"Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success." — Henry Ford
The old way of working — where meetings aren't rescheduled, employees clock out at 5PM, and input only comes from select individuals — is dead. Companies are quickly recognizing that meetings can be a waste of time, mobile devices are improving productivity, and that two or more minds are often better than one.
Welcome to the world of Collaborative Work Management.
This style of work management strongly emphasizes the importance of collaboration and communication. Generally, collaboration tools are used to create a central location where all communication can be easily accessible.
Here are the six major benefits of successful collaborative work management:
1. Collaboration is possible, regardless of location
No, you don't always have to be within a 10-foot radius of one another to work together. Remote workers can be engaged too. Collaborative work management tools are great for supporting even your remote employees, including them on team projects, and tracking their productivity over time.
2. Collaborative work management tools provide a central location for communication
Rummaging through email for the latest files or trying to track down that one conversation you had about a particular project can be frustrating and time consuming. And with so many teams now dispersed across continents, virtual project management tools are essential to efficient collaboration. Having a tool that allows you to keep the latest files, comments, project requirements, goals, and deadlines all in one place eliminates the need for "search parties" and allows your team to focus on more important tasks.
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3. Increased visibility and transparency keeps stakeholders up-to-date
Having a system where all project updates are visible helps stakeholders see the latest project status at all times. This helps set expectations and gives stakeholders the opportunity to jump in if necessary. It also increases accountability among the team and allows members to go back and see if and where mistakes were made and prevent them from recurring.
4. Saves time by eliminating meetings and spreadsheet management
Because everything is documented in one tool, status updates and to-do meetings are made obsolete. By eliminating unnecessary meetings and spreadsheet updates, more time can be devoted to important decision-making and problem solving.
5. Allows for greater agility when demands change
Sometimes plans change, and that's OK. However, being prepared for it can be tricky. Collaborative work management provides flexibility to adjust plans accordingly without endangering hard deadlines. And with everyone in-the-know about changing priorities or milestones, revisions won't come as a surprise.
6. Inspires collaboration and innovation across the team
Most importantly, a culture of collaboration inspires teams to work at a new level. There are always new and refreshing ideas floating out there, and sometimes all it takes to get the ball rolling is to ask (or @mention) the person next to you.
Here are additional resources if you're interested in learning more about collaborative work management or collaboration tools:
- Collaborative work management tools: Collaboration Software for Marketing Teams: A Buyer's Guide and Forrester Vendor Landscape: Collaborative Work Management For The Enterprise
- Building collaboration: Building a Collaborative Team Environment and Eight Ways to Build Collaborative Teams
- Successful collaboration:What Makes Collaboration Actually Work in a Company?
Do you use collaborative work management techniques within your team? Tell us why or why not in the comments.