How to Effectively Collaborate on a Project

Yen Lim
Former Chief Product Officer

Stop, collaborate and listen.

You said it Vanilla Ice! If you’re reading this post, you’re probably looking for some tips on how to effectively collaborate on projects with your team. Good news. You’ve stumbled onto the right place.

Whatever project or task management platform you might be using, there are a few common tips for effective project collaboration within a team.

1. Have a project owner

Not just any project owner, but one that’s organized, good at planning, communication and understands the importance of keeping the team up to date. Their job is to set tasks and goals, get everyone on the same page and of course manage the delivery of projects all while not over complicating matters so people can actually get on with completing their work. They also need to be able to find the right balance of ensuring team members know what they’re doing and when as well as what’s coming up. At the same time, they need to make sure that other key stakeholders who need to have visibility over different workflows are kept in the loop.

If everyone is working in their own little world without communication, someone to capture tasks, actions and the outcomes of discussions, then nothing will come together as expected. Therefore, the key to effectively collaborate on projects begins with making sure you’ve got the right person owning the project.

2. Keep discussions open, constructive and thoughtful

It’s easy to get carried away in the hype of a new idea and potentially miss some obvious issues or dependencies that could slow down the project. Make sure there is a clear understanding of what problem you’re trying to solve, but equally importantly ‘why’. Therefore, it helps to get the right people together to assess the execution objectively.

This means that those involved in a project need to feel comfortable that they’re in the type of environment where they can share their thoughts and have open discussions. Constructive feedback can only exist in the task management process if possible solutions are brought to the table versus simply presenting problems without any further input. So, encourage focus on outcomes and for your team to provide solutions rather than just problems. Ideas tend to spark other others and before you know it, you’ll get your issues sussed out.

3. Use applications that suit your team’s needs

Adopt the type of project or task management platform that makes it straightforward for you and your team to get jobs done.

You want a platform that allows you to:

  • manage projects with ease

  • favorite or follow projects

  • create and view tasks

  • assign tasks to people

  • add descriptions, due dates, attachments, tags and comments

  • copy or move tasks between projects

Your chosen application should also give each member the option to receive notifications and project reminders  as they help to keep your team up to date even when they might not be logged into the application.

4. Make meetings meaningful

We’ve all been there before. Someone has organized a meeting, it’s dragging on for way too long and you’re sitting there wondering why on earth you’re even there when you’re not adding anything to the meeting or worse, getting anything useful out of it. You’re thinking to yourself about all that work you could actually be doing instead. Time is precious. People have deadlines to meet so when meetings are scheduled, it’s imperative that they’re actually productive and don’t drag on. Don’t have meetings for the sake of having meetings.

It’s important for team members to know who is working on what and when things need to be done by. So when you’re meeting to plan projects or to get progress updates on projects, make sure the right people are there that actually need to be there. Set expectations and keep discussions on track. Have meetings when it actually makes sense to like when it’s simply easier to discuss matters face to face in a group setting. Other updates can be done via your team’s communication tool of choice. At PredictHQ, we love Slack. If someone can’t be present for a meeting, make sure that there is someone in your team like your project owner who updates them about the important stuff.

5. Understand the “purpose”

No one likes to work on something where they don’t see the purpose of doing what they’re doing. Individuals need to not only have awareness of the value in their roles and contribution, but to also recognize the value of their other team members too – however specialist or junior they may be. If each member of the team is working towards the common purpose and understands how delivering the project and achieving goals impacts the business then you’ll get much more effective collaboration. Better yet, if the purpose delivers results, then share these results with the team. Seeing something come to fruition and have it deliver tangible benefits is immensely satisfying for all involved.

Those are just five tips that our team at PredictHQ abide by when it comes to project collaboration.