A Guide to Project Team Collaboration

Successful project management relies on team collaboration.

 

Collaboration refers to two or more people working together to achieve a goal and typically ends in a deliverable or product.

Collaboration is becoming more embedded in how we work, particularly as teams and organizations move to remote working.

In this guide, you’ll learn more about the importance of collaboration for your projects and essential skills for collaboration.

You’ll also see how to leverage SharePoint for project team collaboration, with examples from the BrightWork Marketing Team.

This guide is supported by two free resources from BrightWork.

For teams using SharePoint, our free project management template is an ideal way to connect and collaborate using the suggestions in Chapter Two.

Collaborative Project Management: A Handbook was written by BrightWork CEO, Éamonn McGuinness, to share advice on collaboration, leadership, and project management. The content in Chapter Three is based on extracts from the book.

What we’ll cover

1. What is Collaboration? 
2. How to Collaborate with SharePoint 
3. Creating the Right Team Environment 
4. Next Steps: REP

Collaborative Project Management: A Handbook

Help your team to work and grow together

1. What is Collaboration? 

 
As explained above, collaboration refers to two or more people working together to solve a problem.

 

This may sound like teamwork, but there are notable differences between a team and collaboration.

Collaboration 

  • Brings together people with different skills and experiences to solve a problem or work on a project.
  • Everyone involved is united behind a common goal and authority is shared.
  • Collaboration takes place in teams; however, it’s a distinct way of working.

Team

  • A team is a group of people with similar skills who regularly work together.
  • Typically, one person makes key decisions.
  • Teams take several forms including cross-functional teams, virtual teams, and self-managed teams.

Collaboration is becoming more embedded in how we work. According to the 2017 WorkPlace Productivity and Communications Technology Report, over two-thirds of employees’ time, or 6 hours out of nine hours worked, was spent communicating with other people.

Similarly, a study conducted by Planview found that:

  • 38% of respondents worked on cross-functional teams.
  • 70% worked with people both inside and outside of their organization.
  • 28% worked with team members located in different countries.

 

The rise of remote working – particularly in 2020 – is also driving collaboration. As a project manager, you may be managing team members who work remotely. You may also work remotely and have to manage the project from a different location to the rest of your team.

Effective collaboration offers many benefits to organizations including:

 

  1. Faster problem-solving.
  2. Improved communication within and between departments.
  3. Greater alignment within and between teams.
  4. Clear accountability for tasks and deliverables.
  5. Balanced skillsets on project teams.
  6. Engaged employees, leading to higher retention rates.
  7. Faster decision-making
  8. Increased knowledge sharing.
  9. Better communication with remote teams.

Collaboration is also key to organizational growth.

In a 2017 survey published by the Harvard Business Review:

  • 81% of respondents felt both internal and external collaboration was key to their current success.
  • 68% of those who were prioritizing collaboration were ahead of their competitors.
  • Organizations reporting 10% growth in the previous two years were also focused on collaboration.

 

In recent years, the sheer volume of apps and tools available has accelerated the drive for collaboration.

Teams can now chat, share and co-edit documents, assign work, create reports, automate tasks using workflows, and more at any time, from any location.

Now we’ve discussed collaboration, you may be wondering what it means for your projects

 

Collaboration and Project Management

In the context of a project, collaboration means bringing together a team from different departments, offices, companies, and countries to complete a project.

As explained by Daniel Goleman in his 1998 work, Working with Emotional Intelligence, each of us only has part of the information and skills we need to do our jobs.

We rely on the collective experiences, skills, and knowledge within the team to fill in the gaps.

Completing a project requires diverse skills and experiences, delivered by a cross-functional team who don’t typically work together day-to-day.

Collaboration is also important for new project managers, inexperienced team members, and “accidental project managers’” – individuals who manage projects but are not formally trained in the discipline.

These individuals lean on the skills and experiences of the wider team to contribute successfully.

 

Why does collaboration fail?

By now, it’s clear that collaboration can enhance team performance and improve projects, helping organizations to reach their strategic goals.

Unfortunately, collaboration can and does fail, or is not always practiced successfully within a team.

According to the Chaos Manifesto 2014, 33% of projects fail due to a lack of involvement from the entire team. If teams are unclear how to work together or why they need to collaborate, success is an unlikely outcome.

Obstacles to team collaboration include:

 

No support or vision from senior management

In traditional, hierarchal organizations, senior management can resist the move to collaboration, fearing a loss of control over daily operations.

However, people need to see leadership from the top before changing their habits.

 

Organizational Structure

Collaboration is suited to flat organizations, with little hierarchy or bureaucracy to slow-down decisions. Easier collaboration and interaction between departments is also key, i.e no silos.

 

Team Management

Trust, transparency, and communication are essential to collaboration.

If teams are using too many tools or don’t have a process for making decisions, work will quickly come to a standstill.

Problems can also arise due to personality clashes and competition for promotions or performance-related compensation.

 

Collaboration burnout

Collaboration, combined with always-on technology, increases communication.

Many teams suffer from ‘collaborative burnout’, spending more time on communication than high-quality, deep work and reflective decision-making.

 

Communication tools also play a role in collaboration.

Choosing the right tools for collaboration is critical. For many teams, email, spreadsheets, and phone-calls remain their primary communication tools.

However, these tools cause more problems for teams, especially on projects!

In their study, Planview found that:

  • Respondents were using 4.5 different tools to collaborate on projects.
  • 33% reported that everyone was using different tools.
  • 40% failed to find information at the right time.
  • 39% struggled with poor visibility into tasks and workloads.

 

The result of poor collaboration and miscommunication? Teams reported losing up to 9 weeks per year due to collaboration issues.

From wasted time to duplication of tasks, late projects, and low-quality deliverables, poor collaboration leads to huge costs for teams and organizations.

Projects such as the Airbus 380 and the Mars Climate Orbiter failed due to poor collaboration.

In both cases, the various teams working on the projects did not communicate with each other, leading to one-sided views of progress and data.

Collaboration cannot be achieved by software alone but the right software can help.

When combined with a clear project management approach, collaboration software help teams to access information and update tasks in one place.

Collaborative software is particularly important for remote teams, who need to work across different locations and time zones smoothly.

In the next chapter, we’ll take a closer look at using SharePoint for project team collaboration.

2. How to Collaborate with SharePoint

Collaborative software helps teams to plan, act, and track together by bringing key information and communication into one secure location.

 

There is no shortage of collaboration and project management tools on the market today. At BrightWork, we recommend Microsoft SharePoint, a web-based collaborative tool.

SharePoint is designed for collaboration, combining key collaborative functionality in one tool.

SharePoint helps project teams to easily collaborate with:

  • Document management
  • Task management and reporting
  • Real-time reporting
  • Cross-project dashboards
  • Automation with out-of-the-box workflows
  • Robust permissions and security
  • Configurable templates
  • Forums, wikis, and discussions
  • Knowledge management.

 

For the Marketing Team at BrightWork, managing our projects and daily tasks in a SharePoint project site streamlines collaboration. With everything in one place and less administration work, we can focus on high-value tasks.

Marketing Site Homepage 1

The BrightWork Marketing Team Site

 

Let’s take a closer look at three ways to improve project team collaboration with SharePoint: planning, task management, and reports.

These tips apply to project teams who are working remotely or together in an office.

 

3 Ways to Improve Project Team Collaboration with SharePoint

1. Plan and centralize your project

A SharePoint site centralizes project information, reports, tasks, and documents in one, easy-to-use place.

For a quick, consistent site, use templates to plan your project.

BrightWork comes with a range of pre-configured project and portfolio management templates for SharePoint with varying levels of project and portfolio management process embedded.

 

Taking a template-based approach will not only help to quickly improve project outcomes; it’s also easier to pick the right processes for the project.

To help your team understand the goals of the project and collaborate, add these essentials items.

 

A project statement

This document describes the purpose of the project, dates, scope of work, project methodology, and more.

The project statement adds structure to the project, making it easier for your team to understand what they are working on and why.

If your team appreciate why a particular task or process is important, they are more likely to engage with their work.

As new team members join different phases of the project, the document is a useful onboarding resource.

 

 

The Quick Launch Menu

The Quick Launch is a menu on the left-hand side of the site with links to the various plans, reports, and libraries in the project site.

The Quick Launch acts as a guide for team members for the site and the project.

In the case of the Marketing Team site, the Quick Launch is organized to support an agile marketing process.

It has four key sections:

  • Project Home
  • Planning
  • Tracking
  • Campaign Calendars.

 

SharePoint Marketing Site Quick Launch

 

 

Roles and responsibilities

A study published in the Harvard Business Review found that team members who clearly understood their roles and responsibilities on a project collaborated easily with others.

If team members know what they need to do and when, they have more time and energy for creative brainstorming and problem solving with others.

The ‘Teams and Roles’ list in BrightWork is a simple, transparent way to define and share responsibilities on a team.

 

Contacts

This list is particularly useful for off-site team members or new team members who may need help with a project task.

The list can include name, email address, and contact number along with other information relevant to the project.

 

 

2.  Work the project as a team

With key background information added to the site, it’s time to build the project with tasks and documents.

 

Task Management with SharePoint Lists

Clear, transparent task management is the key to collaboration.

Planning tasks and subtasks (the work breakdown structure) in a SharePoint list clarifies task owners, dates, and interdependencies between tasks.

SharePoint Task Management

 

Team members receive an automatic notification via email when they are assigned a task, 24 hours before the task is due, and a reminder when the task is overdue.

At any time, a team member can check their tasks, update their progress, and flag issues using the personalized ‘My Work’ report.

 

 
Task Management with Agile Boards

Agile Boards are an easy way to manage project tasks in BrightWork.

With Agile Boards, visualize the entire workflow by mapping and prioritizing tasks across a virtual board with your team. This makes it easier to identify and deal with bottlenecks.

To update a task, simply drag the board from one column to another.  Updating the board dynamically updates other associated data such as project timelines.

Boards on BrightWork also include Swimlanes, mapping work to a particular team member or department.

The Marketing Team at BrightWork uses Swimlanes to track work distribution within the team, reassigning tasks as needed.

As we continue to work remotely, we use Boards to keep work moving without the need for constant check-ins or video calls.

 

 

Project Document Management

SharePoint document library is like a large folder for creating and storing files in a central location.

With a SharePoint document library, it’s easy to centralize all project documents in one place. Finding relevant information also becomes much faster!

With a SharePoint document library, teams can:

  • Add, edit, delete, and download documents.
  • Replace email attachments with links.
  • Track the activity on a file, including the last modification.
  • Set up alerts to track changes to a document.
  • Share files or folders with others.
  • Build different libraries for different types of content, for example, weblinks and images.
  • Co-edit documents in real-time.
  • Use version control to restore a previous version of the document.
  • Use permissions to manage access to a library, a folder within a library, or an individual file within a library.
  • Create views for documents relating to different project phases or workstreams.

 

 

Out-of-the-box Workflows

Workers waste up to 3.5 hours every week trying to find information. Using workflows to hand over documents and tasks as needed can reclaim this time.

A workflow is simply a way of getting tasks done in a logical sequence.

A workflow also acts as a framework for completing tasks the same way every time. If the process is documented correctly, any team member can complete the steps and get the same results.

Where possible, steps are automated, for example, sending an email reminder when a task is overdue.

A SharePoint project site includes five out-of-the-box workflows:

  • Approval
  • Collect Feedback
  • Collect Signatures
  • Three-state
  • Publishing.

 

Automating document and task management will keep work moving forward without increasing administration activities.

 

 

3. Keep everyone in the loop

Your project team is probably working on multiple projects at once, along with balancing day-to-day work.

With so many competing assignments, team members can feel disconnected from the project and their peers.

As more teams switch to remote work, this sense of disconnect and isolation may be amplified.

Once the project is underway, use the SharePoint project site as a one-stop-shop for all updates and information.

 

Project Homepage

Start with the project homepage, which can be configured to display key information such as:

  • Status, for example, project health and % completed
  • Issues List
  • Task by Status Chart
  • Work Due Soon
  • Metric Tiles for Late Items, Issues, and Blocked Tasks
  • Schedules and the current timeline.

 

SharePoint Project Homepage KPI Metric Tiles

 

The project homepage is a handy starting point for team meetings. Use the various reports to highlight and discuss upcoming work, delays, and issues with your team.

If you are managing a large team or a remote team, it’s a good idea to add a Gantt chart for upcoming vacation days to your project site.

SharePoint Project Homepage 3 Vacation Gantt

 

 

As various reports in the site are updated, the details on the homepage are automatically updated. This ensures your team is always viewing the latest information.

 

Project Status Report

Next, add context to the project with a weekly status report. The report includes:

  • RAG (Red-Amber-Green) indicators for health, time, cost, and scope.
  • Completed work
  • Upcoming work
  • Comments.

 

 

The latest weekly status report is displayed on the homepage in the Marketing Team site for at-a-glance updates.

 

Automated Email Reports

Keep busy team members and stakeholders in the loop by sharing reports via email.

Using the BrightWork Reporter web part, share a report as needed or create an automated email schedule.

Use cases include sharing upcoming work with the team every Monday morning or sending the latest status report to stakeholders every Friday.

You can also schedule a daily update on tasks and issues to your inbox using the same steps.

 

SharePoint and Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is a collaboration application for Microsoft 365. The platform provides:

  • Real-time chat and messaging
  • Video meetings with notes and whiteboard apps
  • Live events for up to 10,000 people
  • Cloud calling
  • Document storage
  • Real-time co-editing
  • Public or private channels
  • Robust security and privacy capabilities.

 

The Marketing team at BrightWork relies on Microsoft Teams for everything from chat to video calls and file sharing.

However, Teams is not a project management application and lacks key functionality to keep projects on track and keep stakeholders up-to-date.

As such, we manage our projects in BrightWork and have added our project site to a Team using the website tab.

 

Microsoft Teams SharePoint site

 

This brings chat, @mentions, video calls, and project information into one place.

 

Get started with SharePoint Templates

The Free SharePoint Project Management Template from BrightWork will get your projects remote ready in minutes.

BrightWork Free SharePoint Project Management Template

 

The site already includes the project management essentials to help you plan, track, and re-plan the project, including:

  • Getting started Tiles
  • Project Homepage with ‘at-a-glance’ information
  • Quick Launch
  • Wiki (Collaborative Project Management Process)
  • Tasks list (mapped to the Wiki)
  • Project Reports and Metric Tiles
  • Document repository.

Free SharePoint Project Management Template 

Connect and collaborate with your team to keep the project moving forward

3. Creating the Right Environment for Team Collaboration

Successful collaboration requires both strong leadership from the project manager and full participation from the team.

 

In this section, we’ll take a closer look at the team environment, team formation, leadership skills, and collaborative decision-making.

 

Team Environment

A high-performance project team that collaborates easily is defined by key characteristics. These include:

  • Goal-orientated: Well-defined, clear, and measurable goals connect to the team to the purpose of the project. Each team member must be clear on the goal and required tasks, activities, and individual responsibilities required to achieve the desired outcome.
  • Innovative: Collaborative teams are often more proactive, creative, and, engaged. They actively seek solutions to a challenge and pick up tasks if a team member is unexpectedly unavailable or falls behind the schedule.
  • Psychological Safety: A research team at Google identified psychological safety, “a shared belief held by members of a team that the team is safe for interpersonal risk-taking’’ as a defining habit of high-performance teams. Psychological safety makes it easier for individuals to be themselves at work, and engage with others with empathy, honesty, and understanding.
  • Tools and Processes: As discussed in the previous chapter, collaboration is easier when everyone knows what they have to do and where the project currently stands.

 

At BrightWork, we use the 4 Cs as the foundation of our collaborative environment:

  • Companions – friendly and enjoyable.
  • Collaborative – working together towards the same goals.
  • Challenging – be comfortable asking and answering uncomfortable questions.
  • Can-do attitude.

Feel free to use the 4Cs as a starting point for your team and add other habits to suit the project at hand.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Take responsibility for your deliverables.
  • Be open and expect new tasks outside of your deliverables.
  • Learn from mistakes.
  • Deal with conflict quickly and fairly.
  • Allow everyone to speak at meetings and workshops.

 

 

5 Stages of Team Formation

Projects are fast-paced, with individuals involved to varying degrees at different stages.

As a result, your team will cycle through the five stages of team formation  – forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning – quickly and often.

Each stage requires different leadership styles and inputs to move the team through the cycle.

Below is a summary of the five stages to help improve collaboration when forming a new team, taking over an existing team, or introducing a new team member.

 

Stage 1: Forming

  • Overview: At this early stage of the project, the team is positive and looking forward to the tasks ahead.
  • Leadership Input: This phase requires strong guidance from the project manager. Take time to discuss individual skills, the goals and timelines of the project, and roles and responsibilities. It’s also important to establish ways of working, such as meetings, the communication plan, and project management processes.

 

Stage 2: Storming

  • Overview: As the name suggests, conflict and disagreements tend to arise as teams become more familiar with each other and start to question the project plan. Unfortunately, many teams become stuck in this phase.
  • Leadership Input: Conflict resolution is critical. Resolve these tensions to improve communication and collaboration. Clarify individual roles and ensure the team is focused on the goal.

 

Stage 3: Norming

  • Characteristics: Team members start to collaborate, building on each other’s strengths and expertise. Conflicts become easier to deal with as group norms are established. This phase often overlaps with storming as new tasks arise, leading to potential disagreements.
  • Leadership Input: Ask for periodic status updates and provide input as requested. Encourage team members to make decisions and generate new ideas together.

 

Stage 4: Performing

  • Characteristics: The team is fully engaged and highly motivated. At this stage, the real work of the project takes place.
  • Leadership Input: Ask for periodic status updates and provide input as requested. Delegate tasks as much as possible. Celebrate and reward success.

 

Stage 5: Adjourning

  • Characteristics: Teams have a natural life cycle and will disband for numerous reasons such as the end of a project or the departure of a colleague. This can elicit feelings of worry and anxiety for some individuals.
  • Leadership Input: Celebrate and reward success. Host a debriefing session to formally disband the team.

 

 

Collaborative Leadership Skills and Practices

Like any skill, anyone can develop their ability to collaborate easily with others.

Successful collaboration relies upon a range of skills and practices from both project managers and team members.

 

Project Manager

As you’ve probably guessed by now, team collaboration needs leadership.

As the project manager, you should set goals and demonstrate the qualities you wish to see in your team – clear communication, commitment, a willingness to learn from mistakes, and so on.

In Collaborative Project Management: A Handbook, BrightWork CEO, Éamonn McGuinness outlines 15 leadership practices to consider.

These include:

  1. Developing strong communication skills: Project managers spend around 90% of their time on communication activities during a project! In addition to creating a communication plan, work on your active listening skills and developing communication styles for different audiences.
  2. Sharing your values with the team. People willingly follow leaders they like, trust, and respect. People will not follow the “do as I say, and not as I do” leader for very long.
  3. Being goal-focused. As a leader, you need to concentrate on the purpose of the project and help your team to maintain that focus.
  4. Leading by example. Do the right thing, at the right time, for the right reason.
  5. Being self-aware. Leaders need to know themselves and to practice what they preach.
  6. Delegating responsibly: The leader cannot and should not carry all. Assign work to your team.
  7. Using the 3Fs: Be fair, firm, and friendly.
  8. Continual Learning: Learn from every experience – no matter the outcome. This includes project reviews, asking for feedback, talking to people from different areas of the business, and making time to reflect on your experiences.

 

The Situational Leadership Spectrum

As explained in Collaborative Project Management, the leadership techniques and style you deploy depend on the situation at hand.

To determine which path is best, you need to decide what is happening. Here are four possible spectrums to consider.

  • Capability Spectrum: Sometimes, the team is capable, competent, and able to do the job at hand. Other times, they are not capable or trained for the tasks ahead.
  • Willingness Spectrum: There are days when team members are energetic, enthusiastic, and very willing. These are often followed by unproductive days.
  • Time Pressure Spectrum: Project tasks are usually high priority or flexible.
  • Environment Spectrum: Some projects live are stable and well-regulated whilst others occupy a manic, high growth, unstable environment.

 

The Situational Leadership Spectrum BrightWork

 

Think of the spectrum as moving from positive behaviors on the right to negative behaviors on the left.

Your goal is to move team members from the less desirable behaviors to positive outcomes.

Depending on the situation, use one of three possible responses:

  • Show and Tell: If you are to the left of some or all of the above spectrums, you need to show people how to do the task or tell them to just do it. The preferred outcome is to move people to the right of the spectrum so your involvement is less invasive.
  • Mentor and Participate: If you are mid-spectrum on some or all of the above, help the person understand how to deliver on the task at hand and participate as needed.
  • Coach and Delegate: If you are to the right of the spectrum, you are likely discussing the optimal outcome with the individual; ideally, they are asking questions and coming up with some solutions. You will coach them to their best performance and delegate as needed.

 

Team Member

As we say at BrightWork, everyone on the team is a leader for an area of the project.

As such, ask your project to cultivate key practices to facilitate collaboration.  Here is a suggested list to get you started.

  1. Integrity is key for all team members. Always treat others as you wish to be treated.
  2. Assume personal responsibility for the success of your deliverables.
  3. Team effort is the key to greater success. Offer help to the team. Be open and expect new tasks outside your deliverables.
  4. Mistakes happen. Admit and get over them, and always learn from them.
  5. Expect issues from time to time. Deal with them quickly. When the issue is sorted, leave it behind.
  6. Respect deadlines and sign-off dates for deliverables.
  7. Take the responsibility given to you and contribute to the team.
  8. Challenge the direction and then accept the team direction.
  9. Participate in the speed of the group.

 

It’s also important to develop your team’s emotional intelligence. An emotionally intelligent team refers to the ability of a group to manage and harness emotions for positive outcomes.

An emotionally intelligent team is not simply a combination of individual emotional intelligence and self-awareness, but rather, the result of active team development.

According to Daniel Goleman, emotionally intelligent or ‘star’ teams are defined by:

  • Empathy
  • Cooperation
  • Open, honest communication
  • A desire to improve
  • Awareness of strengths and weaknesses
  • Proactive problem-solving
  • Self-confidence
  • Flexibility
  • Good relationships with other teams.

 

Team members who feel part of a worthwhile group and recognize that they work better together than apart are likely to reach higher levels of collaboration and productivity.

They are also more confident when dealing with challenges and change.

 

Collaborative Decision-Making

Collaboration can fail if there is no clear route for decision-making.

A decision is defined ‘as a course of action purposely chosen from a set of alternatives to achieve organizational or managerial objectives or goal’.

Decision-making is the method of selecting this course from two or more possibilities.

A collaborative team will have many opinions and ideas. When faced with too many choices, reaching a decision collectively can be a slow process.

As mentioned above, authority is more dispersed in a collaborative team, which can further hinder decisions.

Competent, effective decision-making starts with a process. Below are two ideas to try with your team: brainstorms and consensus decision-making.

 

1. Brainstorms

As outlined in Collaborative Project Management: A Handbook, the ‘ABCD’ approach to brainstorms is a useful way to keep discussions on track.

 

  • Agree on the Aim of the meeting and Ask lots of questions.
  • Brainstorm in a Blue-sky manner – open, creative, and imaginative, with no limits or boundaries. There is no critique at this stage; instead, encourage questions to clarify.
  • Enter into a robust but respectful set of Conversations with healthy Critique and Constructive Conflict. Push the boundaries of the ideas under discussion.
  • With as much consensus as possible, make a Decision. Include a mechanism to check the outcome.

2.  Consensus Decision Making

Consensus decision making  is based on the idea that each person supports the implementation of the decision, regardless of whether or not he/she agrees with the decision.

Consensus decision-making ensures that all input and ideas from a team are considered until a final decision that is acceptable to all emerges.

Agreed solutions are often innovative and creative, and more likely to be successful as everyone has helped to shape the outcome.

Consensus decision making typically follows six steps:

  1. Introduce the issue.
  2. Explore the issue to gather all inputs and ideas.
  3. Identify common proposals to start building a solution.
  4. Discuss and refine the proposal. Depending on the scope and complexity of the decision, the team may need a few days to consider the proposal before providing feedback.
  5. Test for agreement.
  6. Agree and implement the decision.

Collaborative Project Management: A Handbook

Develop your project leadership skills 
Collaboration is a skill, and like any skill, you can develop your ability to collaborate over time.

 

Of course, as project tasks and other commitments start to rack up, finding time for training and development is a struggle.

If this is the case, it’s a good idea to use a structured, yet flexible, development process.

At BrightWork, we use the “REP” approach to personal change management and continuous learning.

REP stands for Research, Execute, and Post-Mortem. REP is a play on the word ‘repetition’ and is a very simple but effective personal change management process.

Anyone on your team can use REP to learn a new skill or develop an existing area of knowledge as needed.

 

REP BrightWork

3 Phases of REP

1. Research Phase

Pick a skill you wish to nurture and research how to do so, for example, developing your active listening skills.

Start online in project management forums or by talking to a colleague.

You may also like to keep a REP journal in either electronic or paper form.  Use the journal to note any new learnings or ideas you would like to try.

At the end of the “R” stage, look through the ideas in your REP Journal and pick a few to try.

Finally, decide when, where, and how you are going to try these ideas.

 

2. Execute Phase

During the “E” phase, put your new ideas into practice. Track your progress and findings in your notebook.

 

3. Post-Mortem Phase

In The Leadership Handbook: 26 Critical Lessons Every Leader Needs, John C. Maxwell writes that experiences themselves are not as valuable as the knowledge and insights we can glean from each event – if we take time to understand and review.

Schedule time to reflect on your experiences and what adjustments are needed.

At the end of the Post-Mortem phase, take a break to enjoy your success and get ready to REP again.

Go back to your Research phase and look at all the ideas you had. Pick one or two new ideas and repeat the cycle.

 

REP Schedule

You can do more than one REP at once, which means some REP cycles will overlap. However, you need to plan your REP carefully to complete each stage. Here is a sample REP schedule for over 8 months.

REP Schedule BrightWork

  • January: Research phase on your first REP (e.g. Improve Time Management).
  • February and March: Execute phase for your first REP (e.g. Improve Time Management).
  • March: Research phase of your second REP (e.g. Collaborative Project Initiation).
  • April: Post-Mortem phase for the first REP (e.g. Improve Time Management) and decide if and when you need to do another REP on this topic.
  • April and May: Execute phase for your second REP (e.g. Collaborative Project Initiation).
  • June: Post-Mortem phase for the second REP (e.g. Collaborative Project Initiation) and decide if and when you need to do another REP in this area.
  • July: Take a well-deserved break from REP!
  • August: Start the Research phase on your third REP (e.g. Improve Time Management – Part 2).

 

If this cycle is too long, opt for shorter, weekly REPs using this template:

  • Monday: Do some research to identify one or two new practices to try in the coming week.
  • Rest of week: Execute these activities and track your progress in a REP journal.
  • Monday of the following week: Complete your post-mortem of the previous week’s activities and decide how to proceed during the coming week.

 

 

 

Conclusion

”Modern, effective project management is about collaborative project management. It’s people working together, enjoying the journey on the way to an agreed destination.” BrightWork CEO, Éamonn McGuinness

 

A fast-paced world with a growing number of specialized roles and remote working means we all need to collaborate with internal and external teams to complete projects.

The tips and tools in this guide will set you and your team on the path to better collaboration. Remember to REP your way to lasting, effective change.

Collaborative Project Management: A Handbook

Help your team to work and grow together​

Created By

GW Pillar page

Grace Windsor

Read more SharePoint and project management articles from Grace!

Product Overview
Everything you need for Project and Portfolio Management on SharePoint

Deployment Options
Software deployment programs catered to your SharePoint setup

Customer Stories
What our customers say about BrightWork

Templates Overview

Learn how BrightWork Templates simplify project management

Project Templates

Deliver succesful projects with best-practice templates

Portfolio Templates

Get visibility of multiple projects across an organisation

Free Template

Free SharePoint project management template, deployed in just 5 minutes

Professional Services
Advance your BrightWork solution and Project Management skills

The BrightWork Approach
Discover our ‘Start-Evolve’ framework to do what you want.

3D Deployment
Get started using our simple 3-step process, focused on your needs

BrightWork Services
Advisory Services
Technical Services
Want to know more about BrightWork Services?

Already a Customer? Visit our Support Hub >

On-Premise Pricing

Pricing for BrightWork On-Premise – installed in your own SharePoint 2019, 2016, or 2013 environment.

Cloud Pricing

Pricing for BrightWork Online – Shared, Dedicated, FedRAMP, and HIPAA/HITRUST compliant options.

SharePoint templates free

Free Trial

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Blog
Insights and articles from our team and guests

 CPM Handbook
A five-step approach to collaborative project management

 Webinars
Live and On-Demand webinars to help your SharePoint project management journey

 Guides and Ebooks
Free resources, videos, and advice to make project management easier

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