Team collaboration is recognized as the best tool for improving team’s productivity by leading research in the project management and team behavior sciences.
Without effective collaboration, projects will fail most of the time. Think of it, if you have a group of people working on a project and they don’t cooperate with each other, then what is the point of having a team in the first place?
Effective Collaboration is an extremely elusive goal. How do you make your team work collaboratively? How do you measure collaboration? How do you know if your team is engaged in the right collaboration method and not doing it all wrong?
Is communication another word for collaboration? Communication is the first and most important element of collaboration, but it is not collaboration.
A lot of managers mistake communication with the team working collaboratively. So how do you know that your team is working collaboratively?
Effective team Collaboration guidelines:
structured Communication– The first rule for teams to work collaboratively is structured communication. Your team needs to communicate and communicate more. But what is the right way of communication?
When I talk about structured communication, I mean conversation that is both casual and documented. It is important to be able to go back and review the discussions the team has had in the project. To be able to search for specific topics which the team had during the project life cycle is an additional bonus.
Digital communication is easy to save and playback again and again. But how about conversations that the team members have in the hallway or in the conference room? In those cases, it is pivotal to write a summary of all in-person communication and make it available to the whole team.
It takes discipline to always capture all communication for the future reference, but without it, the mission is never complete.
Effective Feedback– When the team is working on ideas or problems, it is important to answer questions in a thorough and timely manner. The team could have as much conversation as they want, but if nothing is decided and resolved, then what is the point of the communication?
Giving timely feedback is instrumental in moving the project ahead. If you are a manager or a lead engineer in the team, one of your primary responsibilities is to give feedback and guidance when questions or problems arise.
Even when you don’t have answers to questions or new ideas, you need to let your team know as soon as possible, so they can search for answers elsewhere.