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Enabling Virtual Team Relationships – Part X

Meeting with the Project Sponsor

Read Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI, Part VII, Part VIII and Part IX of our story for background information.

Alice knew that she needed Jonathan’s (project sponsor) assistance on this matter. She was not going to be able to intervene with the manager in the Bangladesh office as she had no relationships yet (other than with Siraj) in the Bangladesh office and was sensitive to the fact that she was still fairly new within the organization. She did have the commitment from Jonathan that all team members would be made 100% available for this key project given the priority of her project to the organization, but still felt she needed his support to talk with the Bangladesh office.

During the phone call with Jonathan, Alice provided background information. She noted that Siraj and Ali had been paired up to work on a component of the project that required Siraj’s application development expertise. Ali has been of tremendous value to the team, but had limited work experience. His role is to support Siraj on the project. Fairly recently, Alice had learned that Siraj has been distracted from this project to support a new initiative in Bangladesh that also required Siraj’s application development expertise. Alice also noted that she could not find much information about the project in the project database. She did not mention that Siraj had noted is was the Bangladesh manager’s “pet project.” She felt the information was not necessary to add. She also told Jonathan that without having strong relationships in Bangladesh just yet, she felt as if she was not able to approach the manager on her own about the conflict.

Her concern, she told Jonathan, was that Ali was unable to manage this development part of the project himself and Siraj was essential to project success. The timeline had been developed under the assumption that Siraj was completely committed to the project. If he was going to work on another initiative also, this project would not be completed on time. There was already some impact to the timeline due to Siraj trying to work on two projects. Alice asked Jonathan to help and proposed the following options:

  • Have Siraj re-allocated to just this project and find someone else to manage the other project in Bangladesh (her preferred and recommended option)
  • Leave Siraj on the Bangladesh project and assign another senior developer to this project (a viable option but will require another developer to get up to speed before he/she is effective and will still require some time from Siraj to help transition to the other developer)
  • Have Siraj continue work on both projects, splitting his time between the two (this is not preferred as it will require an extension in the deadline for both projects to accommodate a part-time resource)

Jonathan promised to find out more about the other project and get back to Alice by later in the day. He would also take her recommendations under consideration.

Later that day Jonathan reached out to Alice. He spoke with his peer in the Bangladesh office to learn more about the project. The project was another development project important to the Bangladesh office; however, it was not as important to the organization as the project Alice was assigned to lead because it did not impact as the organization as significantly. To that end, per the decision made by Jonathan and his peer in Bangladesh and as committed to when this project was initially launched, Siraj would be 100% committed to Alice’s project through its completion and another developer would be assigned to the Bangladesh project. Jonathan has asked for Alice’s support in enabling Siraj to spend some time transitioning to another developer who would be assigned by the next morning. He suggested Alice reach out to Siraj to understand transition time needed and determine the impact on this project. Siraj was being notified that another developer was being assigned to the Bangladesh project.

Alice thanked Jonathan for his support.

Alice reached out to Siraj the next day. Siraj thanked her for her support and assistance and told her the other developer assigned was fairly senior and it would only take half a day to transition to him. Then he could be available for any questions that arise and that would not really take away from Alice’s project. Together, they determined the project would be impacted by 3 days; however, Siraj felt he might be able to make up some of that time and at the most the impact would be 1 – 1 ½ days overall.

Part XI – Wrapping Up Our Story

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