Putting Collaboration to Good Use

February 17, 2014 5:00 am2 comments


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.

SEE ALSO: 12 Reasons to Automate Your Workflow Management

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:


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.

SEE ALSO: 5 Tips For Successful Collaboration With Clients


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.


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.


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.


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.

SEE ALSO: How I Power My Business: Matthew Jung 

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.


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.

RELATED: Managing Your Projects With Pizazz

Image: iStockphoto

Scott Nushart  MSM
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!

Maricel Rivera
Maricel Rivera

Hey, Scott,

Thanks for chiming in, sir. I appreciate the input. 

I realize that my choice of words had been rather poor. If you will allow me, I would like to clarify my position. What I was referring to was the command-and-control strategy when decisions were an executive-and-top-management-only undertaking. While that admittedly is still the case in a lot of situations today, for some decisions, today's leaders are bringing servant leadership into the routine, where their teams' needs go above their own. That, of course, isn't a new strategy. I would like to believe you've used that, too.

In hindsight, I shouldn't have included the first sentence in there.

As for collaborative software, it's just a tool. You may use it if you deem it necessary. As for tone, that one is personal. No amount of AI, I believe, can filter that.

Best regards,


Welcome to Firmology

Firmology is a technology news site focused on helping small businesses and online startups.

Firmology has a variety of helpful resources including the latest information on new companies, products, services and innovative business strategy.

Firmology defined: the study of business
Firm [noun] a company or business
Ology [suffix] the study of (a particular subject)

Subscribe by Email

Sign Up for Free Email Updates

Join other small business owners who get free and fresh content delivered each time we publish.

Connect with Firmology!

 Subscribe in a reader