YTKO programme director Helen Trudgeon explains the next phases of the Business Collaboration process
It is when the collaboration has been identified, agreed and created, that the real work begins. It is very rewarding to see all your hard work come to fruition, but it is also a very demanding phase. Too often, organisations rush into this phase without considering all of the issues necessary to make the partnership successful.
It’s really important that all the individual participants ensure they carry out the tasks which were identified in the planning stages, as the collaboration will only achieve its goals if serious consideration has been given to these earlier stages. To guard against this, it is vital that information is shared and any arising problems are managed effectively to everyone’s satisfaction.
There are a number of ways this can be approached, but the appointment of a project manager combined with the use of suitable communication tools and project management software is the most effective way of monitoring progress. It is also helpful to agree performance measures as part of this monitoring process to keep the collaboration on track, and to be in a strong position to make adjustments should problems arise.
As your collaboration progresses, evaluation of its performance should be undertaken periodically to determine its overall effectiveness in delivering the expected benefits to each partner. A final assessment should also be carried out if the collaboration is for a specific, limited project with an identifiable goal.
The evaluation should focus on three areas:
- Effectiveness of the project
- Effectiveness of the process
- Quality and coherence of the partnership
1. Project Effectiveness:
Did the project achieve its aims? Were the outcomes as expected? Or was the collaboration a failure? Assessing and then understanding the reasons behind any of these results is essential for the ongoing performance of a collaboration. If this is the final evaluation of the project, then the assessment should also be used to ensure the success of future joint ventures.
2. Process Effectiveness:
Alongside the physical outcomes of a collaboration, it is important to look at how successful the processes were: did all partners fully understand and agree the project, its goals and their own specific roles? Did every partner carry out their actions as expected and within the specified time limits?
Were the reporting and communications structures between partners used correctly, were they effective? If project management software was used, did it perform as required?
If the answer to any of these questions is no, it is important to understand what went wrong, as well as to assess any impact this had to ensure that any mistakes made aren’t repeated in any future projects.
3. Quality and coherence of the partnership
This final element is to assess how well the individual partners worked together within the collaboration, and whether or not they would be suitable for future partnerships.
Ultimately, however good a collaboration might look on paper, if the key partners cannot work together, or if the infrastructure isn’t sufficiently robust, then the success of this or future projects cannot be assured.
In conclusion, the entire Collaboration Process, from initial Attraction to final Assessment demonstrates the importance of taking a structured, thoughtful approach to ensure a successful result.
The proof’s in the pudding, as they say, so in future issues we will give practical examples of projects we have worked on to illustrate how a collaboration could work for your business.