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8 benefits of collaborative projects for your teams and company culture
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8 benefits of collaborative projects for your teams and company culture

Discover the benefits of collaborative projects for your business and team—and how to work together at every project stage.

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Launched in 1990, the Hubble Telescope is still one of the biggest joint projects ever, involving contributions from scientists and engineers worldwide. The result? Breathtaking images of the stars that advance our understanding of the universe. 

Ongoing collaboration between NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) is what made the Hubble project possible—and a success. Teamwork (literally) got the project off the ground. The two agencies gave each other financial and technological support, shared and analyzed their findings, and held joint research programs and workshops, 

Team collaboration is also essential for businesses to perform at their best. But it doesn’t always happen naturally, especially on long-running projects. 

To achieve it, team leaders need to understand the benefits of great teamwork and what it looks like at each stage of a project, because it’s not one-size-fits-all. You also need to know how to continually iterate and improve to keep your teams performing at their best. 

In this piece, you'll learn the benefits of collaborative projects for your teams and company culture—before, during, and after the project. We'll also explore how you can collaborate at each stage to make teamwork the best part of work. 

Get everyone working better together.
Switchboard’s collaborative digital workspace lets you work side-by-side in persistent rooms on any type of project. 
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8 benefits of collaboration at different project stages  

When a group of people come together–harnessing their individual strengths and skills–they can create something much greater than what they might accomplish alone.

That's why understanding the benefits of collaboration, and how to join forces at each project stage, can have real benefits—both for your bottom line and for employee morale. In fact, employees with strong interpersonal relationships at work are more likely to perform well

Here are eight benefits of collaboration at different project stages, and how you can work better together during each one. 

Before project launch  

Congratulations! You have an idea for a project, which means it's time to dive into the process of collaboration and creativity with your team. This is a critical time to begin thinking about collaboration so you can lay the groundwork for a successful project. 

For NASA and the ESA, this probably meant outlining roles and responsibilities and hashing out the details so that they could focus on getting on with their collaboration, rather than who was paying for what. For example, who would be responsible for astronaut training and spacecraft logistics. 

What happens at this stage 

This is where you conceptualize the project idea, including project objectives, scope, and feasibility. You also need to identify stakeholders, allocate resources, and assign roles. 

Before you start your project, you should also develop a communication and stakeholder management plan specific to the teams' communication and working styles. This might cover: 

  • Communication channels to use 
  • Frequency and timing of communications
  • Collaboration software to get work done 
  • Meeting structure and frequency 

We’ll take a look at the benefits of doing this below. 

How teams can collaborate 

At this stage, communication with stakeholders and those in charge of resource allocation and budgeting is crucial. This is the time to get answers to your questions or doubts about the project, adding your own expertise and input as necessary. 

To facilitate collaboration at this stage, set up the right communication channels and establish guidelines for how to use them. For example, you might use Slack for instant messaging and stipulate that all messages have to be at least acknowledged by the end of the day. 

You can also use project management tools like Asana to create a workflow for putting a budget or proposal together. This allows you to assign people to tasks and check the Kanban boards for greater visibility on progress. You can also see when people have completed a task and who’s next in the workflow; they should also get a notification when tasks are ready for them, which helps keep everything and everyone on track. 

This is also when you should get to know the team members on the project so you can work with them as well as stakeholders to establish your goals and create a clear action plan. You can do this by creating a project-specific Slack channel for quick updates and a persistent room in a digital workspace like Switchboard room for joint brainstorming and meetings. 

When in doubt: over communicate and cater to different communication styles. For example, follow up on Slack messages with a Loom video for visual learners.

Before you kick off your project, get clear on your company mission and vision statements. These are "a gentle reminder of what your business stands for and expects from the team," says Ashley Russo, Founder and President of ASR Media

Pro tip: Use Switchboard as the single source of truth for all your projects and get your team working together before they start the project. For example, you can create a project-specific persistent room and poll everyone involved on how they're feeling about the project or their preferred communication and working style. This lets you get the ball rolling on effective collaboration before your first important deadline or task. You can also save your communication guidelines so everyone can easily find them anytime.
Polling feature in a Switchboard room
Switchboard helps keep teams on the same page before the project starts. Source: Switchboard

Benefits of collaboration at this stage 

When it comes to communication, Ashley states that: "Developing a team playbook that compares each member’s communication styles and motivators is a game changer. Once we understand each other better we are able to see challenges as opportunities and remove some of the emotions that can bubble up in collaborative environments."

By asking questions, you can better understand different viewpoints and preferences before you've started the project. This makes it easier to collaborate with stakeholders based on how they like to communicate. 

This is especially important since some team members may prefer direct and concise communication like short instant messaging, while others may appreciate more detailed explanations or visual aids like a presentation or video. 

Collaborating during the project initiation stage also lets team members share ideas and perspectives, resulting in more innovative solutions that keep your project on track. 

For example, if you collaborate at the concept stage, you get clarity and alignment on goals, resources, and potential areas of friction, which helps set you up for success. This means everyone knows what's expected of them and what they can expect from each other. Similarly, working together with team members to agree on timelines and deliverables makes it more likely those targets will be met. 

Here are some other notable benefits to collaborating with your team at the beginning of a project: 

  • Less vulnerable to setbacks. Stakeholders can contribute their insights and expertise to identify risks that might have been overlooked by an individual. This collaborative effort helps prevent project pushbacks. For example, a software development team working together to plan a product launch can identify potential security vulnerabilities and develop strategies to mitigate these.  
  • Better resource allocation and improved problem-solving. Team members can share their expertise and provide input on resource requirements, such as equipment, budget, and personnel. For instance, a project team collaborating on an event planning tool project can collectively figure out the necessary resources and allocate them to different tasks and activities, like features development or marketing. 

During the project 

Now that you've created a project plan, it's time to enter the execution stage, where everything comes together to make your project possible. For NASA and the ESA, this meant designing, building, and launching the Hubble telescope into space, and working together with ground control centers to monitor the rocket's performance and status.

What happens at this stage 

This phase involves implementing and delivering on the project plan, coordinating resources, and performing assigned tasks on time and to spec. Team members carry out individual assigned tasks and work toward deliverables, while project managers oversee progress, track milestones, and manage any changes or issues that arise.

Depending on the project, this phase might also include beta testing and quality assurance checks to make sure deliverables meet stakeholder expectations. For example, getting a small, select group of early adopters to try out a new beta feature of your product.

It's also important to note that communication and engagement with stakeholders continue during the execution stage. This means project managers and team members need to provide regular updates on project progress, as well as address concerns, and manage expectations. 

And, of course, every team should continue to be involved (where appropriate) right through to delivery. For example, your product team might work with marketing to help them understand how to position your product before rolling out a new update. Helping them understand functionality and benefits puts marketing in a better position to communicate those to your users.  

How teams can collaborate

To work more effectively with your team during the project, you need collaboration strategies that allow everyone to combine their skills, knowledge, and expertise. For example: 

  • Encourage cross-functional collaboration. Facilitate cross-functional team meetings, workshops, or joint problem-solving sessions on a regular basis. 
  • Use collaboration tools. For example, project management software like Asana, document-sharing platforms like Notion, virtual meeting tools like Google Meet, or instant messaging platforms like Slack. Collaborative digital workspaces like Switchboard let you work on projects async and in real-time and keep all your browser-based apps, documents, and files in one place—making it easier to work together and communicate in context. 
  • Enable regular interactions. Use your persistent Switchboard room for meetings and team building activities and as a space to discuss project progress, challenges, and upcoming tasks. Spontaneous interactions help build cohesive teams and make people feel more accountable to each other. This makes them more likely to work well together. 
  • Promote trust and psychological safety. Build trust among team members by promoting a culture of respect, trustworthiness, and support. Ashley affirms you can do this by "ending meetings with a moment of gratitude from each person–this is incredibly powerful in building collaborative teams who trust each other."

Benefits of collaboration at this stage 

Working with your team during project execution and delivery can improve your chances of success—and have a positive impact on your bottom line.

Let’s take a look at the benefits of collaborating during your project in-depth: 

  • Improved financial performance. As Harvard Business Review (HBR) states, “Cross-silo collaboration… can help organizations cope with a volatile competitive environment, innovate faster, and grow revenues.” Among other examples, it cites a global bank that improved customer service scores by 8% and branch financial performance by 17%. It did this by improving collaboration among specialists in branches. There’s also the example of a consulting firm that improved partner collaboration to the tune of a 34% increase in annual revenues. 
  • Stronger, happier, more connected teams. In Howspace’s State of Collaboration report, just 10% of employees strongly agree that their voice is heard, even though it's high on their list of employer expectations. This means that by making collaboration an integral part of your project, you can improve employee satisfaction and their sense of belonging. 
  • More flexible, adaptable, and resilient teams. Forty-nine percent of employees claim they need to collaborate more to be good at their job. This means that, when given the opportunity to work with other team members, they're more likely to develop the relationships, solutions, and skills they need to succeed. 
  • Better employee retention. The HBR study referenced above shows that new hires who collaborate on projects are at least 65% more likely to stay long enough at the company and become productive and profitable than non-collaborative peers. This means employees who work together to solve problems will ultimately stick around longer. 
"We have been able to significantly improve our on-time delivery by bringing various departments together to come up with solutions." Ashley Russo, Founder and President of ASR Media

After project completion  

Over the years, the Hubble telescope has undergone multiple service missions to improve its instruments and image quality. This has taken multiple iterations and project improvements—not to mention cross-team effort. 

You see, collaboration doesn't simply end after the project's over: As well as ongoing improvements, you can get some of your best insights and learnings by assessing what went well and what didn't, together with your team. 

What happens at this stage 

The closure stage involves analyzing the project's outputs, conducting a post-project review or evaluation, documenting lessons learned, and celebrating project success. 

There are also key administrative tasks that take place after the project, such as archiving project documents and conducting final financial closeouts. 

How teams can collaborate

While the project itself might be completed, it's crucial to encourage a culture of continuous learning and improvement. This involves offering opportunities for team members to share knowledge, insights, and lessons learned. 

For example, the project manager can create a live document where every team member reflects on project strengths and weaknesses. Or you can host a real-time debrief session with your team to voice any frustrations and come up with solutions for the future.

Project teams can also collaborate with customer service teams to gather client and stakeholder feedback and learn from their input and ideas. 

Pro tip: Switchboard lets you keep the project room open and accessible to everyone even after the project's over. Keep all your meeting materials including browser-based files, documents, apps, and meeting recordings in one place to encourage collaboration and continuous learning—and improve for next time.
Screenshot of Switchboard room with multiple files
Switchboard's persistent rooms keep everything in one place, so you can come back to important project files and learnings anytime. Source: Switchboard

Benefits of collaboration at this stage 

Coming together to improve how you organize, run, and execute projects can help you achieve better results down the line. 

Here's how: 

  • More learning opportunities and skills development. Project reviews and self-assessments can help pinpoint areas of growth for individuals, teams, and the company as a whole. This makes it easier to spot specific opportunities to develop skills and processes, improve client relationships, and keep employees challenged and performing at their best. 
  • Increased sense of shared ownership and accountability. Keeping everyone in the loop about important project outcomes can keep your people more invested in their role and your company, and motivate them to do their best work. 

Collaborative projects: The key to stellar results 

Collaborative projects like the Hubble telescope have the power to turn an on-paper idea into a reality that's flying above our heads right now, actively capturing images of the constellations. 

When people work together, they can make magic happen—and this doesn't only apply to NASA. 

As a whole, cohesive teams perform better, but collaboration can sometimes be hard to pull off, especially on complex or long-running projects. It's important to understand the benefits of highly collaborative projects–and what’s involved at each project stage–so you can keep improving. 

For example, at the initiation and planning stage, team collaboration and working together with external stakeholders help prevent setbacks and increase innovative thinking. At the execution stage, working with your team can improve employee retention and get better results for your clients. At the closing stage, using teamwork to extract learnings means more growth opportunities. 

According to Ashley Russo, "Most people want to have the opportunity to be collaborative but may have past experiences that hold them back. As a leader, it is our job to bring out the best in our team and give them the time and resources to grow to their full potential.” 

And when you use a collaborative digital workspace like Switchboard with persistent rooms that save your work, you can empower your teams to do just that. 

Get everyone working better together.
Switchboard’s collaborative digital workspace lets you work side-by-side on any type of project.
Learn more

Frequently asked questions about the benefits of collaborative projects 

What is the advantage of a group project?

The advantage of a group project is that it gives everyone a common goal to work toward, which increases productivity, employee engagement, and profitability. It lets team members bounce ideas off each other to come up with creative solutions, better allocate resources, and improve decision-making. With collaborative knowledge-sharing, employees are also more likely to stick around longer, which keeps your company culture thriving.

Stop, collaborate, and listen

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Get everyone working better together.

Switchboard’s collaborative digital workspace lets you work side-by-side in persistent rooms on any type of project.