Collaboration holds the key to success for many projects. Today’s businesses face growing competition and rising customer expectations, so they’re having to do all they can to exceed those expectations and make a name for themselves in crowded marketplaces. And one way in which brands are doing this is by championing collaboration amongst their teams.
Prioritising collaboration means being able to make the most of every team member’s unique set of skills. When this is possible, projects run more smoothly and efficiently than staff could ever have imagined. As a result, companies are able to maximise speed, improve customer service and outsmart their competitors at every turn.
In this article, we’ll explore the idea of project collaboration in more detail, before giving you some of our top tips on how you can ensure effective collaborative project management in future projects.
What is project collaboration and why is it important in project management?
The term project collaboration simply means working together in a way that suits all team members.
The team-based process is designed to maximise efficiency, by allowing staff to share knowledge more easily and communicate in a way that makes work simpler. In doing so, teams can make the most of newfound productivity improvements that allow them to complete their individual tasks and contribute to overall goals in the most effective way possible.
For managers, collaboration is one of the most effective tools at their disposal. If teams are fully focused on collaboration, they stand a better chance of avoiding any breakdowns in communication that could lead to errors or omissions. A collaborative approach also reduces the risk of bottlenecks that might otherwise have slowed the project down.
Project management vs. project collaboration
Although effective project collaboration feeds into good project management, the two terms are slightly different in their meaning.
When we talk about project management, we’re talking about how teams will reach the goals of a project, bearing in mind any hiccoughs they could come up against such as a lack of time or resources.
Project collaboration is slightly different. Instead of thinking solely about how the project will be planned and run, project collaboration means considering how team members might work together to meet the targets of a project in the fastest and most efficient way.
How to ensure effective collaboration between project teams
The benefits of project collaboration are undeniable. But how can you ensure effective collaboration between project teams in your own business? Here are six top tips from our team of experts.
Focus on communication
Communication is key in the planning of any project, but if you’re using a collaborative approach it's even more important.
Start with the focus firmly on communication, because the effectiveness of your team’s communication skills really can make or break a project. Use exercises designed to improve team members’ ability to communicate.
If resources allow, offer communication training for all staff. Consider software designed to ease communication. Set guidelines on how project contributors should share comments and updates, and with what regularity. If everyone’s on the same page where communication is concerned, your project is far more likely to run without a hitch.
The more teams know about the project, the better equipped they’ll be to make it a success.
Don’t hold data back from any team members, even if at first it might seem like certain information is irrelevant to them. Make information easily accessible and fully transparent, to give staff all the information they might need to problem solve in creative and unique ways.
Transparency is vital in getting all team members on board with a project. Staff are more likely to be motivated and ready to put all their energy into a project if they know what they’re trying to achieve - and why.
Involve the whole team
Don’t overlook a single member of your team. For project collaboration to work, inclusion should be at the core of everything you do. So, involve the entire team in projects from the moment they begin.
Invite colleagues to give their feedback and discuss their own ideas on how projects might be run. Give team members opportunities to talk about potential problems and challenges, leaving room for all project stakeholders to have their say.
Of course, opinions may differ and you won’t be able to make use of every idea thrown your way, but the involvement of the whole team brings with it benefits beyond the project in question. This practice is brilliant for the personal development of team members, and it’ll help to keep colleagues engaged and interested in projects while also providing the chance for colleagues to share skills and learn from one another.
Create an environment where team members can take initiative
In some environments, staff struggle to take the initiative as they’re unsure about how their ideas might be received. But if you want to make your projects a success, you need to change the way staff feel about sharing new ideas and going against the grain.
Create an environment where all team members feel valued and you’ll soon start to hear more from them. If there’s already a culture of innovation within your company, colleagues won’t be reluctant to contribute their ideas. And those who are comfortable taking the initiative are also more likely to adopt new policies or changes as and when required.
Break down silos
Great project collaboration involves team members from a range of different departments. And the reason why it makes such a difference is because in many companies, different departments just don’t work seamlessly together.
In some cases this might be due to physical barriers, like departments being located on different floors, but often it’s simply down to how team members have got used to working. To make the most of the potential that project collaboration holds, it’s imperative that you focus on breaking down silos to get team members working together.
Use project collaboration tools
Project management tools are invaluable when it comes to boosting teamwork, quite simply because they make collaboration easier. There are some brilliant project collaboration tools out there, offering a huge range of functionality at a number of different price points.
Hello Ivy is a tool designed to simplify project management and collaboration. It’s easy to use from day one, and offers a whole range of different features that make collaboration easy. With real time task management, file storage and organisation tools, discussions, timeline planning features and templates that are ready to use in a single click, Hello Ivy offers everything teams need to work smarter and more effectively.
Improve collaborative project management with the right software
Collaboration is something that all teams should be looking to improve, because when teams prioritise collaborative amazing things soon become possible.
We’ve talked about new ways of introducing collaboration at your workplace, but if you’re looking for a simple way to make collaboration easier for your team it’s all about choosing the right software.
Hello Ivy is the go-to solution for simple and effective project management. It’s got all the features you need and it’s ready for your team to start using straight away. Start a free trial to see how the software could transform your business.