When working for most organizations, projects can take up a big portion of what you do. Collaboration is essential whether it’s with an established team or across departments. Your team needs to have a certain level of competency and ability. There are tons of tools out there to help you make your team organized and more efficient. These tools range in price and features so you can choose the tool that will be the best fit, but don't forget some of these basics for successful projects:
1. Forgetting what it’s all about Yes, implementing tools can really help your teams collaborate better. But don’t forget that project collaboration is really all about the people. Make a team that has the right people and this will get you further than any tool.
2. Only using email Meeting in person is great when everyone can get together and they are all in the same office. For many collaborations, this simply isn’t possible all the time. Being able to meet online is essential and email can’t take care of all of the needs a group will have for collaboration. Not to mention, lots of us get hundreds of emails a day and project collaborations can get lost in the shuffle.
3. Getting a tool, but not seeing it through You can research and find the best tool out there, but if your team doesn’t know how to put it into play, it’s all for nothing. A lot of project collaboration tools have a learning curve. Allow your teams to learn these tools before they are expected to jump right in.
4. Non-adoption If your team learns the new tool or method but does not adopt it into their daily use, this can be a problem. You made this business decision and now you need to make sure your team is behind you and understands the importance of this tool and why they need to use it. Non-adoption can also apply to other areas of collaboration, not just a new tool or method.
5. Focusing on the negative When you are working on a project you might be solving one problem and while trying to do so, you may come across other problems. Don’t focus on the negative. This kills productivity in your collaboration. It can be easy to let your team get dragged down by the negative but instead, face these challenges with solutions.
6. Failing to communicate This can be an issue for many different areas of an organization and it hold true for project collaboration. Open lines of communication have to be established to have a free flow of thoughts and ideas. Communicating deadlines just isn’t enough, more conversation needs to go into collaboration. This starts with a clear mission. If this isn’t clear, the team will be set up for failure.
7. Overlapping tasks Sometimes, when the communication isn’t strong, multiple people could be working on the same task and have no idea someone else is too. This is just one example of how poor communication can lead to wasted time and efforts.
8. Resistance to change Many people are afraid of change. This could stem from a fear of surprises and the unknown, a certain level of mistrust, or maybe just bad timing. The creative ideas a project collaboration could come up with might require a certain level of change, however. Don’t be resistant to the good ideas that come from collaboration.
9. No established skills and best practices Your team should know what you expect out of them for project collaboration. Setting standards and best practices is a good first step. You need to make sure employees learn and understand the best practices you have in play when they are onboarding. You also want to make sure they know what basic skills will be required for the projects they join.
10. Failing to plan When it comes to collaboration, planning can be your best friend. Make sure giving each participant a voice is part of this plan. What methods will you use to brainstorm? How can you get to the end goal? These are a few of the details that need to be planned well in advance.