Establishing Team Culture in a Teleworking Environment

238217_team

Throughout my online career, I’ve been part of several web working teams. On most teams I am just a regular member, but there’s the rare occasion when I find myself the team leader. Like now, for example, when my former graphic design classmates asked me to lead their new studio.

Here’s the problem: we’ve never worked together before. How could we work together and have a united approach to design? What’s so unique about us? Can we figure this out even if we’re working remotely? Read More about Establishing Team Culture in a Teleworking Environment

Psycuity: Using Psychometric Measurement To Build Teams

As web workers are generally spread across countries, timezones, cultures and organizations, creating and applying coherent management to distributed teams is challenging.
Late last year, Celine shared some tips on avoiding conflicts within a teleworking team. Around the same time I came across UK-based “business psychology” consultants, Psycuity, a company that asserts that it can help design better teams through understanding the underlying psychology of individual team members. Could this type of understanding be useful in figuring out how distributed web workers could work together more effectively?
Using psychometric testing and a long pedigree in psychology, Psycuity has codified a lot of the personality types, compatibilities and behaviors we might ordinarily find difficult to measure. Using these measurements, we can make helping more informed decisions about our teams.
After completing a short online questionnaire — it took about 20 minutes — I was called by one of Psycuity’s cofounders, Ian Hudson, who talked me through my test results. Ian had no prior knowledge or understanding of my work or personality, but spent half an hour or so breaking down his analysis of my interpersonal style, thinking style, coping strategies, leadership qualities, influencing styles and where in teams I would best fit. Frankly, I was astonished at Ian’s insights, which he later provided to me as a printed report. They accurately reflected probably around 90-95 percent of my self-image.
Psychometric testing is by no means a new tool for those managing and recruiting personnel, but the Psycuity guys have managed to package and streamline the experience to require minimal input from the test subject, while still providing a rich and very detailed analysis of their capabilities and qualities.
Circling back to Celine’s original thoughts on avoiding conflicts within teams, I wonder if it’s possible to use a company such as Psycuity to predict how well a group of untethered workers will work together. There are some interesting questions to consider:

  • Could Psycuity-style tests help prepare guidelines on how best to coalesce a diverse group of people into an effective team?
  • How would this type of screening be applicable to assess the “fitness” of a coworking community?
  • Can it only really work for people that work together in the same organization — orĀ  would it also be useful for a group of collaborating freelancers.

Individually, I found a great deal of insight into my own behavior, but I’m curious to hear what others think. Can business psychology be used to enhance team spirit between disconnected, untethered, web workers?
Do leave your thoughts in the comments below — I’d love to hear everyone’s views on this.

Quickword App Submitted for Apple’s Consideration, Can Edit Word Docs

quickoffice_iphone_bannerA lot of apps have been promising to bring Microsoft (s msft) document editing capabilities to the iPhone, like DocumentsToGo, which enjoyed prominence on the Palm OS, and continues to be a popular choice for BlackBerry users. But now it looks like Quickoffice might be the first app out the door, though it all hinges on Apple (s aapl) giving it the green light. They submitted their app for approval to Cupertino late this week, and if all goes well, it could be available for purchase in the App Store sometime early next week.
With Quickoffice, users can view and edit Microsoft Word and Excel files and share them over a wireless connection. Quickoffice is actually a collection of three individual apps, two of which are already available for the iPhone now. These are Quicksheet ($12.99, iTunes link), for editing Excel spreadsheets, and Quickoffice Files ($3.99, iTunes link), for viewing a variety of files, and transferring them to and from your device. The third application in the series is Quickword, which brings the crucial addition of Word document editing. Read More about Quickword App Submitted for Apple’s Consideration, Can Edit Word Docs