If your project team or entire organization is still having issues with team collaboration and/or your platform of choice, it's time to make New Year's resolutions about how your team collaborates and uses a collaboration platform. These resolutions can give you the extra push to implement the necessary changes to help make collaboration an integral element of team collaboration, project management, and communications. Here are sample resolutions you can make for 2014.
1: Decentralize the management and administration of the collaboration platform
Centralized management over collaboration platforms can be a pain point, so analyze ways that your organization can decentralize platform management and move management out to the team and departments. If you choose to decentralize management over your collaboration platform, it's important to provide the following support:
- Train site administrators/managers to ensure they understand the administrative tools and other features; and
- Create policies and procedures for decentralized site management, including the line where IT support ends and where the team supporting itself begins; and
- Provide feedback channels — either an internal forum or a working group — where administrators/site managers from across the organization can learn from one another.
2: Centralize team task management in the cloud
If important tasks are falling through the cracks, your team may want to centralize task management; this is a form of collaboration in which when team members can follow, favorite, and comment on tasks. Collaboration platforms such as Huddle and SharePoint include task management features. If your team wants to move to more social task management, good choices are Asana and Producteev (reviewed here); both solutions are free and include robust iPhone apps.
3: Establish and follow an enterprise collaboration plan
Collaboration platforms need a plan to prosper. My TechRepublic article entitled What to include in an enterprise collaboration plan presents some elements you can put into an enterprise collaboration plan for your organization.
4: Move one email-based workflow to the collaboration platform
In 2014, you should move at least one email-based workflow to your collaboration platform. Based on the success of that move, you can plan to move other email workflows to the platform depending on your team's needs.
An easy candidate for this resolution is a technical document review. Emailing documents back and forth amongst writers, editors, and reviewers can risk document versioning. Huddle and SharePoint Online have workflow features that enable you to set up simple workflows without the need of a programmer, ensuring everyone who has access to the document is working from the same version.
5: Move one group communication from email to the collaboration platform
Whether it is your office phone list, a new benefits announcement, or an important project kickoff document that you usually email to employees, you should start posting these communications on your platform's main page or social stream. Everyone will benefit from having this information in one spot.
6: Make collaboration more social
In 2013, the integration between enterprise social networks and collaboration platforms took off. For instance, Office 365 took a few steps closer to integration with Yammer, and Huddle launched integration with tibbr.
When you bring your collaboration platform together with enterprise social technologies, it can also be a subtle tool to move your organization or project team away from email inboxes.
7: Integrate your platform with Microsoft Office
One of the most underutilized features in some collaboration platforms is getting Microsoft Office users to save and check out documents from the platform. For example, Microsoft Office users can save documents directly from an application to SharePoint using the Share Option in the File menu (Microsoft Office 2011 Mac), Save & Send in the File menu (Office 2010), and Save As option (Office 2013).
Another example is Huddle for Mac and Huddle for Windows add-ins that enable users to open and edit documents directly from Huddle.
Teaching users to use these methods will help with productivity and security over your team's documents.
8: Change collaboration platforms
If your current platform isn't reaching its potential or budget cuts are threatening your on-premise SharePoint farm, then resolve to change collaboration platforms in the new year. Office 365, Huddle, Glip, Wrike, and Teambox offer a free trial period so you can test the platform features to see if they meet your requirements.
New Year's resolutions for team collaboration are about improving your team's productivity and perhaps even getting more of a return on investment from the collaboration platform your organization already has in place but is growing cobwebs.
Also read on TechRepublic
- Use Wrike for project collaboration with third parties
- Take collaboration internal again with Teambox On-Premise
- Move from collaborations to conversations with Glip
- Seven important Asana integrations for project teams
- Manage projects on your iPad with LiquidPlanner
- Huddle vs. SharePoint: A comparative analysis in three collaboration scenarios
Note: ZDNet and TechRepublic are CBS Interactive properties.
Will Kelly is a freelance technical writer and analyst currently focusing on enterprise mobility, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), and the consumerization of IT. He has also written about cloud computing, Big Data, virtualization, project management applications, Google Apps, Microsoft technologies, and online collaboration for TechRepublic and other sites. Will also works as a contract technical writer for clients in the Washington, DC area and nationwide. Follow Will on Twitter: @willkelly.