The key elements that make up a great team collaboration
All team collaborations have similar basic elements that are required for success, whether it is just between 2 people in an informal collaboration or a team with many individuals created for a large multi-organizational project. The basic key elements of a great team collaboration are: collective knowledge of team members’ communication method preferences, collective understanding of roles and responsibilities for all team members combined with clear decision-making processes, established and collectively understood project timelines, milestones and expected products, accessible processes for conflict resolution and shared technical and/or methodological processes.
Types of Objectives
Working in any team collaboration requires balancing multiple objectives. There are usually constraints of some kind, time and/or money being the most common, that necessitate making choices between which objectives take precedence or receive more resources at any given time. For any individual working in a team collaboration, there are similar prioritization decisions being made, and balancing these types of objectives is critical for our healthy and productive contributions to any team collaboration.
The most common competing types of objectives that all of us have to balance are:
Team collaboration is the default operating system for humanity. If you dig into the history of any widely acclaimed historical or contemporary figure (scientist, politician, business leader, etc.) you will find in the vast majority of cases that their work and contributions could only have been produced with the support and assistance of other people, often in clearly defined teams. These team collaborations can be very diverse, including being completely informal or formalized in an institutional structure, may always consist of the same individuals or have frequently changing membership, and may operate for years or minutes. The common factors are that there are goals to be achieved, and that people are working together to achieve those goals.
The vast majority of work environments operate in team collaborations in some form or another. In some industries and organizations, these teams are very clearly defined and formally structured, with hierarchies, titled team leaders, and rigid processes that determine how individuals operate and advance in the team. Other industries and organizations have much less defined and formalized team environments, with teams assembled to achieve a single purpose, but individuals in them still work with other individuals in teams to achieve goals, whether it is called that or not.
For this series of 8 articles, I will focus on team collaborations in the workplace, and specifically on how to navigate any team from a non-leadership position. A lot of emphasis is placed on team leaders, and consequently many resources exist to support them. However, there are many more team members without specific leadership roles than there are team leaders in the world, and their role in the team is just as vital and influential for achieving project goals. More importantly, everyone deserves to work in a healthy team environment, and everyone can contribute to and work towards making that a reality for themselves and others.
Over the next 8 weeks, starting today and released weekly on Monday, I will discuss: