The 8 Commandments of Good Collaboration & Secure File Sharing

by Shirish Phatak on May 2, 2016

A group almost always does better work than an individual. In a group, workers can take advantage of different experiences, viewpoints, and talents -- combining all of these into a better thought-out and better executed final product. What are the most absolute rules when it comes to setting up a team to collaborate on a project? It involves centralizing all of the data that they will need access to via a secure file sharing solution and a team that's well positioned for getting the job done. Here are the 'commandments of collaboration'.

1. Start with the Right Workers on the Team

The team needs a good mix of experience, talent, skill, and expertise. What it doesn't need is a worker who is horrible at collaboration. Use those as outside mentors or to sign off on decisions, but don't include them in the day-to-day collaboration.

There are brilliant workers within any organization who have a lot to offer but don't make good collaborators. Just because someone has the right talent and experience doesn't mean they are a good selection for a committee to oversee a project within their realm of expertise. In these cases, it's usually better to assemble a team of good collaborators and have them get the expert to sign off on important decisions. This keeps work progressing smoothly and eliminates the development of a toxic environment.

2. Take Them to the Leader

Every body needs a head. When the group can't come to a decision, there needs to be one with the power to make the call and move the project forward. The team leader will also set the deadlines and hold workers accountable for meeting the deadlines. The leader needs to have the authority to enforce their policies and deadlines, too, so make it a supervisor, manager, or executive that everyone answers to even outside the collaboration team.

3. Dissent is OK -- Disrespect is Not OK

Dissent is one of the best things that can happen in collaboration, because that's when holes get poked in half-baked ideas and bad ideas get served up for the chopping block. Without dissent, the flaws in the project don't get identified and corrected. What is not okay is to attack a team member for a bad idea or cause disruption with unnecessary and unproductive arguments. Make it clear where the line between healthy dissent and unacceptable disrespect lies and don't allow that line to be crossed, not even by the team leader.

4. Make a Decision and Get on with Things

Sometimes, things aren't easy to make a decision on. Maybe there are more than one good courses of action, or perhaps any course of action will have potential downsides. This cannot hold up a critical project. List the pros and cons, make a decision, and move on. Most issues can be corrected later, as long as the team is working smartly and effectively otherwise.

5. Always Give the Team a 'Why' for Everything

When a decision is reached, either through collaborative effort or via a final call by the leader, explain why. This gives the team a reason for what's happening, plus it helps guide them when it's time to make future decisions. Not knowing why something is the way it is leads to frustration. Frustration leads to poor morale, and inevitably can break down an otherwise good project.

6. Insist That Communications are Brief and Pointed

What is absolutely necessary to communicate the point? Keep communications to those necessities and reserve the banter for other times, when the workflow isn't inhibited.

Some team members might want to over-explain every little detail, while others snap off quick communications with no reference points or explanation. Find a happy middle ground. Communications should be thorough and clear, but brief and to-the-point. A good collaboration and secure file sharing tool will help foster this by structuring communications and keeping all of the data close at hand for easy reference and referral.

7. Give Team Members an Outlet for Some Fun & Bonding

To keep things brief and pointed, you need to allow for an outlet for the team to bond and have some fun outside of the project collaboration. This is easy when all the workers are under one roof, but you can do it with geographically separated groups, as well. Facetime, video chats, and virtual meet-and-greet sessions are excellent for building camaraderie and giving the team a fun outlet that doesn't disrupt the workflow.

8. Give the Teams the Right Tools

Obviously, for these to work you need to centralize the data the team needs and enable easy access via a secure file sharing tool. This can be done easily, while maintaining enterprise-grade security, by utilizing the Microsoft Azure cloud and the FAST secure file sharing solution.

Find out exactly how this works when you see our demo video.

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