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5 Steps To Flawless Teamwork

Mary Lewinson
April 5, 2017
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Group collaboration and project execution are often done behind the scenes with only the final result presented to the client. However, it is the effective team that is at the forefront of project success, especially of the digital one that is often being carried out by virtual teams that may never come to a physical encounter with each other.

We suggest taking these five simple, yet very effective steps to improve the project team collaboration on a day to day basis.

1. Know The Team

In this age of online collaboration teams, individuals may work through entire projects without ever meeting their team members – and especially the client – offline. The key is communication. To create a tight-knit team, you must find ways of connecting with them personally. Weekly team calls are essential. When something urgent is to be discussed immediately, initiate the call with a lighthearted dialogue. Talk to the group about the activities they are going to be engaged in outside of work over the weekend or next week. It is an excellent way to build a connection beyond the task commitments.

Suggest to your team to upload their photo to their Gmail profile to not only facilitate other team members in recognising who the person they’re speaking to is, but also to be able to draw a mental portrait of each person’s character. People can feel empathy and unity when seeing a person’s face because this is how our brains have evolved. When we see someone’s picture, we feel closer to them on a personal level.

2. Everyone Matters

Always invite the entire project team to important meetings or when difficult decisions have to be made. If you get yourself in the vicious routine of going only to a team leader or one particular manager on a given project or task for example, before you know it that is all you will have left. The fraction of the effective team that is always being left out will start shifting their focus to those projects where they feel to be making larger input.

Avoid doing that at all cost! Include everyone, even if you still have a go-to guy in your project team for most of what you need. The team that keeps excellent communication where everyone is providing individual contribution has proven to be more productive and responsible. That is what you want for your group of professionals.

3. Have Everyone Interact With The Customer

Make sure everyone has the opportunity to interact with the client as it increases the feeling of tighter participation and liability for the project team members. With that increased feeling of contribution and responsibility, you will also likely to see an increase in eagerness, cooperation, and performance. People want to be wanted. What is the easiest and best way to do this? Some of your team will frequently interact with the customer anyway, especially on a technical project where certain requirements and processes may need closer examination.

However, another great way is to allow (or oblige) each project team member to report on the progress of their key project tasks to the client during regular meetings or calls. This elevates accountability for the tasks the group has been working on and that they have made as much progress as possible. Apart from that, everyone on the team will stay up to date on their task statuses before such calls.

4. Adopt A Collaboration Tool

On individual projects, the team collaboration tool being used can make a huge difference. Moreover, if it is a solid collaboration platform you are in need of, then it has to be a significant consideration for the project management. Alternatively, you can set up a non-commercial team collaboration app or method. However, there are already plenty of project management related tools, both paid and free, to research and try out. Such business tools will allow you to fully collaborate through the given features and components of choice and you will no longer have to resort to a closed Facebook group.

Naturally, it takes time to find the right team collaboration app or tool, but contacting vendors and requesting demo alternatives will result in finding the one that works for your team and organisation as a whole, and maybe even your customers depending on whether or not you want them to be involved in the mutual collaboration process. At the very minimum, you want to be able to communicate, share documents and drafts through the collaborative tool. Remember that complex collaboration tools that are difficult to interact with may blow the entire communication process.

5. Structure Team Member Availability

Finally, ensure each member of your team is indeed available to work on the new project and is not currently engaged in other high priority complex tasks. It may happen so that once a project collaboration has been launched and things seem to be going quite well a given team member can find himself stretched too thin or involved in another, possibly higher priority project.

When issues arise and the main focus has been switched to the other critical project you may lose that essential asset either temporarily or even permanently. That can be so detrimental as onboarding new resources means extra costs and can sometimes come to a slowdown or pause of the process – not to mention almost immediate client’s concern as to how important their project is to your company since they are losing resources to other projects and other clients.

Summary

Excellent communication within a dedicated project team and effective collaboration is the key to most of a successful project delivery. Without good communication objectives and details will get lost or misinterpreted, deadlines will occasionally be missed, and errors will undoubtedly happen. All of these will bring your project closer to overall customer dissatisfaction and strategy failure. To avoid pending and repeating glitches get started on the right foot from the outset.

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