Agilewords Blog

Building a Team to Support Document Collaboration

Teamwork

It’s amazing what a strong team can accomplish.  The combined will and cooperation of a team truly focused on achieving an end goal is often times unstoppable. This was proven by the Egyptians when they built the Great Pyramid at Giza.  Even then, they recognized the importance of a strong team in management and productivity.  Though 4,000 years have passed since the ancient feat, nothing has changed in principle.

More and more organizations are starting to recognize the power of teamwork in the business environment.  Strong teams hold great potential, which is why many companies have invested substantial amounts of internal resources to design and develop team based collaboration tools.  Despite this fact, in the end, many teams ultimately end up failing.

Why?  Several reasons:
a.    Teams are not appropriate for all assigned tasks
b.    Most professionals prefer to work alone, as opposed to in teams
c.    Many people feel they are superior to others, thus creating friction amongst team members
Unfortunately, the list could go on and on.

To combat these challenges, organizations must first focus on how to build a team that can work effectively together.  One approach towards achieving this goal is by breaking activities into different levels:

Level I – Focus on building strong relationships.  The foundation of any team is comprised of strong relationships and collaboration amongst team members.  Unfortunately, many of your own colleagues and team members sit in front of computers for much of the work day.  While it may sound absurd, this has a tendency to prevent real-time dialogue from taking place.  Instead of picking up the phone to talk to Al or walking 2 offices down to ask Sally a question, Jim would prefer to just send an email.  Does it make sense?  No.  Is it happening every single day in your organization?  Probably so.  Another challenge lies in the growing popularity of remote workplaces.  It’s often times difficult to build strong relationships with colleagues through email messaging and conference calls alone.

So how do you overcome these challenges? If work is completed in-house, a manager can schedule regular meetings or perhaps a team lunch outside the office.  If remote work is involved, regular video conference meetings can make a big impact.  Think outside the box, be a little creative.  It will resonate with your team members.

Level II – Expect exceptional communication. All team members should learn how to facilitate the timely exchange of information between other members of the team. There must be a common mode of communication, be it an email that everyone is required to check daily for updates, a  chat/messaging system that each team member can send messages to in case an important piece of information should be delivered, or some other innovative solution.  For example, to increase team collaboration at Salesforce, they use “chatter,” which is almost like Twitter for their enterprise. Another example that is gaining widespread popularity is the Agile methodology, where teams have daily scrums to tell others what they are working on, report progress and discuss roadblocks.

Level III – Create an environment that requires tasks to be completed efficiently and cohesively
. Collaboration tools allows leaders to assign tasks and team members to deliver their completed work. Basecamp and Producteev are both examples of online applications that help team leaders to manage teamwork and assign tasks, while Agilewords offers true document collaboration capabilities.  Agilewords is a web-based application that allows leaders and team members alike to review MS Word documents, often times resulting in faster group approvals. It provides a simple way to share, review, and approve documents with teams and/or clients.  With Agilewords, you can create environments that foster efficient communication channels and compel team members to deliver their tasks in a timely manner.

Every successful team is built upon a solid foundation. Strong relationships, excellent communication skills, and a system that can be used for efficient and cohesive delivery of tasks are surefire ways to build a winning AND successful team.

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  • ivanwalsh

    1-7-2011

    Hi Tabitha.

    Great article. Empowering your staff by educating them is one of the first steps – and then helping them improve the process step by step.

    Ivan

    Reply

  • John Felton

    1-7-2011

    You made a great point! Building strong relationships remains overlooked by project managers. Too often, people get obsessed by the tools rather than trying to emulate a friendly and collaborative environment.

    Reply

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