Every project manager worth their salt knows that the success of a project depends on the people working at it. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise when we say that there needs to be a sense of community surrounding any project. After all, the project’s success is dependent on cooperation and team spirit.
As humans, we yearn to be respected, valued, and treated as though we’re capable of contributing to something. These needs can only be met when we’re part of something bigger than us. In other words, we need to be part of a community.
Whether it’s our neighbors or our colleagues, a strong sense of community can provide purpose and motivate us towards the final goal.
But, how does one build a community around a project? Well, let’s find out.
Trust is the basic element needed to build any collaborative unit. Needless to say, it plays a very important role in creating a professional community. Each member working on the project must be encouraged to share their thoughts/ideas.
At the same time, they must be provided with timely constructive feedback. The goal is to share ideas; not to compete over them.
Of course, it can be hard to overcome inherent issues such as institutional prejudices, especially when teams have to compete with one another. In fact, it’s almost impossible to change things that haven’t changed for ages. However, what you can do is use a single project as your sample and highlight the benefits of a collaborative approach.
You can start by talking to your team about how the project can be approached and even get them to set goals or identify opportunities. Top-Down leadership isn’t going to be effective here because of multiple perspectives.
So, work on building a culture of collaboration.
Support from the Top
A project’s success is also reflective of the philosophy that guides top management. It is known that teams deliver the best projects when executives put in the effort to interact with employees, guide them, support social interactions, and most importantly, demonstrate the value of collaboration in their own areas of work.
According to a study done by Harvard Business Review, the most successful projects came from collaborative organizations that followed signature practices that were unique to their operations. For example, Fred Goodwin, CEO of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), invested around £350 million in 2005 to set up a headquarters office at Edinburgh.
The goal was to promote collaboration and the structure, composed of an indoor atrium, allowed this by making it possible for 3000 employees to interact with each other daily. Needless to say, this has had a tremendous effect on project turnaround times. Some of the most efficient teams now work for RBS.
The Right Tools
A sense of community within an organization is also shaped by leveraging the right technological tools. For instance, communication is key to building a strong community. To make this possible, there are tools that you can employ, such as chat applications that aid real-time communication.
Similarly, there is a range of other collaborative tools that can also be leveraged for this purpose. So, keep an eye out and stay updated.