Businesses are constantly striving to increase efficiency. As a result, employees are continually being asked to accomplish more with less, making collaboration even more essential to meeting deadlines. Due to its importance, collaboration has become a highly sought-after skill. If better understood, collaboration makes each employee even more valuable to the organization.
Merriam-Webster defines collaboration as, working jointly with others or together especially in an intellectual endeavor. I prefer a simplified working definition. Collaboration is working together to make possible something which cannot be accomplished alone. Everyday both at work and home, benefit can be gained from learning to collaborate more efficiently. Take for instance an Amish Barn raising. A barn is not the most complicated structure, but the sheer size of the project can be daunting if undertaken by one person. Building the barn with only one man would take many hours. Or if there are many men the same work can be divided and completed much faster.
Since collaboration is about completing a project more efficiently, here are a few simple steps that we can derive from a barn raising that can help you collaborate on your next project.
- Always define your objective. Without a target a collaborative project may wonder endlessly trying to find focus.
- Set a goal. With a time frame in mind tasks will stay on target and the result will be the success of the overall project.
- Define the roles of each team member. Clear roles that cover each area of a project are essential.
- Know how you will communicate. Where and how you will compile the work and if an issue is discovered how you will inform other team members?
- Use technology when possible. Deploying an electronic system like geoAMPS that tracks progress, keeps document versions and logs the task complete can make a huge difference in performance.
- Monitor performance. Use a management system to keep the project team well informed. This enables road blocks to be dealt with faster and issues to be avoided that delay results. Agile is a good system.
Collaboration is a great tool that is beneficial to any project when managed effectively. The simple steps listed above will help make a collaborative project run smoother both in the office and at home. If you have any insight on how to make this simple outline better or if you have an experience with a collaborative project you care to share, please do so in the below comment box.