The most successful companies are often those with their fingers in many pies. Keeping plenty of projects on the go at once is an excellent way to mitigate risk and boost productivity. It’s also a tricky balancing act that can involve multiple teams.
You might find yourself managing a remote team alongside the workers in your office. It could be that you must blend workers from different departments. Either on-site or remotely. Even with the best intentions, when this occurs, things can get messy. Poor communication and a lack of transparency can result. That, in turn, may lead to tensions and, ultimately, disappointing results.
It’s by fostering more robust cross-team collaboration that you can meet those challenges. Give your team – or teams – the right mindset and the correct tools, and the results will delight you. The following are six tips that will help you on the way to cooperation that will lead to stellar projects.
6 Tips for Executing Stellar Projects
No business department can – or should – exist in a vacuum. Most significant projects need input from different areas of your firm to succeed. What you don’t want are silos in your business. They prevent separate departments from working together efficiently. The following tips will help you break down barriers and achieve a new level of cross-team collaboration.
1. Make Leadership Roles and Functions Clear From the Start
Effective leadership is a perpetual challenge when bringing people together from diverse departments. The chains of command that workers are used to will often no longer apply. At the outset of any project, then, you must define the leadership and team structure.
Make sure everyone in the team understands one another’s functions and responsibilities. That way, each member will know who to collaborate with on each element of the project. What’s more, it’s essential everyone knows who’s in charge and where the buck for the project stops.
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There is a lot to consider when choosing project leaders. You need to give positions of responsibility to trustworthy colleagues—those who have strong communication skills. Creativity, too, is an often-underappreciated aspect of good leadership.
Whoever you trust to run a project, make sure they stay on top of their team. Managers must attend as many project meetings as possible to keep on top of progress throughout. They need to be your conduit to the group or groups working on the assignment.
2. Connect the Teams
Even when working on the same project, staff from different departments may get tempted to do their own thing. Many may feel that they can handle their part of the task and leave the rest to others. That’s not a recipe for effective collaboration. You need to make sure project teams get enough face-to-face time.
That doesn’t necessarily mean arranging physical meetings. It’s possible to be productive in video meetings, via IM, or by email. What’s critical, though, is that your team has the necessary tools. It’s your responsibility to provide these and to ensure everyone knows how to use them.
That might mean introducing a video conferencing solution and training staff on it. It may mean giving your organization access to a tool to manage your files online. The precise tech stack you’ll need will depend on your business. What you’re looking for, though, are any tools that aid collaboration. That’s no matter where your team members are.
3. Establish the Goals and Processes
The first stage of planning a project should be to establish its goals. That’s the only way of ensuring your team stay focused and on track throughout. Once you’ve defined ultimate objectives, you can break them down into the goals of each team member.
The benefit of giving individual targets to each of your colleagues is two-fold. First, it demonstrates how their work will contribute to the success of the project. That helps to build employee engagement and a sense of ownership of the project. Second, having goals to aim at aids motivation.
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With clear objectives in place, you can also better define processes. These are the ways in which team members must work to build towards the project targets. Clear and transparent processes are essential. It builds trust within the team and makes it simpler to onboard a new team member, if necessary.
4. Centralize Technology
Few things have changed the world of work in recent decades more than advances in technology. From the cloud to the Internet of Things (IoT) and video calls to screen sharing, tech has transformed how we work.
Even more straightforward projects often involve multiple pieces of software or other tech tools. It can be easy for your team members to feel overwhelmed. This is especially so if they’re working on many tasks and collaborating with diverse colleagues. You must make things as easy and intuitive as possible.
Once you’ve built a portfolio of tools for collaboration, ensure team members know which to use when. You could even create a centralized knowledge base showing the solutions and when to use them. For instance, you could point workers to an IM solution for quick questions. You may suggest a conference call via a different tool, meanwhile, for a more in-depth chat.
5. Cheer on Your Teammates
So far, so practical. We’ve covered giving your team the correct tools. We’ve also touched on processes and structures that will aid cross-team collaboration. It’s critical as well to understand, though, that your teams are made up of people.
There’s a vital human element to fostering better cooperation and, thus, productivity. Teams with a high level of morale are more engaged and more productive. It’s not rocket science to encourage greater employee engagement, either. Simply recognizing and celebrating achievement can make a profound difference.
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When a team member meets a target or makes a breakthrough, recognize it. Share their achievement with the whole team and celebrate together. That will foster an attitude of mutual respect and encouragement. Everyone will root for one another to succeed. That’s the heart and soul of a happy and productive team.
6. Keep Your Options Open
We’ve talked a lot about the challenges of cross-team collaboration. It’s essential also to consider the benefits. When you bring together a team with different skills, the potential for new ideas is profound. You might find a whole new way of working that can propel your project to untold heights.
A member of your tech team, for instance, could suggest a way to leverage AI to improve efficiency. A marketing pro, meanwhile, could spot a whole new target audience for your product. All you need to do is to remain open to these novel ideas.
As crucial as processes are, don’t neglect innovation. Give genuine consideration to your team’s ideas for new ways to work. You might find a diamond of a tactic that could make all the difference to your productivity. Even if you don’t, giving team members a proper hearing will further aid morale.
Keep Your Team Engaged & Reap the Rewards
Technology plays a vital role in streamlining collaboration. Equipping teams with the right tools is a crucial part of enabling cross-team cooperation. It’s not the only element involved in executing stellar projects, however.
Ultimately, you’re looking to produce the right environment to foster productivity. Tech plays its part, but so does assisting in employee engagement and team morale. Combine all those things effectively, and your projects will reach a new level.