situation will increase the likelihood of making quality decisions that increase successes in the situation on hand. Making the wrong decision can lead to adverse impact to cost, morale and goodwill or reputation of the company. Some of the ways to support critical thinking are to ask the right questions, seek clarifications, active listening, probing assumptions, look at multiple viewpoints and build on ideas of others. 


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Editor’s note:  This book review was the result of cooperation between the PM World Journal (PMWJ) and the Project Management Institute (PMI) Information Systems (IS) Community of Practice (CoP) (PMI IS CoP – http://is.vc.pmi.org/). The PMI IS CoP has established a members-based project management book club as a service to members who can receive PDUs for PMP recertification for authoring the reviews.  Each book is reviewed and scored according to established criteria.  The top scoring book reviews will be published in the PMWJ.  If you are a PMI member and in the IS, IT or other technology-related field, consider joining the PMI IS CoP and participating in this unique book review program.  Information at http://is.vc.pmi.org/ or @ISCoPPMI, #iscopbookclub. 

About the Reviewer

john-lee flag-singaporeJohn Lee, PMP, MBA, CISA, CISM, CISSP                    


John Lee has over 15 years of experiences as a senior manager in the IT and business consultancy industry using technology as an enabler to support and implement the business strategies of the companies he has worked with. He has been involved in project management, process management, demand management, resource planning and managing an operational unit providing IT services.

He was the Regional CIO for a multinational organization in the Asia Pacific area. He is now working with the Global Project Office to implement strategic business projects leveraging on the use IT to add value to the process. His recent achievements include the development of an internal project model for a business unit of a global company. His credentials and knowledge areas covers Project Management, IT security procedures, financial systems and sales distribution processes.

He is a believer of risk management in projects as it is important to be “aware” of the challenges that can affect its deliverables. Good project management skills supported by appropriate risk management processes increases the rate of successful project outcomes. [email protected]