Book review: Influencing Virtual Teams by Hassan Osman

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Hassan Osman has been managing virtual teams for a living for over ten years. In Influencing Virtual Teams, he shares his experience in the form of 17 tactics. The value of these tactics lies not on their novelty, but in that they have been successfully applied over the years to real projects. Although the book is titled “Influencing Virtual Teams”, the tactics on this book can be also applied successfuly to local teams.

Although the author includes references to case studies and scientific material, his intention is not to focus on why certain a tactic works, but help you manage your team. Nor will this book give you arguments to convince upper-management on the advantages of working remote. It just assumes the reality that in many companies, projects are handled by people that don’t work physically in the same place.

I couldn’t help but remember a quote from “The Checklist Manifesto”, by Atul Gawande: “Checklists gets the dumb stuff out of the way, the routines your brain shouldn’t have to occupy itself with (…), and lets it rise above to focus on the hard stuff”. Something similar can be said about the tactics in this book. You may have heard some or most of them before. They certainly don’t cover all possible scenarios, and don’t delve in the complexity of managing people. But if you use them systematically and consistently, they will help you manage your team team work with effectiveness and efficiency, so you can focus on getting the work done.

If you have experience managing teams, this book will give you some clear actions you can do to improve the way you delegate and communicate with your team. It also makes a good read for your reports if they are not familiar with the tactics discussed.

(Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review)

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