collaborative teams

Building Collaborative Teams – The Key to Success

Project management is a labour of love, a combination of science and art; taking an idea and fashioning a fully-formed project from it, complete with processes, plans, and workflows. In order to do this, you need an environment grounded in collaboration and feedback. It makes sense to speak to stakeholders and clients when fleshing out project scope and requirements, but often overlooked is the importance of collaboration between teams, whether it’s your own, or another team that is contributing to your project. So now the question is: how do you instill a collaborative nature in your project team and those you interact with? Are there tools that can encourage collaboration? How do you encourage collaborative teams?

Good Project Management is a matter of methodology, sure…

No matter how much you try to be aware of it, you can’t account for every personality that will be working on your projects. Everyone is different, and it can be challenging trying to get communication flowing  between teams and within them as well. The first step towards collaboration between different people and parties is having an established process that serves as a common language or contract between everyone. This is where it can help to follow a process like Agile or PRINCE2. Both methodologies have their own prescriptions for how to manage and execute projects in a collaborative manner. With PRINCE2, you have defined roles and responsibilities for team members, which clarifies who is the go-to person to ask when questions arise. PRINCE2 also recommends that business justification is continually checked throughout a project’s progress, which forces you as the project manager to touch base with stakeholders and team members on a regular basis. In Agile, collaboration and communication are built into the methodology definition itself. Team members are discouraged from working in silos, and are encouraged to communicate with each other face-to-face in cross-functional meetings especially across business, product, and technical divides. With a daily stand-up and regular sprint meetings, communication follows an expected cadence, and involves multiple team members at once.

But the real key to success is in building collaborative teams!

Besides following methodologies to create collaborative environments for your team, there are various ways tools can be used to help fuel a collaborative culture. Even when team members are geographically dispersed, having project-based chatrooms can help keep project members aware of the current issues and statuses. When thoughts and designs need to be shared, there are tools that allow for screen-sharing and same-time editing of documents. For teams that work in the same office, these options still provide benefit, but what’s even more valuable are face-to-face chats. Whenever an issue is brought up, team members should be able to hash out the details with their cohorts. It can take time to fine-tune the process for how to conduct all of these collaboration strategies, but with practice, you can get a lot of value out of expanding the team’s collective knowledge base, as opposed to having information kept in just a few people’s heads. Fostering collaborative teams is very important. If you see good chemistry in between your colleagues, nurture it!  Collaborative teams don’t grow on trees, you have to help them along and maintain them.

There’s no one, correct way to work collaboration into the DNA of your project team. But, by following a workflow methodology, you can nail down collaboration basics. Using OneDesk, it’s easy to implement Agile and PRINCE2 workflows with the various customizations and views into team members, work tickets, and timelines. By having all of your project’s details in one spot, you enable your team to have as much visibility across the project as they need, as well as accommodating any contractors, off-shore team members, or stakeholders in the same way. With the ability to see the project’s schedule against the calendars of your team members, you can work out a strategy for more face-to-face time, which naturally encourages more collaboration between team members.

More collaborative teams = a clearer path to victory!


Photo Credit : 750_1224 / Jin Kemoole / CC BY

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