Keeping your organisation agile and connected
The success of large business projects tends to rely on the input of diverse groups of people. Fostering an effective collaboration between teams with different experience and priorities is a challenge for any project leader. Misunderstandings and conflict can arise but diversity can also produce exciting and creative solutions, if the enterprise is managed with care.
A clear vision
A big project needs to have the full commitment of everyone involved if it’s to reach a successful conclusion. Clear goals and an understanding of the benefit to the organisation will help to get everyone on board from the outset. A sense of shared purpose amongst team members will go a long way to encouraging effective cooperation and establishing an atmosphere of trust, particularly as some participants may not have worked together before.
Cloud technology enables projects to draw on a much wider pool of expertise than ever before. Integrated systems allow team members to collaborate from anywhere in the world. There are numerous solutions to coordinate task management, provide access to shared data, monitor progress and enable face-to-face video conferencing. Platforms such as Salesforce, SharePoint, Google Docs, Dropbox, Skype, social networking and tailored solutions for individual organisations, all provide effective ways for staff to keep in touch and monitor progress.
The problem with expertise
Even with the right technology, a successful outcome still relies on the people who use it. The complexity of modern business often requires a team with varied knowledge and experience to work closely with one another. Ironically the qualities needed to achieve success are the same attributes that can jeopardise the entire enterprise. Confident specialists are not always eager to share their expertise and creativity, or adapt their work practices to fit in with new colleagues.
Such a group needs skilful handling to ensure everyone cooperates in an effective way. Fortunately this can be overcome in a way that will turn the project into an innovative and rewarding process with a successful outcome.
Pick the right leaders
Good project leaders need to have a lot more than technical expertise. Ideally they should pay as much attention to managing relationships as they do to the actual task. By engaging with all members of the team and taking the time to understand each person’s role, managers can encourage everyone to integrate and feel they’re an important part of the process.
Even senior executives can demonstrate their support of the project wherever possible. For example, managers at the Standard Chartered Bank (based in South Africa) regularly travel to meetings all over the world, even for minor occasions. This enables them to meet the staff and build relationships. Even in the digital age, an actual pat on the back can still motivate and encourage.
Engage the teams
Team leaders have a number of options for bringing the various project groups together. Informal workshops allow team members to meet in a relaxed setting. They can share project information and get to know everyone’s role in the process. The entire team needs to get behind the plan and regular friendly gatherings are a good way of breaking the ice and moving things forward, away from the daily pressures of the office.
Of course the project may involve collaborators from many locations globally, so face-to-face meetings will not always be possible. Proactive leaders can still arrange Skype calls, video conferencing and updates on the project blog to keep everyone on track and aware of progress.
Mentoring and coaching
Some organisations ensure that mentoring is an integral part of the company’s culture. Nokia has successfully used a system of informal coaching since its earliest days. New employees are introduced to a range of suitable colleagues whose expertise can help them to progress. The staff member then arranges regular meetings with their mentors for tutoring and general support, even if this means travelling to different locations. Consequently staff are meeting and working with a whole range of different people on a regular basis. When new projects arise, team members are already accustomed to working with a new group of experts in a friendly and productive way.
The finer points of successful team management will depend on the nature of the business, but the key points will always be the same. Careful planning, constant monitoring and regular engagement will keep everyone on track and heading in the same direction to a successful conclusion.
To learn more about how our enterprise technologies help teams collaborate and communicate effectively, get in touch today.