Collaboration is essential in today’s business environments. It enables teams to be more productive and in time it can help fine tune the whole dynamics of the team. Empowering people through effective collaboration and communication brings huge benefits to a business.
But despite all known benefits, sometimes it can be described for some teams as “a challenge as tough as climbing the Mount Everest”. There are many reasons for this; such as the natural competition among colleagues, knowledge protection and simply personality compatibility.
In this short article, I will try to focus on 4 easy ways that teams can be nudged into fostering effective collaboration using SharePoint.
Get people involved
How would you feel, if your boss comes and says “Today you are going to start to use a new tool I dreamed of”. This is one of the biggest causes of collaboration downfall. It quickly leads to resistance (and in this case not futile). Making sure that team gets the opportunity to have their say is very important. Employees should feel that they have input into the choice or planning of such tool or change. This can go from a sit down in the planning phase or a quick email asking if they have any suggestions for the new system.
Provide a clear and simple goal
Like most things out there, one of the biggest challenges is to get started with something that is complex. SharePoint is a Swiss army’s knife platform when it comes to collaboration possibilities. It comes with tons of options that might add more confusion than simplification to someone’s busy schedule. At TeraDev our suggestion is to start with a very simple process to make it easier for team members to get involved. This could be a simple and concise solution such as a HR form or a feedback form. We helped several customers to build SharePoint collaboration solutions that started with a simple solution and then evolved to become a well-rounded collaboration tool.
Here is a quick glance to possible simple start:
• Approval workflow: The basic Approval workflow is a SharePoint feature that comes as a simple template to route a document or other item stored in a SharePoint list or library to one or more people for their approval or rejection. The workflow assigns a task to each specified participant to choose among possible responses: to approve or reject or to reassign the task, or to cancel or delete the task.
• Issue tracking list: This option is again a SharePoint feature that comes as a template. It enables tracking issues of a project, item or a department. You can assign issues to users, prioritize and track status, send alerts to help manage issues.
• HR Forms: A simple employee on-boarding form can be created in SharePoint to automatize paper forms filled when a new employee starts in a company. This would enable to store these forms in one place and the process flow among the various individuals within the company.
Make it less overwhelming
In line with the above, it is essential to keep the process clear and simple to enable team engagement. Even SharePoint features like check-out, check-in, version history and so on might be avoided for teams that are not familiar with collaboration. Generally, keeping collaboration workspaces clean and single-minded will give better results when it comes to getting teams involved.
Make it yours
Invest in ensuring that the tools you put at your team’s disposal are actually aligned with the team dynamics and objectives. Rather than making it too generic, adapt the solution to the closest possible to the team business process.
For example, a sales team that is responsible for sending out proposals might have a business approval step where a senior account manager approves the proposal before it is submitted to a customer. In this case, a possible way to improve collaboration is to build a SharePoint collaboration workspace that pivots around the approval steps among senior account managers. This has several benefits including clarity in accountability and ownership.
If you are looking for more guidance please contact us.
31 Dec 2016