State of Collaboration: Return to Essentials

There is much hype about new collaboration tools and "collaboration 2.0" approaches.  Indeed more of us are spending more of our time in collaborative efforts with others.  But our recent survey of collaboration experiences points out how much of successful collaboration requires some back to basics approaches to team management and proper use of well-established tools.

The survey report  at All Collaboration points out the following:

  1. Complex collaboration is already a significant work activity for many people, and will only grow in importance. Most respondents have multiple collaborative projects underway at any given time. The purpose of these collaboration projects spans virtually the entire spectrum of enterprise needs. Collaboration efforts extend well beyond a group/department to include collaboration with other departments, partners, vendors, and customers. Collaboration is viewed as being essential across the board in the future, significantly more than the reality today. Individuals as well as organizations believe that they need to collaborate substantially more than they do currently.

  2. Successful collaboration requires mostly the good principles of project management applied to dispersed teams. Getting the old-fashioned basics right is critical. Most important advice from the respondents on effective collaboration is to: i) Define goals, roles, timelines and deliverables clearly, ii) Communicate the process and progress frequently and clearly, and iii) Select team members who bring real knowledge and expertise. Key challenges to effective collaboration include organizational culture and priorities, and collaboration process and tools.

  3. Keep it simple on the collaboration tools. Email, audio and web-conferencing, and file sharing are rated the most effective tools for collaboration. Wikis, IM, video conferencing and discussion forums rank low on effectiveness for collaboration. Selection of right tools and proper training are identified as potential areas for improvement.

If collaboration is a big part of your work life, I suggest you visit All Collaboration and read the survey report.