Project management requires a specific combination of skills and experience. However, it also requires that you have a team that can communicate and collaborate together in order to be effective. Collaboration can be difficult, particularly if your team is widespread, or made up of individuals who have never worked together before. Here are five important tips to help you foster better collaboration amongst your team members.
1. Combat Disagreements Now
Disagreements are a natural part of human interaction, but you cannot afford to let them linger. This can foster dissatisfaction, resentment and other negative feelings that will eventually tear your team apart. In order to collaborate effectively, your team needs to be in agreement, at least as much as possible. As the project manager, you need to take steps to combat disagreements immediately.
2. Have a Team Plan
While you most certainly have an overall plan for the project itself, you need to have a plan for your team as well. This plan should outline each team member’s responsibilities, their duties, reporting frequency and types, as well as many other things. Your plan should be as detailed as possible, and should clearly delineate what you expect from the team.
3. Use Technology to Your Advantage
Technology has evolved considerably in recent years, and you’ll find a ton of different options out there designed specifically for project management. While Microsoft’s product is still one of the most frequently used programs, there are many other solutions that can give you access to a range of benefits. Make sure you take the time to investigate the choices out there, including web-based software, desktop software and mobile apps, as each brings something different to the table.
4. Stay Dedicated to Communication
Communication is an essential part of collaboration. When communication breaks down, or is allowed to die out, serious problems will occur. Make sure that you remain dedicated to keeping communication channels open with your team members. You should also make sure that you have the tools available to make communication easier. Video conferencing, email, collaboration software, instant messaging and other tools can all make it easier for your team to stay in contact, and for you to stay on top of things.
5. Realize Time Differences
These days, more and more teams are working from remote locations and collaborating virtually. While this can be an excellent solution, you need to remain aware of time differences. Make sure that you set meetings (virtual ones) at times when all team members can attend without them having to be awake at two in the morning. This not only shows respect for individual team members, but ensures that they are mentally alert during the meeting as well.
As you can see, there are quite a few ways to foster better collaboration amongst your team members, whether your team works locally or is spread around the country or even the world. However, it all starts with you and the choices you make in terms of software, communication and team member roles.