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Mastering Virtual Teams, Third edition.

Mastering Virtual Teams, third edition, by Deborah L. Duarte and Nancy Tennant Snyder, Book, 2006, Jossey-Bass Inc., $50.

In today's work environment, one rarely encounters an organization that does not have virtual teams. They exist everywhere, in small and large companies, in those doing business domestically and abroad.

A virtual team is defined as one that is geographically dispersed--a group of individuals who work across time zones, space, and organizational boundaries. They drive work in flattened organizations and will one day be seen as "the good ole days."

Today, an Internet search of "virtual teams" turns up over 17 million items. However, in the mid-1990s, when I began working with virtual teams, my research on the subject yielded very little. I discovered Mastering Virtual Teams: Strategies, Tools and Techniques that Succeed when it was first published in 1999. The book is now in a third edition.

The book is divided into three sections: understanding virtual teams, creating them, and mastering them.

In the new edition, the authors have taken care to keep the information relevant and up to date with the inclusion of components such as revised worksheets and checklists. Also included is a new chapter, "Near Virtual Disasters," that offers lessons learned from problems that occur in the virtual world.

The first section of the book covers the critical success factors, delineates the types of virtual teams, and identifies the seven elements that must exist to make virtual teams successful, including human resource policies, training and development, standard organizational processes, electronic communication and collaboration technology processes, culture, leadership, and competence.

In Creating Virtual Teams, the authors address the myths and realities of starting and leading virtual teams and necessary team member roles and competencies. Trust is at the core of the success of a virtual team, and Chapter 7 discusses the factors that build "instant" trust in this unique environment.

The final section, Mastering Virtual Teams, imparts wisdom about conducting successful virtual meetings, concepts of team dynamics, the principles of working adaptively to facilitate the success of virtual teams.

Mastering Virtual Teams remains one of the best compilations of tools and strategies for managers and participants involved in this type of teamwork. It is well balanced between theory and straightforward, down-to-earth advice about practice.

The authors are extremely generous in sharing detailed worksheets and checklists that provide step-by-step instructions for working with virtual teams. A companion CD-ROM has printable files for the tools presented in the book.


Mastering Virtual Teams is a must have for any team on the learning path to build virtual work skills. It is well written, easy to read, and a marvelous reference that belongs in your library if you have any responsibility for this type of team.

Review by Tricia Steege
Product Ratings

Mastering Virtual Teams, third edition

Overall rating *** 1/2
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Author:Steege, Tricia
Publication:Training Media Review
Date:Sep 1, 2007
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