How do groups best collaborate on projects?
January 31, 2014 9:53 AM Subscribe
I work in a small business that reflects a lot of the same problems I've seen in other groups when they try to be productive. You get some people in a room with an intent to create an outcome, a project that is going to take considerable amount of time, thought, resources and creativity. Just getting people to stick to one single discussion thread in this large project becomes practically impossible.
How do groups collaborate successfully to create an outcome that is worth the effort?
posted by diode to Human Relations (9 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
My experience of group meetings is usually about the same. Begin the meeting, announce the outcome (build this thing that is better than the old thing). People in the meeting have varying ability to grasp the concepts involved or familiarity with the subject. Getting them all on the same page about any single aspect of the proposed project is time consuming. Big picture thinking usually never gets done as folks quickly begin obsessing over details. People derail any useful conversation by throwing in a tangentially related idea that goes off on another thread or the time gets eaten up with trivial or unrelated discussions.
All in all, group meetings are like the worst form of productivity ever invented. I read a book once that discussed this dilemma and proposed a methodology of a structured meeting process where all contribute their best ideas and the group evaluates them.
Group endeavor takes on the aspects of information management, value and goal seeking, project management (who does what), plus research and experimentation all coordinated among people who may not use the same tools for managing their working lives.
How do groups get from here to there with something approaching efficiency and coordination, avoiding cognitive bias and choosing effectively then acting on it?