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Themes and theories for working in virtual project teams
Themes and theories for working in virtual project teams

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2.1 Types of teams

As discussed above, a team has a specific well defined purpose or goal. A project team is one which is formed to achieve the goal of a specific project. In a project team, people are assigned roles and responsibilities. Project teams are often put together in order to achieve a goal that is too large or complex, or would take one person too long, to complete in the time that is available. Therefore, teams must be able to manage this by breaking down the overall goal into smaller tasks and distributing these among the members of the team.

A project team may be the type of team most commonly envisaged when thinking about teams. A project team is usually viewed as a team which comes together at the beginning of a well defined project, who work together until it is completed and then disband. In practice, project teams evolve. This may be planned, for example by bringing in team members with specific expertise for particular tasks within the project. Other changes can occur: team members leave the company, are re-allocated elsewhere, or fall ill, and new members may join to replace them. The project itself may be redefined, or the environment in which it is taking place may change. Whatever the reason, a project team is very likely to face the challenges of change.

Other teams exist, such as operational teams, which may initially appear to be less well defined than project teams. In your own work you may experience different types of teams. There are also differences in whether teams are collocated or virtual. This will be explored in the next section.