Here at Viewpoint Construction Software we love collaboration. It’s what we do after all. Our Viewpoint For Project Collaboration product for North America and the 4Projects product used around the world, bring together numerous members of a project team, (which when you total up all users of the system can run into the thousands) and gives them one version of the truth at any given time, regardless of amendments or changes to plans. It gives them a truly collaborative environment in which to work where any user can be fully up to speed on what is happening now without having to filter through past emails, drawings or, heaven forbid, paper based documents that may or may not be the most up to date reference.
On this theme of collaboration, and bringing it into a wider context, what does collaboration really mean? And why is it so important to our working environment?
The well-known “No man is an island” quote from ‘Devotions’ by John Donne rings true here. We all rely on each other for mutual benefit and success and those that deal in isolation will be a weaker unit than one that is made up of many parts, with combined knowledge and expertise.
There are some examples in business of great collaborations, some that even changed the way we live today. Think Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. Would Apple have become the success it is today without the input and collaboration of both of these figures? We’ll never know but all the evidence suggests it required the perfect blend of Wozniak’s technical skill with Jobs’ marketing genius to make it work initially.
We’ve probably all seen examples of the blockers that exist to collaboration too. And these blockers are usually the result of human nature. How many times have you created work that, just when you have finished it, a colleague informs you that he had a template or existing information that would have saved you half the time it took to complete? Thanks for sharing pal! People are instinctively protective of ‘their reports’, ‘their data’, ‘their area of work’ which suggests that collaboration is not a natural trait in us humans. However if we are to truly succeed in our objectives and produce the best work and outcomes it needs to become second nature.
For me, collaboration essentially means sharing. An informed project team armed with accurate knowledge and detail will surely encounter minimal problems compared to the individuals working in silos who, only when they finally do come together, realize they have been working on incorrect information, duplicating work and generally contributing to a highly inefficient team. If you recognize these traits in your workplace then maybe it’s time to embrace collaborative working amongst your teams and make it the norm. Be your organization’s ‘Collaboration Champion’!
The inspiration for this blog came partly from the preparations for the upcoming Viewpoint User Conference. This in itself is a fantastic example of collaboration in every way with knowledge sharing, networking and communication being key themes of the event and it will be great to see this in practice. I look forward to hopefully meeting some of you there and engaging in what will be an informative and highly collaborative few days!/p>
Adam Page is a Marketing Programmes Manager for 4Projects, a Viewpoint Construction Software company. Based in the UK he has over 10 years’ experience in a variety of marketing roles in both B2C and B2B environments. His current role sees him responsible for marketing 4Projects in the EMEA regions.