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Team Hermione

Page history last edited by Brianna Sykes 1 year, 10 months ago

Project 2: Ottoman Empire and Emmerdant Chaise Strategic Merger





Ottoman Empire is strategically merging with Emmerdant Chaise to become a unified global furniture company. They are preparing and organizing for a 24-month strategic merger project to combine processes, operations, and systems. Ottoman Empire and Emmerdant Chaise have engaged our consulting team to provide guidance on conducting their multicultural global project.


In today’s workplace, it is more common to work on a global, virtual, and/or multi-cultural team. With these team dynamics, there are several challenges to address while working on a virtual, global project. In the following sections, we will discuss some of these challenges and how we recommend overcoming them. An example of one such challenge arises from team diversity, which requires cultural differences to be identified in order to implement the best practices for effective communication. Other challenges arise from working across many time zones. Time zone challenges requires the implementation of technologies and practices designed to ease the stress of having conflicting work-shifts. Even where there is a lack of diversity, the general challenge of effective communication exists. Our goal as a consulting team is to help Ottoman Empire and Emmerdant Chaise communicate and collaborate effectively as a virtual, global team across many locations.


In the following sections, our team will discuss aspects to include in a global charter, technologies to acquire and implement during the merger project, and our recommended best practices for conducting this global project. Our team researched many technologies that can be used to ensure and encourage effective team communication. We also show what tools can help provide transparency so the team can effectively manage their workload. These tools will help the team to identify the work that is in progress, what is next in line, and what has been completed. Our consultations and recommendations on the charter, technologies, and best practices are listed in detail below.




Recommendations to include in a global, multicultural project charter


As Ottoman Empire prepares to merge with Emmerdant Chaise, our consulting team proposes that the two companies meet to create a project charter for the 24-month strategic merger project. A project charter serves as a reference document that outlines important aspects such as the project’s purpose, scope, resources, and timeframe (Ray, 2017). For a virtual team across many countries, the project charter is an important document for the entire team to stay aligned and accountable. The project charter is a living, breathing document that needs to stay updated as any changes are made to the scope, project team, roles, timelines, and deliverables. Our team has also outlined potential risks and issues that should be addressed and documented in the project charter below.


A project charter for a multicultural team should include the following aspects, which are explained below.


Goal statement: This is a statement on the charter that identifies why this group will be undertaking the project and what the intended outcome or goals of the project will be.

For example, the goal of this project is to merge two international furniture companies in 24 months. During the 24 months, the team will determine the merged functional areas, streamlining systems and processes, and forming a cohesive corporate culture.


Scope: It is important to document on the charter what aspects of the project are considered in scope and what are considered out of scope. This acts as the formal boundaries of the project.


Deliverables: Our team recommends documenting a list of what will be produced within the project. Deliverables can be produced during the course of the project and/or at the completion of the project.

Examples of deliverables in the Strategic Merger project could include process documentation, maintenance plans, and software implementation plans.


Project team and roles: List names and contact information for each individual involved in the project. Include each person’s role and their involvement for the project. For this multicultural team, it is also advised to include where each person is located so everyone has a reference point to the project team’s working hours.

An example of a project team member and role from the merger project is:  Luke Bizzi, Systems Manager IT. Involved in platform decision making and planning implementation. Located in the US.


Timeline: During the project lifecycle, list out tasks or phases and the timeframe. Deliverables during the project should be outlined with a due date. Each workstream (IT, Marketing, Finance, etc.) should determine their milestones and deliverables for the strategic merger project. The project manager will build the workstream milestones into the overall timeline and maintain the milestone list.


Resource Allocation: Identify the individuals and plan out their time involved in the project. In the same format as the timeline (phases, quarters, etc.), show if the resource will be involved in that timeframe. This is typically shown in a visual gantt chart format.


Risks and Issues: Our team recommends documenting potential issues that may arise during the course of the project and certain risks the team anticipates facing.


Some potential issues that need to be addressed are:

  • Global Compliance- Different countries have specific laws and regulations and the selected technology will need to be compliant.

  • Communication and Communication Tools- Communication can be a challenge for a team working together across many countries and timezones. We recommend creating a Communication Plan to determine the expectations of how meetings will be held and what tools should be used for day-to-day communication. All project individuals should be held to these standards to ensure everyone is communicating effectively and efficiently. We have recommended a sample communication plan below.


Some potential risks that need to be addressed are:

  • Technology Implementation- Does the team have needed resources to implement the chosen platforms and software? As the team begins to discuss technology options, we recommend researching the implementation plan of each technology so the IT Manager can begin to prepare necessary resources to do the implementation. Some systems and products take more time and effort to implement, so IT will need to be involved in the planning to ensure they have capacity to take on the implementation.

  • Project Resources- If the project resources are dedicated full-time to the strategic merger project, then what other employees will complete the person’s day-to-day dedicated role? Does the company have employees that can shift roles, or do additional people need to be hired? As resource allocation is determined, we recommend for the team to have planning discussions to ensure all gaps are filled within the company.

  • Scope Creep- As explained above, our team recommends outlining what is in scope and out of scope, so the project has defined boundaries. Many company employees are involved in this project all across the world, so adding on scope throughout the project is a common issue. As requirements are added to the project, more time and effort are required and this can cause time delays and financial impact.


Expected benefits & business impact: Identify how this project will impact aspects of the business. The team should identify any organizational benefits that will be realized as a result of this project.

Benefits for this strategic merger project can include revenue, efficiency, productivity, brand identity, employee culture and satisfaction.


Financials: We recommend including a high-level initial estimate for project cost. Providing an estimated cost will help stakeholders and sponsors plan accordingly and understand resource costs. An estimate can be determined by assessing resource need, non-labor spend (travel, hardware/software, training, etc.), and through a Cost-Benefit Analysis.


Communication Plan: For a global team, communication is key to ensure all participants are on the same page. We recommend agreeing upon a communication plan and documenting it in the project charter to outline expectations for team meetings, collaboration, and day-to-day communication. An example of a communication plan for a global, virtual team is described in detail below. 


Team Meetings:

  • Agenda should be provided before the meeting

  • Begin every meeting by stating the purpose of the meeting and reviewing the agenda

  • State any action items carried over from any previous meetings

  • For any new action items, identify the topics and actions that need to be taken to accomplish the task and who is responsible

  • Due to location and time differences, schedule meetings a minimum of 24 hours in advance to allow all participants to be informed and prepared.

  • Meeting Code of Conduct

    • Start meeting on time

    • Allow a 5 minute grace period for any participant that is running late

    • Stick to the agenda

    • Table any topic that strays from the agenda

    • One person speaks at a time

    • No sidebar conversations


Team Communication:

We will use the following agreed upon technologies for engagement as a team. The specific technologies listed are described in further detail in the section below.

  • Tool to track task and who is working on a task from week to week (Stormboard)

  • Quick team communication in an informal fashion as a team or 1 on 1 (Slack)

  • Formal written communication (Corporate email- team members can use what they are currently using)

  • Meeting calendar tool, to invite and remind team members (Current email calendar)

  • Conference call (Webex)

  • Video chat tool (Zoom)




Technologies for Global, Virtual, multicultural teams


As stated previously, the Strategic Merger Team (SMT) has been tasked with exploring various technologies, in an effort to promote a successful team collaboration over the next 24 months. We are charged with determining which tools and technologies are suitable for our global, virtual team. When selecting these various collaboration tools we must select tools that are cross platforms and conducive to our team dynamic.


Secondly, we have to evaluate the existing organizational technologies and infrastructure used by both Ottoman Empire and Emmerdant Chaise to maintain their ongoing operation and logistics. SMT is charged with determining the best platform tools and technologies, regardless of what hardware operating system or platform that is being used.


Collaborative technologies used for the project team


  • The team needs a tool that allows the members to communicate and collaborate in a quick, informal manner. We selected Slack (Searchable Log of all Communication and Knowledge), a cloud-based set of proprietary team collaboration tools and service. 


  • There is a need for a tool that would allow the team to brainstorm, create notes, and assign tasks to team members. Stormboard is a new web app for collaborative brainstorming. The application utilizes sticky notes and multi-section boards. It is very effective for quickly getting ideas out, organizing them and developing them.


  • For formal written communication, meeting invites, and calendar entries, we recommend using the existing corporate email until the companies merge to a single email platform. The email platforms currently used are Microsoft Outlook and Google Mail. Outlook is part of the Microsoft Office suite, and it is often used as an email application, but it also includes a calendar, task manager, contact manager, note taking, journal, and web browsing. G Suite’s Gmail is a free, advertising-supported email service developed by Google. Users can access Gmail on the web and using third-party programs that synchronize email content through POP or IMAP protocols.


  • We need an informal team collaboration tool for adhoc face to face video chats communication/meetings. Zoom is a web-based video conferencing tool with a local, desktop client and a mobile app that allows users to meet online, with or without video. Zoom users can choose to record sessions, collaborate on projects, and share or annotate on one another's screens, all with one easy-to-use platform.


  • We also recommend a tool for a more formal conference call with a large number of attendees. WebEx is a multi-functional desktop Video/Audio Conference call application. It allows participants to meet with anyone, anywhere, in real time from your office or home, as long as you have Internet access on your computer or have the WebEx mobile app installed for your iPhone, iPad, Android, or Blackberry. 


Comparison of current Organizational technologies






Officing system

Microsoft Office 2016

G Suite


Microsoft Office 365

Google’s G Suite

Operating System

Microsoft Windows 10


Legal Documentation

Word Perfect



Exchange Server (Outlook)


Internal Social Networking




Skype for Business

Google Hangouts

Skype traditional (for countries with restrictions)


Microsoft Teams





Best Practices


In this section, we will present best practices recommendations for Ottoman Empire and Emmerdant Chaise to apply when working on the Strategic Merger Project. In an attempt to understand and address better the challenges of a virtual and multicultural team, we provided a list of eight best practices that we deemed valuable for building teams and conducting more effective projects. Additional resources for further research on the topic are available in the references section below.


  1. Learn about each others’ culture to avoid misunderstanding or offending behavior. It can be very beneficial to the team to learn about how the member’s culture differ in order to work better together and avoid unnecessary conflicts due to the lack of knowledge and understanding of the others’ behavior. Use Hofstede’s cultural dimensions, for instance, to compare the  national cultures and understand how they impact business. Once the team members know more about each other, it is important to accept and find a way to integrate those differences, the manager can decide to implement some rules for the team. For instance, in some cultures punctuality is very important while in others it is common to be late. The team could agree on a rule that allows a 5 minutes grace period for people who tend to be late without creating tension within the group at the beginning of every meeting.


  1. Build team identity at the beginning of the project. This can be achieved by making sure there is a common understanding of the team goals along with goal congruence. When possible, it is good to have an initial face-to-face meeting. Then, it is important to have communication among the team, especially a virtual one, to create the team culture, foster commitment, and make people feel like they belong to the team so they are more comfortable participating and communicating their ideas or concerns with each other. When it comes to virtual meeting, it is very likely that the team members will have no face-to-face interactions. Therefore, technology can support the team in building identity and getting to know each other. An idea is to start by sharing bios and pictures of the team members at the beginning of the project so they can start to know each other better (Yael, 2011). Having meetings regularly to keep communication between virtual members also fosters the sense of team belonging. The more people can talk to each other, the better they can build relationships that can support a good team spirit.


  1. Establish open lines of communication. “The presence of virtual characteristics [...] can negatively impact team communication and productivity, demanding more effective team management.” (Schlenkrich & Upfold, 2009). Sometimes communication among virtual teams is difficult to establish since people don’t see each other, so making sure the team members check their emails or other communication tool used like Slack regularly, at least once a day, for example, is important to make sure messages go through and time is not lost in inefficient communication. As decided and agreed upon in the project charter, the team members need to comply with using the chosen technology and be responsible for being up to date and answering to others in a decent amount of time, making themselves available. (Schlenkrich & Upfold, 2009), (Yael, 2011).


  1. Have dedicated roles and responsibilities. “Team members have specific roles and perform identified tasks on the basis of their knowledge and skills.” (Ch’ng & Padgham, 1997). Team members are interdependent so they should be aware of their role and what their contributions to the project are. Roles and responsibilities should be documented before the start of the project. The team leader is in charge of documenting, clarifying, and ensuring a shared understanding of who is responsible to do what in order to achieve the goals set for the team (Yael, 2011). According to Settle-Murphy, some cultures need to have their roles and tasks more clearly defined than others, so the leader needs to pay attention to this to avoid frustration due to the misunderstanding of someone’s role or tasks being attributed to the wrong person. Similarly, some cultures are individualistic while others are more collectivists where people would be more likely to help each other where it is needed (Settle-Murphy, 2013).


  1. Work with the team to establish the project deliverables and timeline. The leader needs to ensure that this is documented, updated, and stored in a location where team members in any location can access it, as agreed upon in the project charter. In addition, working with a schedule will allow all team members in several locations to work toward their common goal and stay aligned. The leader needs to coordinate tasks by planning, and communicating it to the team. It is even more important when it comes to virtual teams as deliverables are impacted by time zone and team members’ availability since people from the United States and people from Europe only have a few workday hours in common for the team to work together. It’s important that the team has clear expectations and checkpoints planned to avoid frustration due to working at different hours, thus improving coordination (Yael, 2011).


  1. Building trust among team members is essential to have the team cooperating. “Trust increases communication, commitment, and loyalty between team members. Trust can be considered as the foundation that enables people to work together [...] It can also improve team performance” (Hakanen & Soudunsaari, 2012). Especially when the team members cannot see each other, building trust can become challenging and lack of trust may affect the productivity. The project managers must implement techniques to increase interactions and help the team build trust, with team-building exercises for example. But building trust also comes from the members themselves, making the effort to communicate with one another, prove that they are reliable by doing the work on time and following the expectations for example, and be professional and respectful of the others’ ideas and time. “Trust building requires openness, informing, honesty and arguments” (Hakanen & Soudunsaari, 2012).


  1. Keep participants focused and engaged during virtual meetings. As multitasking is almost inevitable, it has to be accepted and leaders can try to find ways to keep the participants active. The first thing that can be done is to have a short meeting, as it is easier to lose people’s attention during long meetings. The facilitator can try to encourage people into the conversation, asking questions and polling, or using interactive meeting tools. Different types of responsibilities can also be assigned to keep the participants engaged. (Young, 2009). Another idea is to use visual content to make sure the participants pay attention to the meeting. In a virtual meeting, the person presenting can share his screen with other participants to show slides for example (Speagle, n.d.). Having a clear agenda communicated prior to the meeting to the participants also ensure that they will have areas of discussion and opportunities to exchange ideas which maximize active participation in the meeting (Settle-Murphy, 2013).


  1. Resolve conflicts when they arise. “Negative outcomes of culturally diverse teams, [...] include a lower level of social integration and a high level of team conflict” (Han & Beyerlein, 2016). In virtual teams, conflicts can be either task conflict, which occurs when the team members disagree on the work done, or relationship conflicts, which is more personal and might arise if people don’t learn and respect other cultures. Conflicts, though mostly inevitable, need to be addressed early enough to avoid having them hurting the performance of the team. Team members need to first understand the reasons for the conflict to solve it properly. Han and Beyerlein found in their study that tools like Group Support Systems (GSS) can be used to resolve conflicts more effectively as they provide support for communication and generating ideas on how to solve the conflict. However, they also found that virtual teams that rely heavily on technologies are more subject to task conflict when communication leads to misunderstandings. Team members need to communicate properly their ideas using the right communication channels to make sure that they are heard and understood by others, or even communicate about things happening to them that affect the way they work so others understand and are more likely to accept instead of misjudging or interpreting a behavior (Han & Beyerlein, 2016). Therefore, teams need to address conflicts early on rather than avoiding them, and to do so, they must talk about the issues, understand where they come from, and look for solutions to implement before conflicts hurt performance. When it comes to multicultural teams, avoiding stereotyping cultures is very important to not offend people and create tensions among the team.





As a consulting team, our goal is to help Ottoman Empire and Emmerdant Chaise to create a healthy team dynamic for all the project members to successfully communicate and collaborate globally. In an effort to become one global entity, we want to help to bridge any gaps between the two companies. To make the strategic merger project a success, we suggest first using the project charter as a document that all team members can reference and use to stay focused on the project, then using the technology recommendations to allow the team to effectively communicate worldwide, and finally following the multi-cultural and virtual team's best practices. Working in a virtual team with members from all around the world involves several types of challenges, as the team works with individuals from different countries, cultures, and backgrounds. Therefore, we believe that the strategic merger project will be a continuous learning experience and we strongly encourage constant feedback so the team keeps improving and learning to work better together.


Our team looks forward to a successful collaboration on the strategic merge project.





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