Lorie Vela's latest posting, The 10 Commandments of Collaboration, is a great checklist of how to achieve great collaboration. I will let you read the top 10 on her blog, but want to empasize several points she made that stood out for me:
- Different people and different rules. #2 and #3 point out that with collaborative projects, the participation and leadership skills are different. Some people who might have been effective in a command and control environment might bring the wrong types of behaviors to a collaboration project.
- Put the "tools" into context. Selection of the right tools for the project rightly deserves mention as one of the ten commandments (#5), rather than nine of the ten as we see on other lists. And then train your team in the proper use of the tools (#6). None of the tools I have seen today are completely self-teaching.
- Talk with the team members about the process and their roles -- up front, in the middle, and at the end (#4, #7, #8, #10). Collaboration is all about people, and having geographically- and functionally-dispersed teams makes it all the more important to ensure everyone is on board and contributing. Collaboration cannot become punchlist management just because there are tools to support that.
I urge you to follow her blog. It is good reading for anyone who values the importance of collaboration. I track it on Twitter, Flipboard, and my RSS reader to make sure I rarely miss a post.