Agilewords Blog

Document Collaboration 101: Ensuring Success

Business people looking at new plan in boardroom at meeting

Document collaboration can be the best thing sliced bread – or someone’s worst nightmare.  Without proper processes and procedures in place, collaboration can drive a person to the brink of insanity, especially if coordinating the work of multiple editors.  There’s nothing worse than trying to manage conflicting comments from a handful of different people.  What if Bill and Ted are working on the same document at the same time?  Before you know it, you’ve got 2 different variations of the same document.  Compound that another 1 or 2 times, and you’ve got a massive problem on your hands.  After all, someone ultimately has the unfortunate responsibility of going through and trying to mesh it all together.

So, how can one combat the pitfalls of document collaboration and come out on top?  Surprisingly, it’s much easier than you think:

1.     Define document collaboration and how it’s going to relate to your business.  Clearly identify your needs and goals, and then define how specific departments, projects, and individuals will factor into them.

2.     Assign document leaders.  EVERY document needs an owner.  The document leader should be in charge of the entire project, ensuring that the overall objective is indeed attained.  If there isn’t a central point of contact, how will project participants know who to contact with questions?

3.     Let employees know what is going to be expected of them – and more importantly, on what timeline.  Failure here pretty much guarantees missed deadlines since the word “urgent” to Paul in Washington DC might take on a completely different meaning to Jim out in Seattle.

4.     Control document variations. There is nothing worse than taking the time to revise a document, and then finding out that the wrong version was edited.  It’s frustrating for you, and for everyone else.  No one, and I repeat, no one likes having to do the same work twice.

5.     Resolve conflicts.  There isn’t a day that passes by in business when someone doesn’t agree with someone or something.  It’s human nature.  Encouraging communication, acknowledging opinions and sharing reasoning can lead to a finished product that is leaps and bounds better than if this type of group interaction hadn’t taken place.  Disagreements are bound to happen.  Managing them separates the boys from the men (or girls from the women!).

6.     Review processes often.  Evaluate what’s working well, and be realistic in your assessment of what clearly isn’t.  Ask project participants for their feedback.  Analyze your processes to foster better collaboration and teamwork.

There’s no doubt about it, effective document collaboration on projects and tasks can dramatically increase teamwork and efficiency while reducing stress and rewrites.  There are, however, several pitfalls that can easily railroad your efforts.  To help combat this, you need to choose a document collaboration solution that has advanced functionalities already built-in.

With the Agilewords document collaboration solution, you can keep track of who is updating a specified document, what they are proposing to be updated, and when the suggestions were made.  Since Agilewords is web based, all members of the team have access to the same document, can view all suggested edits, and comment as needed.  It’s true team collaboration.  Even better, we offer a free trial – you can start reviewing your document in just seconds.  To get started, visit https://www.agilewords.com/start-review.

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  • Teresa Mulvihill

    12-29-2010

    That’s a good checklist. From experience, we found that setting up a clear collaboration process well understood by everyone involved in the document review is a winner!

    Reply

  • ivanwalsh

    1-4-2011

    Hi Tabitha,

    I’d second ‘effective document collaboration can dramatically increase teamwork and efficiency while reducing stress and rewrites’. That’s where the real costs savings are seen.

    Ivan

    Reply

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