As far as remote working goes, there are a few things that are prime for achieving success. At the top of this list, is ace collaboration. The collaboration practices that your team follows are going to make or break the team.
Collaboration among the employees should be ace at every given time. This isn’t easy. From understanding the culture of the team to collaborating across varied time zones, your distributed team is bound to face some challenges. Get a complete and clear picture of what these could be and accordingly tackle them.
Challenges your team is bound to face
You will inevitably face quite a few challenges while collaborating on any project with your team, even if you feel you have solved them. At an individual level, the challenges you could face are keeping yourself motivated, dealing with isolation and also with burnout arising from continuous work. This may lead to stress and can have harmful effects on the health of an individual. Find ways to decompress and practice these daily.
At a bigger level, these challenges could be those such as problems caused due to clients who aren’t very easy to work with. Careful and planned solving of such problems when they arise, and also setting high standards on the delivery of your commitments is a must to make sure that they are eradicated early on and do not become the cause of larger and more troubling problems at a later stage.
Collaboration across time zones
When it comes to cross team collaboration, there could be issues such as time zone battles and people being left out of decisions that are important for the team. Such issues require well made plans to improve them right from the structuring of the team. Try putting people who live in similar time-zones on one part of the project, and you could also work on a not so critical component that does not require synchronous communication with people who may not be able to match their work hours.
How do you get this right?
I can not give you one way to do this. However, there are a certain set of norms you can follow to get the goal of your team. Like with all roles involving working together, you will inevitably have to collaborate on multiple components of the project. Depending on the role that you is assigned to you, this will be made of steps such as brainstorming, design, documentation, etc. and can be enhanced by using the right tools. Understanding how collaboration works in your remote team helps a lot, too. Your team may be better at collaborating through verbal communication or through written, or they may have an entire different style. It is best to find and follow a set of proven norms that work and try out new things from time to time.
Acing the communication game
A common notion across any type of collaboration, is the need for good and efficient communication. Find out the right practices for communication and implement them. How collaboration is at the top when it comes to successful teamwork, communication is top for successful collaboration. When collaborating with your remote team on any sort of a project, over communicating every little detail is going to make a huge difference in the time taken for things to get done. Since the individual level of understanding is different, make this such that every point is broken down to a simple one and you are always open for clearing any doubts.
The difference between collaboration and cooperation
Collaboration is often confused with cooperation. Cooperation and collaboration vary in the way they look at the goal. Collaboration implies that the team works together towards a common goal whereas cooperation simply means that the people in the team use common resources to achieve different goals. There are a big number of similarities and differences among the two terms. Try to know these so that you cam focus on what is more important to your team.
The above are some points on the pros of good collaboration practices when working with your team on a given project. Good collaboration practices will give not only these, but quite a few other benefits such as multiple minds working on the same thing is resulting in more creative ideas, a quicker and better inter team relations.
The right use of tools goes a long way into improving collaboration efficiency. You could check out some such as Ayoa & Conceptboard (for brainstorming), Infolio (for managing your tasks well) and FunRetro (for getting a better perspective).