Collaboration is essentially the act of two or more individuals, institutions, or organizations collaborating together to attain a common goal or accomplish a project. It is like a community where all the members work towards a common outcome. Most collaboration is characterized by open communication, though the actual form of collaboration may also be organizational, political, confessional, or communal. Collaboration has become a vital component of contemporary life and an increasing number of organizations are recognizing its importance.
Collaboration occurs in many types of organizations. For instance, groups of doctors, professors, students, or workers may collaborate on projects undertaken by a single supervisor. Normally, a supervisor makes the first contact with the other members of the collaboration. He takes the responsibility for ensuring that objectives and goals are being pursued and also checking that standards of behavior and confidentiality of individuals are being maintained. Collaboration in all forms is often described as a mutual process and it involves more than merely communicating with each other.
Collaboration within organizations is increasingly recognized as an important way of managing work and improving productivity. In fact, it has become common practice for senior managers to personally oversee the completion of major projects. Sometimes this results in conflict between colleagues, especially when project deadlines are missed. This tends to increase staff stress and absenteeism. A major problem in most organizations is that there is rarely any internal procedure for coordinating the completion of various tasks within workgroups and departmental structures. This creates a situation where several employees attempt to accomplish the same work, often with little coordination or guidance from senior management.
In order to solve these problems, some project managers are beginning to use collaborative software programs. Collaboration software allows for the creation of workgroups within an organization. Within these groups, employees are required to co-operate and work together on the completion of the project. Projects are generally assigned to individuals following the completion of a project plan and goals.
A collaborative application will allow for the sharing of documents and information between multiple users. Employees can communicate via e-mail within the group, as well as with each other through chat. One drawback to this type of collaboration is that collaboration does require knowledge and expertise in certain areas. Therefore, not all types of businesses may be able to benefit from this type of technology.
Information sharing is another facet of collaboration. When multiple individuals take part in a project, multiple pieces of information are produced. However, many business owners believe that this is counterproductive when it comes to collaboration. Collaboration entails that individuals share information, and therefore, to share information means that one person shares all of the information. Sharing is never negative. It is always positive, as it creates a group effort towards the achievement of a shared goal.
Collaboration within an organization is an important component of project management. When multiple people within an organization work on a shared project, the outcomes may not be as optimal as if every person worked individually. Collaboration provides for the efficient transfer of information within the organization. Individuals who work in isolation will not have access to important information; whereas, those who participate in group collaboration will have access to and be involved in the process of reaching that objective.
Collaboration within organizations is a tool that has proven successful in project management. Within a collaborative environment, project teams are able to make informed decisions, meet milestones, and reach important goals. Although collaboration within an organization may not always be positive, it does promote positive communication and results in effective project management.