4 Tips for Better Collaboration

User Story Mapping Collaboration by Iman Tucker

Working with teams can be highly rewarding, yet extremely challenging. Collaboration is fundamental piece to scaling business and building the best products on the market, in the least amount of time. We’ve gathered feedback from experts within the agile community to come up with 4 tips for better collaboration.

1. Visualize your projects

Have you even tried to plan a vacation without a calendar? It can be tough trying to plan multiple moving pieces in to one overall experience without being able to see how everything works together. Building products that customers love is no different.

Product requirement documents are great. Voicing thoughts and dreaming up ideas are too. However, they don’t allow you to see from a holistic view, and it is extremely difficult to manage status of completion that way.

Instead, visualize your projects.

Get your team together and build physical maps. Allow you and your team to see your project from a bird’s eye view making agile development that much easier. As the project grows, and more clarity is needed, then you can begin to break down each individual piece into smaller pieces.

2. Stick to small groups

We have all been to a large dinner parties where the party is so big that one person cannot be heard from the other side. Before you know it, side conversations develop, and throughout the evening, guests are only talking to those in close proximity.

Or the reverse, where one person assumes the role of the designated topic leader, creating a hierarchy that may shy other members away from sharing their thoughts.

Next time try sticking to smaller groups. Ideally, 2-5 people. Eliminate side conversations and hierarchy and have each member share an equal voice to ensure innovation and shared understanding is at its’ best.

3. Set a time limit

The procrastinators know it best, there is nothing more motivating than realizing you do not have much time to complete a task.

Time is our most valuable asset and using time to your advantage can improve your team’s collaboration. Chances are you and your team have a large backlog of tasks to complete as well as personal lives that do not allot an infinite amount of time to plan and work.

Consider setting a time limit on your planning session. We recommend 60-90 minutes. As humans don’t have an infinite ability to focus. Maximize your time to serve you and your team best.

Then, stack on another element and set goals for how long each sprint should take. Time can be a great motivator, allow it to work for your team and not against.

4. Trust your intuition

You are always right, and when you aren’t, adjust your thought so that then you can be right again.

No one individual’s opinions are less or worse. Planning isn’t a finality; it is a plan. Do not be afraid to express your thoughts and ideas. The best brainstorming sessions occur when members feel safe enough and valued enough to share what they are thinking without being scrutinized.

Trust your intuition. Allow that “gut feeling” to help as you build products. As a leader, empower your team to feel valued to share. As a member, continue to share your thoughts so that others can build off of them.

What are your tips for better collaboration? Leave a comment and let the community know!

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