Putting Collaboration to Good Use

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colab

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7 Characteristics of a Good Collaboration Framework

Today, leadership strategies are a far cry from those developed decades ago. Companies are now making efforts to listen and value the inputs of their employees, since they are the ones who know how to get the real work done when it comes to project workarounds or how to simplify particular tasks.

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Coordinating the efforts of a team, however, requires a collaborative framework. To put teamwork to good use, aside from a winning workplace culture, you should also consider the collaboration tools you implement.

But with the many software and other tools peppering the marketplace today, it’s easy to get confused. The key to picking the best software for your business is knowing what your team needs and what you’re trying to accomplish.

Here are some guidelines to keep in mind when choosing the right collaboration tools for your business:

Communication

Effective communication is an ingredient of successful collaboration and it goes without saying that this should be the foremost consideration when choosing your company’s collaboration tool. You don’t want project delays or erroneous tasks and reports resulting from poor communication. Especially during times when speedy changes or upgrades have to be done, your collaboration tool’s communication functionality should be spot on.

User-Friendly Interface

Nice-looking interfaces are good, but not at the expense of usability.

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If your collaboration application has complex features and a navigation system that takes too long for your team to get used to, it’s probably not the right tool for your business. Instead of speeding up work completion, tasks can be delayed and deadlines missed. Go for a simple, user-friendly interface without much of the fuss.

Cloud-Based

Decades ago, enterprise collaboration applications were mostly on-premise, and those who could afford them were the bigger companies. But with cloud computing and the growing prevalence of collaboration software geared towards small businesses, entrepreneurs that do not have the financial resources to invest in costly IT infrastructure are now also able gain momentum. Web-based collaboration tools can be accessed instantaneously, and from any connected device, transcending geographic and time boundaries.

Real-Time

When a team member uploads a report or makes changes to a document or spreadsheet (or anything with data the entire team might need), your collaboration tools should mirror those changes real-time, as in the case of a status change that everyone in the team can see right away or be notified about, specifically if project end-goals may also change as a result. This leads to less confusion and better, faster decision-making.

Clarity of Purpose

With real-time reporting and task viewing, team members—not just managers and higher-ups—are made aware of their team and individual targets and how they’re faring against those targets. Also, they know who is responsible for what and who to approach for clarification when things get a little tricky.

Flexibility

Knowing your end goals is essential for a project to commence. This way, you’re able to devise a carefully mapped-out plan from start to finish.

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However, some projects may sometimes require end-goal revisions due to changing consumer or market demands. Having a collaboration tool that you can easily tweak to comply with changing requirements is a better alternative to having to start from scratch.

Visibility

Without visibility, without sufficient knowledge of project specifics and updates, you’re essentially driving a car in a storm. If visibility is zero and you insist on moving forward, the results can be catastrophic to your bottom line.

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Image: iStockphoto

2 Comments on "Putting Collaboration to Good Use"

  1. Scott Nushart MSM

    Oh, really?  You truly believe that the needs for successful execution of a business or project plan is any different today than 10,20 or 30 years ago?  What specifically is your frame of reference?  A software-based collaboration approach may be optimal for some applications, but as a project manager, what substitute is there for hands-on or eyes-on contact with the components?

    As the holder of the magic keys (as a project manager), I am responsible for precise conveyance of what the condition of the execution is, not ‘assuming’ the read or opinion of someone hyper-focused on the specific issue is conveying.  Is not one of the goals and responsibilities of the project manager to filter/buffer the state of affairs of the work when the condition is reported back to the champion?

    If collaborative software users have difficulty regulating tone in their emails, why should we believe that input in a collaborative software package will be any better?  Have you incorporated AI to further filter what is entered?  

    Guess what?  Earned Value Analysis and other tools existed 30 years ago (I know-I used it!).  Our requirements were as strict and regimented as they are today.  Our paper file ‘wiki’s’ were as chaotic as many of today’s digital wiki’s (garbage in/garbage out has always applied…).  Let’s not lose perspective!

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