The Batting Order Of Collaboration

With baseball season having just officially started, you’re probably thinking about what lineup your favorite team will set this year to perform best. The scrappy, quick-thinker should lead off. The heavy-hitting influencers take the plate mid-way through. The finishers are positioned at the end to cap off our efforts. But are we talking about baseball or a project management team?

Project management is an age-old process that has its perks on the surface. In theory, ideas come together, production is seamless, and the final product is near perfection. But just like a World Series ring for the Chicago Cubs, it’s more of a pipe dream. Unless, of course, the enterprise can focus on a new way to collaborate, implementing an ethos that takes social and turns it into productivity. Today, we are noticing a need for a new form of collaboration, one that fosters transparency and gives each player equal footing to provide bright ideas and assist in producing high quality products. When executed properly, this new batting order of collaboration has great positive effects on enterprise efforts.

A New Form Of PPM

In what’s been seen as a very traditional practice, project management still has its place in business. How else can tasks be completed in an organized fashion while maintaining a close eye on budgets, timing, resources, etc.? But as social features come into play, many organizations are finding that loose conversations are disconnected from the real flow of tasks and projects that are the lifeblood of productivity. Team managers need to connect those unstructured conversations with a structured process, so productivity can become again the main focus.

Encouraging collaboration and having many team members offer input results in creative ideas and more efficient implementation. The batting order no longer reads off from 1 to 9. Instead all players are adding their own touch and finesse at various points of the process to create high quality output. As consumers, we’ve become accustomed to real-time updates and conversations. By incorporating changes like this into our ecosystems, team members can collaborate more often and efficiently, meet deadlines, and most importantly, produce better results within budget.

Tying Social To Collaboration

Popular consumer social networks like Facebook and Twitter are building social graphs and laying the groundwork for lively, active networks. In the enterprise, there are attempts for this same experience, but many solutions are failing. Some slump as a result of user adoption, while others hit a wall as conversations lead to overwhelming content, disorganization and no direction. The features themselves sound like a good idea – but what does ROI look like? It’s hard to show a connection of conversations to real value.

Companies must turn to means that deliver the entire process from start to finish. By managing all moving parts, from idea creation straight through implementation, this keeps end users happy and efficient. Random social engagement (that is normally found in popular social networking channels) can instead be transferred into actionable items, acting as a catalyst for improved ideas and actual execution. Connecting these conversations to tangible tasks translates into met goals. This level playing field allows all team members to be successful with each project they face.

The Game Ahead

We’re at a point where businesses must reevaluate how they approach project management and collaborative efforts. Does a chronological system make sense or do your initiatives value added input? If the latter, how are you promoting transparency and creative contribution throughout the process? It’s time for software companies to adjust to the social changes we have been seeing in recent years. It’s time to take these social features and tie them back to the workflow. Put the right tools and work culture in place to embrace real-time, widespread collaboration and don’t get lost amidst the many conversations taking place. Most importantly, always stay focused on the bottom line - getting work done.

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