Why Collaboration Is the Key to Building Better Products

Professional Development

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It’s no secret that working together in a team to achieve one common goal leads to a smoother and faster process. After all, two minds are always better than one, wouldn’t you agree?

Just as it sounds, collaboration is a practice that brings together the whole team to achieve a specific goal. Working in a collaborative environment opens the doors to creating a product that offers real value in a fast and efficient manner and maintains a strong team. Essentially, this practice can significantly enhance the group as a whole and will enable them to create highly successful products. Although this practice is very natural and clear, surprisingly, it’s still far from the norm in most organizations.

Here are a few reasons why collaboration is a critical component in creating better products—and better employees.

Brings alignment

To collaborate successfully, individuals must come to the table with their own fully developed skills such as motivation, organization, engagement, and so on. Only then can they can use them effectively alongside their peers to create a value-added product.

Working in a collaborative team doesn’t necessarily mean that you will agree with everyone at all times. Because of this it’s important to establish ground rules and clearly define the collaborative process within your team. Once the team is aligned, then peers can come together to ideate, generate ideas, and hold feedback sessions, to learn where to improve and how to solve issues together.

This practice opens up an individuals ability to communicate with each other and their end users. Ultimately, collaborative teams that listen to each other are more likely to create products that are functional, reliable, and usable.

Increases productivity

Have you ever found yourself in a creative slump? Being unable to propel your work forwards is not only wasteful but, can drive anyone crazy.  Share unfinished work with a fresh set of eyes is a surefire way of getting out of a slump and finalizing the product.

At the end of the day, you want to have the product in the end user’s hands as fast as possible. Therefore, collaborating with others not only provides you with the opportunity to think in another way but also, gain critique and feedback that will help you let go of your internal struggles, and prevent your work from going off the rails. Tools such as Slack, Trello, and Dropbox are great collaborative tools that help keep teams in the loop at all times. They facilitate swift and secure communication to help organizations address the issues they need openly and directly.

It should come as no surprise that exposing your work to critique won’t be easy, but in the long run, it’ll be beneficial to your product and its overall success.

Removes roadblocks

From culture to internal politics to capabilities, your employees are all different. When it comes to collaborating, they may not agree on all issues. This can create roadblocks that may negatively impact your momentum. If you want collaboration to happen in a team, you can’t just expect it to happen—or force it!

To ensure there is no friction between the team, it’s essential to build trust between all members. This will help when it comes to initiatives such as breaking down silos, driving engagement, facilitating change, and fostering collaboration. Finding a way to form strong employee relationships is essential to collaboration success. Once you have a strong collaborative team, the creation process will become a whole lot smoother.

How to create a collaborative environment for your team

There are countless ways to build a collaborative culture in your company. Here are the most important initiatives to develop the best environment for creativity:

Become a role model

Motivate your employees to participate in a collaborative culture by demonstrating the behavior you’d like to see with company leaders and executives. It’s essential to walk the walk and not just talk the talk. The key is to try to open communication on all levels so that your employees understand all that you are trying to achieve and they feel comfortable sharing their ideas.

Define ground rules

All members of your team won’t always see eye to eye. It’s essential to establish norms and define good behavior to clearly demonstrate how your organization should conduct themselves. Ground rules will enable individual members to learn from each other and express important things without it disturbing the overall work culture and project.

Facilitate communication

Efficient communication is key for a truly successful collaborative environment. Develop a communication strategy that scales for your team, whether it be sending out notifications to all team members via Slack or holding regular meetings to address operational issues.

Build trust

Open communication can nurture a collaborative culture. Consider team building events to drive relationships based on trust. If your budget doesn’t allow for an elaborate event, something as simple as stepping away from your desks to take lunch will really make all the difference when it comes to forming stronger relationships within the team.

Organize

Without order, it’s impossible to maintain a collaborative culture. Ensure all operations and processes are running smoothly and, if needed, enlist the help of a project management platform such as Trello. A tool such as this will facilitate the quick sharing of documents, open communication, and ensure every team member is on the same page at all times.

Collaboration as a strategy

When it comes down to it, collaboration helps individuals think outside the box, open communication to others, align around a common purpose, and work honestly. By turning to others, your team will be able to deliver more successful products with a high value to the end-users, thereby, satisfying their needs in a faster and more efficient manner.

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