Development is becoming more and more of a team effort. Collaboration is key to not only communication but to the entire life of a product. Without working together, teams will find themselves behind the competition and, even worse, their deadlines.
Of course, collaboration is much more than simply working with other people. “If people are working together, but have no shared goals, they are cooperating, not collaborating” (Freed). If a team wants to make progress toward a specific goal, they must all want to achieve that goal, or any effort will likely be split in several directions, and efficiency will decrease. How often has a team begun working on a project only to find themselves with many half-done features instead of a fully-fleshed out product?
Here are some hallmarks of collaboration. Note that these are not requirements, just attributes to look for when trying to improve collaboration (AIIM):
- Awareness – We become part of a working entity with a shared purpose
- Motivation – We drive to gain consensus in problem solving or development
- Self-synchronization – We decide as individuals when things need to happen
- Participation – We participate in collaboration, and we expect others to participate
- Mediation – We negotiate, and we collaborate together and find a middle point
- Reciprocity – We share, and we expect sharing in return through reciprocity
- Reflection – We think, and we consider alternatives
- Engagement – We proactively engage rather than wait and see
In summary, collaboration is when “two or more people are working together towards shared goals” (Freed).
Freed, Ephraim. “What Collaboration Really Means.” ThoughtFarmer, OpenRoad, 15 Mar. 2018, www.thoughtfarmer.com/blog/what-collaboration-really-means/.
“What Is Collaboration?” What Does That Mean?, AIIM, www.aiim.org/What-is-Collaboration.