Risks and Rewards of Virtual Project Teams

Virtual Project ManagerAlthough it is challenging to manage a virtual team within a company, it is even more challenging to manage an international team of independent contractors (e.g., elance, oDesk, etc.).

In the past ten days, I quickly assembled a project team of 11 independent contractors (assistants, researchers, writers and testers) from the USA, India, Philippines and Romania to help my business grow. The speed at which I hired (and fired) them was unbelievable!

One contractor went AWOL. The other decided to end the contract. And, the third one had an emergency. So far, I’m fairly happy with the remaining eight in my team and they completed tasks that would have taken me hours to do by myself. I am still exploring this unchartered territory but if there is something I learned so far, I need to “hire slowly and fire quickly”.

Connect with Dr. John A. Estrella via Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

2 thoughts on “Risks and Rewards of Virtual Project Teams

  • 2012-01-06 at 22:39

    Hi John,

    How did you go about checking references for these virutal contractors before hirinng them?
    Is that part of the lessons learned and what you will take more time with the next time?


  • 2012-01-06 at 22:51


    They have profiles which showcase their portfolios and comments from past clients. If you want, you can ask for additional references.

    I learned that you need to start with small tasks with extremely well-defined instructions, results and deadlines. Depending on the quality and timeliness of their work, only then you would give them increasingly challenging tasks.

    You also need to be aware of the cultural and geographical differences. When they say “yes” to a deliverable, make sure that it means “Yes, I will finish it on that date.” instead of “Yes, I will try to finish it on that date.”



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