Skip to main content

Co-opetitive Virtual Teams - An Introduction

Global economy demanded experts to solve the dilemma of distributed teams productivity over the past several years and there are still many researches going on regarding workflow and productivity of such teams. Technology evolved and resolved many problems of distributed teams. Virtual teams enhanced productivity by applying new technologies and companies invested fortunes on infrastructure. However, the global economy demands more solutions for an even more complex problem, I would like to call it Co-opetitive Virtual Teams. 

In today's open society and competitive business environment, competitors realized that creating coalition serves them the best in winning businesses. Such coalition happens between companies in different geographical locations and mostly in service industries. They are at different offices in one city or country, sometimes they are in different countries, sometimes they are in different continent and often it is a hybrid of all above!

While these companies serve a client and try to stay as cooperative as possible, they also compete in getting new businesses (new client) and try to win over each other by all means. It sometimes get more complicated when they compete in getting more business from the same client that they agreed to create the coalition at the first place, and all is legitimate!

The concept of co-opeition is fairly new to business world. Some may argue that the basic concept started from Theory of Games of Economic Behavior in 40s or 50s. But it did not get into main stream business vocabulary until 1997, when Adam Brandenburger and Barry Nalebuff published their best selling book. In their book, they describe co-opetition as follow:
CO-OPETITION is a new way of thinking about business. Some people see business entirely as competition. They think doing business is waging war and assume they can't win unless somebody else loses. Other people see business entirely as co-operation-teams and partnerships. But business is both co-operation and competition. It's CO-OPETITION. That's why we've chosen CO-OPETITION as our title, a word coined by Ray Noorda, founder of the networking software company Novell: "You have to compete and cooperate at the same time."
That is true, you need to compete and cooperate at the same time, But when it comes to a global economy with virtual teams distributed all around, then competition and cooperation gets little bit more tricky! Imagine seven competing companies distributed in 5 different countries in three different time zones serve the same client(s) and share their resources with each other in one pool. The main question here is , how several companies who are direct competitors and have almost the same skill-set can cooperate effectively and with high productivity globally?

The answer is more moral related than a technology or processes solution. They simply need to take risk and trust and try to not make problems for each other, And they all MAY need to practice disciplined Buddhism or Zen to control their fear and greed!

At the end, I think this is a new trend that researchers need to work on these days. there are many examples out there and businesses are eager to have some solutions for such mess!


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Escalate, Escalate, Escalate!

What is escalation at organizations? Is it a way to solve problems? Is it a way to report things? Is it a way to put more pressure? Is it a CYA technique? What is it? How do you use it at your organization? How other colleagues of yours use escalation? Really, think about it and observe.

At IT service companies, leadership measures the performance of IT Help Desk by number of escalated work items over a period of time. The less escalation the better. The reasons are simple:

It is cheaper for companies if an IT Help Desk Specialist resolves an issue than an experienced technical specialist at one or two level higher. This is simple math, one gets $X and the other get $X*2And when client gets result fast, he/she will be happier. So, less escalation equals happier client in IT Services. Client raise an issue, IT Help Desk Specialist resolve it, BOOM, Next!

At organizations, It is amazing (sadly) to see how much lower level managers escalate problems, that they and their fellows can resol…

DAD Inception Phase Workshop Agenda

Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD) realised the reality of the projects and introduced back phases to Agile community. Whoever works in a project based company, especially a project based company where projects are usually less than one year in length and each are for different clients, understands the reality of Agile in such environment. When you start working on a new project for a new client, it is essential to go through a phase that you get to know each other better, to understand the business purpose of the project, to understand the scope of the project, to know what are the high level architecture and what technologies are going to be used and who is the initial team, and if funding is available and also when things must be delivered and to whom.
In answering these questions you may need to meet with different people, run couple of workshops and brainstorming sessions. And this is called Inception Phase. As DAD is more like a goal oriented decision framework and not a prescrip…

Collocation is not the silver bullet for success and agility

To collocate or not to collocate? Most companies that are new to agile have been "consulted" by a "Scrum" Agile Coach, who suggested that they must break their organisation and have cross-functional teams to sit together in one location. Is that the recipe for success?.. Is it really?

Even though collocation has its benefits, it is not the necessary condition for a successful delivery team. Collocation as a dogmatic view may hurt you more than you think, and will not necessarily help you to deliver more successful products.

I am neither for nor against collocation, but I have experienced and worked with both approaches. And each sometimes worked very well and sometimes failed. All the variations of teams geolocation (collocated, fully-dispersed, partially-dispersed, or distributed) can work. It all depends on how the collaboration model is setup, what is the context and conditions, and how much the team and organisation are aware of each other, and are aligned.

Ha…