I'm in charge of a project where my team is spread across 4 sites in US and India. Do I need to travel to be effective?
I recently got a role to lead a year-long project. I do not have direct reports, so this role is closer to a project manager role. My team will peak out at ~50 people and is spread out across two sites in US and two sites in India. The site where I am located is our biggest engineering site. In addition, I get deliverables from teams in other sites in US, Canada, and China. I mainly interact with 8 functional leads on my team who must support 2 other projects besides mine -- 5 of them are at my site, 1 at the other US site, and 1 each at the India sites.
So, I'm wondering whether I need to travel to other sites to be more effective in my role -- build closer relationships with my leads as well as with other members of the extended team.
I have never traveled in such managerial capacity, so I'm wondering whether I'm missing out on something. I see some of our senior managers zip back and forth between sites every week, and I wonder why they're wasting company money. Are they really being more effective? If I do need to travel to be effective, how do I justify it to my boss?