When a firm begins to perform its project work virtually, success is often due to heroic efforts on the part of the project manager and a number of his or her team members. Achieving success consistently becomes a shared responsibility between project manager, project team, and senior leadership. It is the job of the senior leaders to establish a virtualization strategy and to remove any barriers to virtual execution success. The company's project managers are responsible for consistently ensuring their virtual projects are executed successfully and that business value is captured. If both pieces of the organization work effectively together, a continual increase in virtual project maturity and repeated success can be expected. As we underscore in this chapter, repeatable success in virtual project execution has to do with solid project management practices plus strong project team leadership.
As discussed earlier, all project managers have two primary roles: managing the project and leading the team. Many project managers experience a shift in the amount of time and effort spent in these two roles when they move from managing traditional projects to managing virtual ones. As Figure 5.1 illustrates, the balance of effort shifts to the right of the management-leadership continuum for a virtual project.