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Interdisciplinary Collaboration: 7 Tips to Succeed as a Team

Interdisciplinary Collaboration: 7 Tips to Succeed as a Team
Vlad Kovalskiy
December 17, 2021
Last updated: December 17, 2021

Us humans have done well by using collaboration, but it hasn’t been an easy ride. Similarly, when it comes to working together in the office, there are an endless amount of speed bumps along the way.

What is interdisciplinary collaboration?

Clearly, you can’t start working on your collaboration if you don’t have a global view of what it actually means.

The general concept involves getting every department of your business working together as seamlessly as possible, but of course, it isn’t easy.

Each group needs to know what, and more precisely how, others think. It’s unrealistic to think you’re going to get everybody thinking identically, and why would you want to? Your marketing department shouldn’t have the same approach as your developers and you don’t want your sales team worrying about HR issues.

However, what you can do is to facilitate how your different teams communicate and work with each other. Below, we’ll give you 7 tips to get the best out of your individuals, but most importantly, how to get everybody to gel together.

1. Help your team get to know each other

Before you get ahead of yourself with projects, tasks, and subtasks, it’s a wise move to put in the groundwork by creating a company culture that facilitates your work. You can’t expect to achieve collaboration between your departments if everybody is working in isolation from each other.

Using tools like an employee directory software allows your team to get to know each other at the click of a button. When you get new recruits, add them to the directory, along with their phone number, email address, availability, and a little introduction about themselves. Forget about endless questions finding who you need, they’re just a search away.

By understanding who everybody is and what their role is, you take away a lot of the blockers in communication and promote an environment where anyone can talk to anyone else.

2. Project management: Your collaboration HQ

When it comes to the “work” itself, any good interdisciplinary collaboration strategy needs a slick project management approach. Find a tool where you can store all your tasks, each one assigned to one responsible person, some participants, and other observers, and they’ll all receive updates on their intranet dashboard.

Encourage a company culture that promotes detailed instructions and links to key documents. If your whole business follows the same techniques, interdisciplinary collaboration is much easier.

Lay it out on a Kanban board so everyone can see what needs to be done, what is in progress, and what has already been done. Take a look as a team every now and again for updates and keep everybody engaged throughout the process.

3. Welcome automation as part of your company ethos

Come on, guys. We’re already living in “the future”, so why would we insist on a human touch where it simply isn’t necessary? By using automations, you can streamline a bunch of areas of your daily processes and save your team the time and stress of boring, menial jobs.

Whether it’s automatic task allocation through dependencies or simply reminders, you can cut huge amounts of work out of everybody’s day. Make automations a key player on your project management team and you’ll start linking your departments together in a flash.

4. Gantt charts can be part of your team

Combining the past two areas into one simple tool: Gantt charts are out of this world. You get to see everybody’s availability so you don’t overwork your team, and you can assign the right tasks to the right people. With all that info, your managers always have a tight eye on deadlines.

Those dependencies we mentioned before? Create a workflow, basically a series of interconnected tasks, and automatically assign one task as soon as the previous one is finished. You can customize your dependencies to leave a delay in between, start two tasks at the same time, or any combination that suits you.

With all these tasks taken care of, you can focus on the human side of things like identifying any blockers you have and dealing with them.

5. Different communication channels for different needs

We’ve all turned up to work on a Monday and found our inbox in triple figures. It’s not a great feeling.

However, you can streamline your communication to help everybody prioritize and structure their work in the same way. Emails are great, sure, but why outline a project in an email when you could create a task in your project management tool?

As for instant messaging — not everything needs to be immediate! Rather than clogging up chats with every thought that pops into your brain, create company standards that only allow instant messaging for real-time interdisciplinary collaboration. That way, you contain all those pings and alerts into one manageable timeframe.

If you follow a scrum mentality, make the most of those stand-up meetings. Your Scrum Master should make sure they streamline communication among your team so you can get each meeting done in five minutes, with people from every department understanding the bigger picture. Don’t worry if you’re a remote team — they can even make stand-ups better! Fire up a video call and give everybody their platform.

With a well-thought-out communication plan, your team can be totally focused on the task at hand rather than getting email anxiety at the thought of collaborating.

6. Collaborate on the cloud

Cloud computing is all the rage nowadays and it’s clear to see why. Your teams can work together whether they’re remote or just on a different floor, and everybody has access to the same files.

But the advantages don’t stop there.

Take onboarding for example. You can create a map of the Drive so every document is easy to find, no matter what department someone is from. Similarly, you can use this space to explain your company culture and lingo. There’s inherently nothing wrong with jargon — it gives a great sense of belonging — so include a company-specific, jargon-busting doc as part of your onboarding training so new recruits feel right at home.

7. Make it social!

No great team was ever made without a sense of unity, so encourage your team to connect based on their department, project, or even interest. Set up groups for the hikers, the dog-lovers, and the wine connoisseurs and you’ll soon find your team has more in common with each other than the differences they have.

Once you’ve broken down the barriers between individuals, you can use this space for work groups to present their latest best practices and learn from each other. You can also take advantage of these get-togethers to break down over-formal working relationships and power struggles. By giving everybody the same platform to speak, you will instill a flatter hierarchy in your company.

Maximize your cross team collaboration today!

Getting a team to work with perfect interdisciplinary collaboration is no easy feat, but luckily, with Bitrix24, you can cover all your bases for free! Sign up for Bitrix24 and arm yourself with the tools to boost collaboration across your whole business.

More than 10,000,000 companies have already placed their trust in Bitrix24 to push their teams forward, combining best practices and smart technology for a smooth-running organization.

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