Group Collaboration

Learn how to build a collaborative environment to improve group collaboration.

Explore Team Collaboration Software

Group collaboration happens when two or more people work together with equal participation, share insights and solutions, and offer their unique skills and expertise in order to achieve a common goal.

More than just pooling resources to accomplish a task, collaboration in the workplace entails a shared sense of purpose in which team members recognize the importance of their participation and the value of working together toward a greater good.

Purpose is a highly important factor in successful collaboration.

Properly motivated, the shared goal of attaining a common objective – whether it is solving a problem, creating a new product, or delivering a project – can fuel each member’s passion and determination to make a meaningful contribution to the overall team performance.

Group collaboration in the workplace

In the modern workplace, collaboration does not always have to be done face to face. Advanced technology has changed the way teams collaborate to a degree where remote collaboration tools have proven to be just as productive and sometimes, even more efficient in bringing together teams working from different locations and time zones. Using these technologies, both team leaders and members have access to the same information from anywhere in the world.

In companies with a widely-distributed workforce, the use of video conferencing and project management tools are no longer just “good to have,” but are now basic requirements in managing successful teams.

The impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has also redefined our traditional concept of a “workplace” and contributed greatly to the pressing need to upgrade skills and technologies for groups working remotely.

Benefits of group collaboration

When an organization encourages group collaboration, they allow team members an opportunity to discover new findings, as well as share their own ideas. Bound by a common goal, they are inspired by being part of something bigger than themselves. Given clearly defined roles, they understand and appreciate each other’s uniqueness and develop greater respect for diversity. More importantly, a well-managed group collaboration effort develops teamwork and camaraderie among colleagues.

Other benefits to collaborating in the workplace include:
  • Accelerated growth and innovation through the sharing of ideas
  • Problem-solving at a faster pace
  • Gaining access to the unique talents and expertise of each team member
  • Developing new skills and knowledge that can be shared to their own units
  • Work efficiency through the distributed efforts of specialized teams
  • Greater understanding of how the organization operates as a whole

Collaboration in the time of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to unprecedented measures imposed by governments around the world in their attempt to limit the spread of the virus. With various restrictions enforced on traveling, gathering in large groups, and other constraints that affect business as usual, a growing number of companies have begun rethinking their ways of working. Most industries that can accommodate distributed workplaces have encouraged or mandated their employees to work remotely in order to protect their health while continuing to keep critical work on track.

As they prepare for further business disruption, many organizations are pressed to review their work processes and seriously consider the use of new technologies that can give their virtual workforce a competitive advantage.

While we are not going into the details of remote collaboration, suffice it to say that in reality, project management issues are generally the same, whether you are working in person or online. The challenge lies in harnessing your team’s previous and current experiences in reimagining how group collaboration can be made more flexible in adapting to the new normal.

Building a collaborative environment

Group collaboration is the building block not only of project management, but of entire organizational operations. Building a supportive environment for collaboration is necessary, not only within teams but in every section of the company.

Here are some best practices that can help members of any organization develop a collaborative mindset:

1. Develop trust-based relationships

According to an article published by the Center for Creative Leadership, trust is critical to team success. "When trust is present," they wrote, "people step forward and do their best work, together, efficiently. They align around a common purpose, take risks, think outside of the box, have each other’s backs, and communicate openly and honestly." On the contrary, the absence of trust creates an environment where people "jockey for position, hoard information, play it safe, and talk about — rather than to — one another."

Similarly, Forbes Magazine maintained that trust matters on teams because it: (1) builds psychological safety; (2) encourages questioning; (3) creates goodwill and minimizes miscommunications; (4) encourages innovation and rapid decision-making; and, (5) enhances morale. Each of these outcomes play an important part in building a collaborative culture.

2. Leaders set the pace

Good team leaders are more than just proficient task managers. Strong leadership enables and empowers group collaboration. Leaders model collaborative behaviors by their own example. They inspire and support collaboration within and between teams. They make sure that expectations for group collaboration are clearly communicated and encourage individual commitment to collective efforts.

3. Communicate common goals with clarity and persuasion

You know how the highlight of most action movies is usually the part where the hero gathers his troops and gets them all excited with an electrifying monologue? Motivating teams is a bit like that, but with less drama. The point is, every effective team needs to be inspired by something bigger than themselves. The more compelling the goal, the easier it is to convince everyone to rally behind it and make it happen. For best results, make sure that your goal is measurable, realistic, and can produce achievable wins.

4. Define roles and set expectations from the onset

In a collaborative environment, it is important for all members to know the roles and responsibilities they hold within the team, individually and collectively. These functions should be communicated to them at the onset of the project, then reviewed and assessed periodically moving forward. They need to have a clear understanding of their position and how the quality of their performance affects everybody else down the line -- conveying the importance of both individual accountability and shared responsibility.

5. Provide the right tools for collaboration

Building a collaborative environment does not only require a clear goal and well-defined expectations. The team also needs a platform that allows them to communicate ideas and share their work status in real time. Project management tools not only provide a hub for group collaboration and communication, it also helps teams deal with repetitive tasks faster. Moreover, the ability to interact with each other at any time keeps everyone engaged and focused on their common goal.

Keep teams aligned with project collaboration software

One way of effectively bringing your team together and keeping them on the same page is by using a project management tool that unifies and aligns distributed teams in real time.

A powerful and agile project collaboration software like Mavenlink can add context to tasks, create actionable insights, track project performance, and have all project-based collaboration done in a centralized platform for maximum efficiency.

With Mavenlink, you can set workflows, communicate with your teams to improve operations, create role-based permissions, control assignments through task management, and scale with growth throughout the entire project lifecycle.

Mavenlink also supports governed collaboration with features that enable private and public communications, and granular permission settings to control what each project member can see and do, all within the project flow. These capabilities help keep your resources engaged, efficient, and informed for a higher rate of project success.

You can even extend this exceptional visibility to clients by inviting them to collaborate on projects, helping your team gain valuable customer insights to solve problems and make informed decisions collectively.

Dynamic group collaboration results in healthier communication between all roles and levels within your organization, which in turn improves business processes and operations.

And with Mavenlink M-Bridge -- the industry’s only OpenAPI-based, services-centric integration platform -- you can easily connect and extend your tech stack with other collaborative communication apps like Slack, Salesforce Chatter, and JIRA.

Connecting employees and clients for greater success

Dedicated to helping companies improve their compliance management solutions, Donesafe needed a project management software that allowed their business to continue the rapid growth that had outpaced existing systems. In particular, one that delivered transparent communication between the company and their clients in order to keep projects on track.

Donesafe wanted to make sure that project scope and customer expectations were aligned so that clients received the service they needed. With Mavenlink, Donesafe switched from using emails to implementing project collaboration tools that provide a single source of truth to help execute projects successfully.

"The collaboration is awesome, clients are raving about it," said Kirsty Graham, Head of Enterprise Solutions. "We provide them with clear tasks and timeframes for projects and use Mavenlink’s reporting features to reprioritize and respond to any risks or budget concerns that arise during a project."

Aside from using Mavenlink’s project management system on a company-wide level, all Donesafe clients are now using Mavenlink for group collaboration, enabling the company to consistently deliver projects on time, on track, and on budget.

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