Effective Collaboration Arrow

I’ve been thinking recently about effective collaboration, the move from email and how some projects in the same organisation with the same tools manage collaboration better than others.

I came up with this very basic diagram, so what am I trying to say?

Personal Willingness : Without personal buy in to collaborate beyond email effective collaboration is limited to email, and for some things that will work fine but the bigger the team collaborating on a project the less effective the collaboration.

Team Willingness : If the team won’t adopt your ground-rules on collaboration, and I always like projects which start with some ground-rulesr to guide people, then you are again doomed to less effective collaboration.  If the team, and the people within the team, are willing to embrace the ground-rulesr and utilise the available tools then you are 90% there.

Enterprise Culture : You’ll note I gave this a small blob.  My experience is that if the team and the individuals are willing then irrespective of the corporate culture you’ll see a pocket of excellence in terms of collaboration from projects adopting collaborative working practices.

Enterprise technology : I thought about the wording here and left it as enterprise technology.  However what I really mean is anything that the team adopts to perform their work.  That could be an enterprise tool or it could be a SaaS which one the the team expensed.  I do however feel that we need to give a strong value to the technology and accept that although the early stages require personal and team willingness to collaborate the further you move along the effective collaboration arrow the more you are relying on technology.

My opinion is thus that with personal and team willingness to collaborate the negative effect of any corporate culture is neutralised.  With positive promotion of collaboration by enterprise cultures then you’ll generally see a more healthy mix of technologies available to the teams and individuals.  I’d be interested in readers thoughts and experiences.

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  1. I still feel that software, and in some instances hardware, is required to fill the void between email and effective collaboration. At that point it comes down to you trusting the people supplying your advice.


  2. Trust. Very good point. IT being the “black science” that it is to many non-technical managers, (misplaced?) trust is about the only thing they have to base decisions on. This unfortunately makes them easy prey to unscrupulous practitioners, or those simply unable or unwilling to admit they are over their head.


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