With technology solutions taking center stage at many large and small organizations, the IT department is quickly becoming the backbone for business growth and success. When leadership focuses on creating cohesive environments within the department itself, this sets the foundation for effective tech team collaboration that will spill over into positive teamwork with non-tech departments as well.
Tech Team Collaboration Results in a Well-Oiled Machine
As technology evolves, professionals grow and adapt to the changes with their technical expertise as well as their business acumen, and more importantly, the “soft skills” they are building. Collaboration has been consistently ranked as a top soft skill that leaders are looking for in tech talent. And it seems the feeling is mutual from the tech side: A recent GitHub survey, shared, “Fostering closer collaboration across development teams resulted in improved code quality in the long term, GitHub found. 50% of respondents said heightened collaboration delivered improved test coverage while 47% noted “cleaner” code writing as a key advantage of improved collaboration.”
While that is a very specific ‘technical’ outcome, overall, statistics show that Teamwork is very important for 37% of employees. Leaders can help facilitate tech team collaboration through the following steps:
1. Invite Teams To Be Part of the Growth Strategy
Identify department projects and goals and assign individuals with specific responsibilities. The entire scope of what the department is working on along with a clear point of contact needs to be accessible to the entire team. It’s important that tech leaders define the priorities at the onset of each planning year, and continue communicating with the team regularly to refine and reprioritize goals.
This isn’t necessarily the same as regular status calls; the focus here is on the bigger picture. To encourage tech team collaboration, members must understand the “why” and know where they fit in. For these purposes, an in-person planning session (annually or bi-annually, or even quarterly) or regular all-hands calls for the department (extended to the entire organization) are important tools here.
Tech leaders also have a responsibility to let their teams know how their department goals fit into the organization’s overall mission and how their contributions buoy the company as a whole. Be sure to share and communicate C-level expectations, trickling down feedback and bubbling up praise and accolades for your team members heard at the leadership level.
2. Make Information Accessible for In-House and Remote Teams
Once the overarching plan is shared with the team, information and details should be housed in a digital platform that can be accessed from anywhere, given the nature of remote work. Most likely you are already utilizing the essential collaboration tools that are accessed by a team: video conferencing platforms, messaging tools, online meeting places, file and document storage, and a space to share notes.
Of course, sometimes there are tools that are specialized to a core group of tech professionals based on their skill set. For instance, Gitnux shares the top cloud collaboration tools if you work in cloud development. The choices can actually be overwhelming!
There are, however, a few common themes that we’ve heard from tech professionals to keep in mind when selecting your collaboration suite:
- Security is a priority. If you have a team of IT professionals sharing their work in a digital space, ensure that an IT security expert has kept their work safe.
- The tool must be easily scalable to add or remove department members from access when necessary. Especially with the onboarding of tech consultants and project-based workers at various points of the planning, production, and delivery stage, they must also have access to the tools and materials they will need to be successful in their role right away.
- Narrow down your collaboration toolkit to the most useful tools. We know it’s hard when each tool offers something that you find valuable. In the long run, though, tech professionals and non-tech professionals alike are suffering from tech overload and leadership should take definitive action to lessen the load. One corporation shared their experimental project—”a collaboration cleanse”—for eliminating tool redundancies and the results were eye-opening.
- Survey your tech team on the tools they feel will work and make decisions accordingly.
3. Respect Solo-Productivity Within a Collaborative Framework
In the same GitHub study, tech professionals were also clear that they need their “me” time; that is, they need time solely dedicated to actually working autonomously in blocks of time to get work done. Much of what tech professionals do, like developers, analysts, engineers, etc. require concentration.
Limiting meetings to when they were originally scheduled, and recognizing when a tech team member has “closed their door” to avoid interruptions is critical to letting them know you support their time and effort. When it’s time to regroup with the team, they will be more focused and engaged to share what they have been working on to keep status moving forward.
4. Promote Creativity Through Digital Tech Team Collaboration Tools
While collaboration is a means to moving a project to completion, it’s also a way to foster new ideas, solicit innovation, and build team comradery. Expand collaboration efforts to create a welcoming, inclusive work environment that goes beyond the work at hand.
One organization encourages “watercooler” moments that are accessible not only to those working in-house but through digital tools that remote workers can use as well. Digital whiteboards to share notes and apps that allow team members to ping one another to catch up mimic impromptu spontaneity that was often found in the traditional office setting and can now be transferrable to a multi-location workforce.
Being able to pop into shared meeting spaces online to think out loud and discuss ideas is an important part of collaboration beyond standard status meetings and check-ins. It sparks creativity and allows co-workers to bounce ideas off each other which can lead to the next-best service, system, or product in an organization!
Keeping Collaboration on Your Radar is Key
Whatever methods are chosen by IT leaders to strengthen tech team collaboration is a step in the right direction because you recognize that it is a priority. Studies consistently show that collaboration and teamwork lead to increased productivity and successful deliverables; conversely, a breakdown in collaboration will often have the opposite effect, with added morale concerns that lead to talent recruitment and retention deficits as well.
At #TeamProsum we encourage collaboration internally among our recruiters and account executives as a core value; it helps them be more successful in their roles, which in turn benefits our valued clients in acquiring the best tech talent for their organizations. Reach out to one of our experts and request IT talent today.