Hybrid work has become the preferred way to work for many companies, and organizations now rely on collaborative work management software and highly customizable tools to eliminate manual modes of communication. This collaborative work management (CWM) approach ensures that employees are empowered to collaborate, communicate, complete tasks, and access data effectively.
In CWM, standard tools and features include videoconferencing, direct messaging, screen sharing, collaborative project tracking, and document filing. More specialized features can be made available to teams that need them, e.g. project managers, business leaders, or data analysts.
What is Collaborative Work Management?
Collaborative work management is a type of work management that emphasizes seamless communication and collaboration across organizations. Any collaborative work management tool or software eliminates various modes of manual communication and creates a central hub for all users.
Employees have access to shared dashboards, data systems, apps, and shared virtual workspaces where users can manage projects, communicate with team members, view documents and data files, and track tasks.
How Collaborative Work Management Differs From Traditional Project Management
Traditional project management focuses on a specific process and output (e.g. project delivery) rather than improving ongoing workflows throughout the organization. With CWM, collaborative software provides tools to combine workflows and other company processes which may include specialized projects.
Other benefits include automation of repetitive tasks, shared analytics, and day-to-day collaboration. The main concern is ensuring seamless work planning and execution for users.
It works across teams
Unlike traditional management, collaboration software integrates all teams, not just one team tasked with a project. This arrangement allows collaboration between different departments and helps reduce time-consuming tasks like accessing different apps or analog tools to communicate.
It transcends location
One of the main differences between CWM and traditional project management is that users don’t have to be location-specific to use collaboration software tools or apps. Everyone relevant to the project or organization stays connected to other users, no matter where they are.
This opens up opportunities for collaboration with teams or companies in other time zones, regions, etc.
It focuses on collective productivity, not individual performance
While traditional project management highlights the need for individuals to complete their assigned tasks to help complete the project, CWM underscores collective productivity. With collaboration software, easy-to-use tools also help reduce time wasted on teams learning how to use multiple tech tools or executing repetitive, manual tasks such as filling out forms.
The Benefits of Collaborative Work Management Software
The benefits of CWM manifest in different ways throughout the company.
Increased team and individual efficiency
Not only does CWM enable personal efficiency through task management and performance tracking tools, but it pushes for increased team efficiency, too. A well-integrated CWM software helps reduce time spent in team meetings and using multiple tools and programs, all while reminding users of a common goal through collaboration.
All the teams can communicate efficiently, identify mistakes, complete to-do lists, and keep track of each other's work by making all the tasks transparent to all.
Supports remote work
CWM software reduces (and in some cases, eliminates) the need for physical offices while keeping the team on the same page.
In turn, this reduces overhead costs such as office rent, utilities, building insurance, etc. Again, CWM reduces the need for in-person and online team meetings, thanks to a collaborative workspace and different modes of online communication–as a result, employees can save time.
Collaboration tools eliminate the need for different licenses for multiple programs, e.g. videoconferencing, sales software, presentation software, data storage software, etc. which typically require per-person memberships. Without a collaboration tool, it can be costly to equip all the employees in a large team with multiple tools and software accounts.
Makes data accessible to the team
A free flow of information and an organized repository helps in enabling employees to access the data they need whenever they need it. Additionally, CWM software provides security for company data, which may be more vulnerable if the files are floating around in multiple sources, as is the case with traditional management in many companies.
At any given time, employees are aware of ongoing projects, company news, upcoming collaboration, and other pertinent information throughout the company. This not only reduces the need to ask Person X for access to a certain document, but this also applies to less technical data such as colleagues’ work progress or collaborations.
Everyone is aware of (or can be made aware of) any ongoing projects. Depending on the project management software and apps available, users can also leave comments, use time-tracking tools, delegate roles, or share ideas with the business.
Better overall management
With information accessible to teams and collaboration encouraged, CWM paves the way for better management overall. Additionally, the emphasis on transparency allows team members to pitch ideas that may transform a workflow, process, or company strategy.
Employees, particularly project managers, can extract insights from previous project data to help inform future decisions, all the while securing sensitive information.
How to Choose Collaborative Work Management Tools
There are many collaborative work management tools that tout themselves to be the next best thing in task execution and digital transformation in the workplace. There are several ways to determine the best tools, features, or software for you and your team.
Identify what your team needs most
You might ask yourself what tool or feature your organization might benefit from the most.
Ability to share data and collaborate
Presentation sharing tools
Software for online meetings
Advanced messaging/communication features
Highly Customizable project management and progress tracking tools
Compatibility with different devices and other apps, e.g. Google Drive, Zoom
Ease of use and ease of adoption
Some project management tools are intuitive and require no technical know-how, allowing every team member to learn how to use it sans intensive workshops. Other collaboration tools may require a steep learning curve that could discourage teams/team members from fully embracing them and preventing integration.
When considering different CWM software, consider if employees will need training. If yes, do you have the resources available to provide training?
Can the average team member learn how to use the CWM tool in a reasonable time frame without disrupting their work?
What to look for
The value of CWM features and tools differs from team to team. The following features/tools can help narrow down your choices.
Some features may not be available in the free version or on mobile devices.
Compatibility and ease of integration with existing systems
Shared workspaces and dashboards
Different communication methods (E.g. direct messaging, video calling, group messaging)
Project tracking and planning
Performance management/task management tool
Employee engagement (E.g. pulse surveys, employee awards, newsfeed for company events)
Improved workflows and automated forms
Availability of a free version for trial
What is collaborative work management?
Collaborative work management, or CWM, is a type of project management process where employees have access to a shared dashboard, data system, and other tools that allow them to execute assigned tasks. Employees may establish their own processes or utilize the CWM software and features to build a process that emphasizes excellent collaboration within the business while ensuring personal performance.
What are collaborative work management tools?
Collaborative work management tools include videoconferencing, instant messaging, file and document sharing, cloud storage, task management, business performance tracking, and more. These tools help retire time-consuming business processes by integrating communication and collaboration workflows into a single dashboard.
How do collaborative work management tools improve project management?
Work management tools improve project management by providing various effective modes of communication regardless of different locations and teams. Features like being able to assign tasks, monitor progress, access previous work data, and automate documentation help streamline processes and eliminate time, effort, and resources spent compared to traditional project management.