There is one aspect that many project managers have in common, reaching out to peers. Rarely will a project manager begin working on a project without seeking input from their peers. This goes for all industries. Whether it is designing a new product, building, or transportation infrastructure, a good project manager will always seek the counsel of those that are in the same industry, or that work on similar projects.
This type of collaboration has many positive effects for the those that practice it. In today’s business world, technological advancements have created unique opportunities for project management collaboration. There are various systems that have been established online that make the sharing of work, ideas, and knowledge simple and cost effective. However, many project management personnel and teams have failed to take advantage of these advancements.
This hesitation can be pinpointed to two primary reasons. First, for many people that hold positions such as professional project manager want to connect with their peers in person. For many, this not only helps them to assure the correct ideas and thoughts are being sent and received but also creates a more assuring atmosphere. Secondly, many people are not sure which online platform should be used. Advancements seem to happen overnight today’s technologically-charged society, making keeping up with what is “in” and what is “out” a bit of a challenge for some. Regardless of the reasons why team collaboration is not being used, it is a vital part of a businesses growth in our modernized society.
Companies that are not using, or improving on their project management strategies by initiating team collaboration on large, or even small projects, could be making a huge mistake. Here are ten reasons why team collaboration should be part of any company’s project management strategy in 2017:
1. Long-Term Benefits
Even if a company has attempted team collaboration on a previous project that may not have worked out for one reason or another, that does not mean that valuable lessons were not learned. During meetings, brainstorming sessions, and other team events, managers were afforded the opportunity to identify those that will make for the perfect team members on future projects. Additionally, through such attempts at team collaboration, invaluable partnerships can be forged.
In addition to creating benefits for the organization, another long-term effect that team collaboration has is on an individual level, developing future leaders for the organization. When people work with others on large projects, they tend to have more successful and productive careers. With the multiple skills, experiences, and characteristics working together to achieve the same goal, not only does the final product usually end up being better than if it was achieved alone, but the individuals involved learn from each other, picking up valuable information to add to their own skill sets for future use.
2. Effective Problem Solving
No matter how knowledgeable an individual may be in a specific field or how well they organize a project, events can occur that will bring the whole process to a halt that they will not be able to figure out on their own. This is one of the best reasons companies should be incorporating team collaboration into their management strategies. By collaborating with others, problems can potentially be resolved faster by having team members that may have dealt with similar situations or issues previously.
3. Opportunity for Learning
As managers, expanding on skillsets and professional knowledge is a continuous process. Not only does this help with career progression, it also makes the various tasks that they must face easier to accomplish. Through team collaboration, managers, as well as team members, are exposed to various experience levels, creating a learning environment for everyone involved as well as a productive work environment.
4. Identify Areas of Improvement
When collaborating with project team members, managers can identify what areas could use some work. This not only goes for the project, but also for the individuals on the team. Nothing will show what someone can bring to the table like having to communicate their competencies to the project manager or other team members. Once identified, plans for additional training can be created to help “sure up” this potential weak spot in the project team long before it is able to have a negative impact on the project or the organization.
5. Positive Abrasion
While abrasion is often related with friction, which in turn is related to a negative aspect, friction itself is energy. By using team collaboration, this energy can be turned into something positive by working with people with different experiences and skill sets. This variety of skills can be extremely useful to the team once they have been assigned to roles that best match these skills.
6. Live the Brand
In order for a team to give it all they have with a project, they will have to know exactly what the end-goal is. By using the company’s mission statement as the central focus, not only will the team’s results have more effect, it adds additional value and meaning to the company brand as well as better results to team projects.
7. Encourages Creativity
Being part of a team helps to encourage creative thinking in employees. By letting these creative forces come alive through brainstorming sessions, it creates an environment where good ideas can turn into great ideas. Additionally, through team collaboration, the employees with the most potential can be easily identified for future projects.
Creative thinking in the workplace allows for new and unique ideas that can lead to assets for an organization. It also makes it possible to see where there was a success in a failure. Not every plan will work on the first shot. Having employees that are creative thinkers will help to identify not only what needs to be fixed, but also what was done right.
8. Builds a Trusting Work Environment
Team collaboration helps to build trust among employees as well a management. By creating a situation to where the team members have to rely on each other, a strong bond is formed as employees enjoy working together. In spite of minor conflicts that may occur, the team as a whole is united and putting forth their best effort as they work to accomplish an established goal. Which leads to the next reason….
9. Teaches How to Resolve Conflicts
Regardless of how tight-knit a team may become, there will inevitably be conflicts from time to time, especially when members are putting everything they have into a project. Various backgrounds, habits, styles and even cultures can help to cause some of these setbacks. Being faced with these conflicts, employees are placed in a position to where they need to resolve the conflicts without turning to management. By learning conflict resolution, employees gain a valuable skill for use when they are in a management position.
Even though there is no “I” in the word team, teamwork can benefit both employees as well the employer. By working as a team, the competitive nature most employees have can be harnessed and turned into positive outcomes instead of being barriers to personal and professional growth. Knowing how to resolve conflicts, as well as having trust in teammates, allow for great ideas to be expressed and skills to be built upon for creating a dynamic workplace.
10. Encourages Risk-Taking
When working alone, employees tend to take the safe route, doing exactly as they are expected to do without taking a chance on an idea that they think may be an improvement. If the idea is not accepted well, the employee is left as being responsible for the potential flop. However, by using team collaboration as part of a project management strategy, members of the team are more likely to share potentially revolutionary ideas since they will not feel as though they have to endure a failure alone. In many situations, some of the best and most successful ideas have been some of the riskiest and have come to fruition through the use of team collaboration.
Team Collaboration Fosters Teamwork
History teaches how teamwork has led to some of the most innovative ideas ever conjured up. For the naysayers, here is a great example of some of those innovations, some current, some from the past. However dated the examples may be, the risks involved were high but the reward was even higher.
Incorporating the same model of team collaboration into a company that currently does not have team collaboration as part of their management is not something that can happen overnight and will take a little time to incorporate correctly. However, many companies that seem to have become “stagnant” might find new life in the form of an idea that an employee was too timid to express.
For those companies that already have such project management strategies in place, improving the outcome by taking a closer look at their team members, re-accessing strengths and weaknesses, and assigning resources (employees) to areas where they have the most potential could have some significant positive impacts. In the words of Andrew Carnegie,
“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.”