Project Collaboration Explained: Your Guide for Success

By Christa Balingit
Marketing Communications Manager
Feb 10 2021 read

When you’re working as part of a team, it can sometimes feel like there are too many moving parts. Tasks get forgotten, messages get missed, departments don’t communicate and problems arise. 

As work gets more complex, the demand for efficient project collaboration grows. Project collaboration is a modern methodology in which a team works together to plan, implement and monitor projects for timely completion. 

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This all must happen in real-time so that every team member has the ability to overcome whatever obstacles are hindering their success. Everyone can efficiently do their part with the appropriate tools and the most current information.

In today’s workplace, more teams than ever are relying on project management tools to work together effectively. With so many teams going remote, what once involved a quick meeting in the conference room now demands management methods designed to handle competing deadlines and communication with team members living on the other side of the globe. 

Project collaboration can help ensure work is completed efficiently and to the satisfaction of even the most challenging client. Let’s take a closer look at what it means to foster this cooperation so your company can rise above the competition.

What Types of Projects Require Collaboration? 

Certain industries rely on project collaboration more than others. These industries include:

  • Digital services
  • Information technology
  • Accounting
  • Business consulting
  • Engineering and architecture
  • Managed service providers

Within these industries, there are projects that require an infrastructure that supports communication across all members of a team. Common projects that demand collaboration include the following:

Remote Working Teams

A recent survey found that more than 80% of companies around the globe are willing to allow their employees to work outside of the office in 2021, with nearly half planning remote work for all full-time employees.

This dramatic shift in project management requires strategic collaboration to avoid miscommunication, confusion or a drop in productivity. For example, while employees cannot attend in-person meetings, it’s still vital to ensure they are up to date with project workflow. 

Highly Complex Initiatives

If the project you’re working on has many parallel paths and complex demands, team members need to know where their counterparts stand on their complementary tasks. 

They may need access to documents, files and deadlines so that they can complete their work without delay. Managers will also want to know if one team has discovered a roadblock that could hinder the progress of other teams and impact the project’s overall success. 

Innovative Work

Companies involved in dynamic and innovative initiatives must deal with trial-and-error and dead-ends. Without project collaboration, teams won’t know what’s working and what’s not making the cut. 

This goes well beyond scheduling a conference call. With fast-moving processes, each team member should be able to determine the effectiveness of each element of the project — regardless of whether they’re logged on during business hours.

Projects Requiring Major Planning

In Stephen Covey’s innovative text, "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People," he explains the necessity of starting with the end in mind. This is especially true for projects that require teams to undertake significant planning before the actual work begins.

Teams need a structure in which to communicate clearly and effectively, especially when projects are technical in nature. Collaboration also requires delegating tasks to those best equipped to complete the work so the project can move forward as planned. Otherwise, you will risk minor mistakes that can disrupt the rest of your team’s workflow. 

How Do You Collaborate on a Project? 

The process of project collaboration requires specific steps:

1.  Align your goals

The first step to successful project collaboration is a comprehensive understanding of what you hope to accomplish. You must make your team’s goals clear at the beginning of your undertaking. Allow space for discussion and questions to ensure that you’re prepared to meet client or market needs.

2.  Involve relevant team members

Each project involves different team members, and it’s up to management to determine who should be included in collaboration. At times it may also be appropriate to loop the client into the collaboration process. You must also determine what level of access is best for each stakeholder involved. 

3.  Create appropriate timelines

Provide end dates and milestones along the way to create realistic expectations for each team member. This helps employees balance project tasks with other responsibilities while making it clear when work should be complete. Without proper deadlines, you risk losing time to crisis management instead of productivity. 

4.  Break down tasks

Big, complex projects often benefit from being broken down into smaller tasks. This is the essence of project management. Collaboration becomes more manageable when each role is assigned bite-sized goals with their own deadlines. This helps your team not feel so overwhelmed, while still keeping the big picture in mind. 

5.  Define roles

The more you are able to delegate tasks to specific people within your organization, the easier it will be to move forward on even the most in-depth work. You can assign roles based upon team member background and skillset to ensure everyone is working to their greatest advantage. Defined roles also can help you overburdening one person which can lead to stress, burnout, and missed deadlines.

6.  Encourage feedback

Regularly ask your team to provide feedback on your project management methods. Do not be afraid to ask for ways to improve the process. When team members are able to help determine how projects are managed, they often feel more valued and engaged in the project — which can lead to greater success. 

7.  Monitor the process

Don’t go on autopilot. Even with the best infrastructure, project managers must continue to monitor and adjust project collaboration throughout the life cycle of the initiative. Frequently check in on milestones and reach out to team members who seem to be having trouble with their tasks. 

The best collaboration encourages everyone to work together, even during challenging times.  

Get Started with Collaboration Tools 

When preparing your team to work collaboratively, you’ll need tools to make the process easier. Try a free trial of Accelo to test a project collaboration tool that supports your team, no matter your field. 

To learn more about project collaboration and how the right tools can help, check out Accelo’s blog today.

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