Collaboration during a project is a method by which teams and project managers plan, coordinate, and monitor the project on which they are working.
In practice, the entire success of managing a project is based on group collaboration.
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Collaboration means two or more people working together to achieve a goal. Generally, this ends with the creation of a product or service, but this collaboration process can also go beyond the departmental and even company boundaries.
With the increasing preponderance of remote work teams and the movement of data on cloud servers, the collaboration, which is always the basis of team work, it has become even more a watchword in project management.
The importance of collaboration
As mentioned above, the collaboration refers to two or more people working together to solve a problem and / or achieve a certain goal.
This may seem like a concept equivalent to that of “team work“, but there are actually considerable differences between the two.
Typically, a team is a group of people with similar skills who regularly work together with a person who makes key decisions, while in collaboration they bring together people with different skills and experiences to solve a problem or work towards a certain goal.
All the subjects involved are therefore united for a common goal and the authority is shared.
Collaboration takes place in teams, however, simply putting together a team does not mean that everyone will collaborate effectively.
The increasingly frantic global economy drives organizations to do more with less and respond quickly to customer requests.
Organizations need cross-functional teams to innovate and improve processes in order to remain agile.
These needs are met, in part, by the huge availability of collaboration tools in the market. Thanks to project management software such as TWproject, for example, teams can chat, share, and co-edit documents, assign jobs, create reports, automate tasks using flows work at any time, from anywhere.
Collaboration is part of the digital revolution and these new tools simplify it.
Collaboration and Project Management
When applied to project management, collaboration involves bringing together a team of different departments, offices, organizations, and even countries to complete a project.
Each team member has only a part of the information and skills necessary to perform the work for a project. They must rely on the collective experiences, skills, and knowledge within the team to fill the gaps.
Completing a project requires different skills and experiences, provided by a cross-functional team that in general does not work together every day.
Collaboration is also important for new project managers and inexperienced team members.
These people rely on the skills and experience of the team to contribute successfully to the project.
The emphasis on the collaboration of the project team reflects the structure of many companies that are becoming less and less hierarchical and that see a greater interaction between departments.
If collaboration is the essence of modern project management, ineffective collaboration or lack of collaboration can undermine the project.
What are the advantages of collaboration for the PM?
Collaboration allows, in short, to be better than the sum of the individual parts.
Here are some of the advantages of a good collaboration for the project manager:
- Increased productivity: Distributing activities to team members who have the time and skills to complete them, rather than overloading a team member with too much work and neglecting others.
- Better problem resolution: Giving team members the autonomy to work together to solve problems offers more ways to success, as well as building team loyalty and morale.
- Better communication: Communication lines need constant care or a wrong direction can deviate a project. Collaboration facilitates clear communication and provides a solution to communicate effectively also in case of remote teams.
- Reduction of general expenses: One of the biggest costs of any organization is the rent or purchase of a physical space in which everyone can work. However, with collaboration, team members do not need to be in the same place.
- Promotion of human resources: By promoting collaboration among team members, not only it is possible to build strong relationships, but also to create loyalty that helps retain employees.
How to improve collaboration in a project team
The advantages of collaboration in project management are therefore clear, but implementing them can be difficult, especially when managing remote teams.
Here are some tips to increase collaboration within an organization:
- Communication: Every good project manager knows that good communication is the foundation of everything, especially to establish a collaborative environment. Not only is it necessary for the project manager to communicate correctly and frequently, but also to convince the team to do so.
- Orientation and training: In order to learn something new, a training session is always necessary and, at times, also a reference figure to who expose doubts and questions is needed. In the case where, for example, a new project management software is installed, it is necessary to organize a training session for the team in order to start an effective and fruitful collaboration.
- Change: Old habits are often hard to die, but it is necessary to get the team away from old methods that are no longer effective for the project.
- Sharing: A healthy and positive collaboration will not be possible unless the virtual walls that separated team members in the past are knocked down.
- Monitoring: When a project is run and a plan is not set, the project will be destined to fail. The same applies to the implementation of the collaboration. This is why it is necessary to monitor and hold regular meetings with the team in order to answer questions and keep track of their progress.
Bringing people together to work collectively and foster collaboration is no longer a choice, but a necessity for any project-based activity.