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Topics: Communications Management, Leadership, Talent Management
What is the Recipe for Collaboration?

Collaboration is easily defined and spoken to, but is often elusive in practice. How do you as a project manager elicit collaboration from your team?
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There are many techniques to increase collaboration in the team.

I suggest that you ready Collaboration: What Makes It Work

I remember the below tips from the book :
Mutual respect, understanding, and trust.
Development of clear roles and policy guidelines
Open and frequent communication.
Established informal and formal communication links
Unique purpose.

I think the clear vission and mission are enough to start the dialogue.

I think you need to start at the beginning of your relationship to build your collaboration with the team.I would also try to create an environment where collaboration is encouraged rather than a single focus on just completing their tasks.

Think collaboration starts with selection of the team. Avoid mavericks and know-it-alls. Look out for good listeners, curiosity, fearless people (there is so much more to it, e.g. look at HUMM Wadsworth).
Bring them together, enable trust, provide a vision or problem and let them loose.

Team building activity & processes. TrackMan Ladder theory.

I would expect people in this day and age to understand that the workplace at certain levels is nearly all about collaboration. On a more senior level the level of collaboration dissipates as the amount of decisions required on the direction of the business increases. In collaboration I find its about getting the right mix of people in a group that have diverse skills and approaches to be able to work with one another. If everybody is of the same type then you will find them difficult to manage in the long run. This mix or recipe can be difficult to maintain so a certain level of fine tuning is required in order to maintain the optimum balance. Setup the environment to allow ease of collaboration is important, such as open planned office, shared dinning areas, meeting spaces and communication devices is a start. Having persons at different stages in the career also is a good approach so as to allow diversity and in house coaching of junior team members. A team leader who knows what each team member is working on and how they are interacting with each individual team members. These are just a few approaches that a Project Manager could use but people will find what will work best in their own team.

Agree with Thomas and Daire's points on team make-up being an enabler or hindrance to collaboration. As project manager it's important to get the right make up on your team from the beginning with people with the technical skills who are willing to share knowledge, help others and engage with each other to solve problems. Leading by example is also key in helping foster collaboration and trust among the team.

Establishing mutual goals and benefits help create collaboration.
1 reply by Philipp Müller
Jul 22, 2019 8:20 AM
Philipp Müller
How do you establish these goals? How do you document these goals? Is there some technique or method for this?

Jul 22, 2019 8:16 AM
Replying to Eric Simms
Establishing mutual goals and benefits help create collaboration.
How do you establish these goals? How do you document these goals? Is there some technique or method for this?
1 reply by Kyle Stuckless
Jul 22, 2019 4:04 PM
Kyle Stuckless
Hello Phil,

Usually the best way to document goals are in:

Project Charter,
Project Scope Statement
Requirements Documentation

Take a look in the PMBOK Guild #6 to see the how each of the inputs, tools and techniques develop those 3 documents.

If you have any questions give me a direct email. :)

George -

I'd suggest it starts with recognizing what real collaboration is vs. just cooperation. The former implies creation of something emergent while the latter is the whole being just the sum of the parts.

Creating a culture of psychological safety within the team is a key step towards encouraging real collaboration so that folks are more willing to engage in the healthy conflict and "give & take" which collaboration requires.

1 reply by Conor Allen
Jul 22, 2019 3:58 PM
Conor Allen
I 100% agree Kiron! Very well articulated!
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