Research conducted in MIT's Human Dynamics Laboratory showed that 50 percent of team performance is attributed to the way teams communicate.
Reporting the findings in HBR's The New Science of Building Great Teams, the study's lead author, Alex "Sandy" Pentland, said the research team wanted to find the "it factor" in team performance. The laboratory identified group dynamics that characterize high-performing teams.
As Pentland said, "...we found that the best predictors of productivity were a team's energy and engagement outside formal meetings." The researchers' vision is that teams can be taught how to strengthen the energy, creativity, and shared commitment to far surpass other teams.
At Glip, the new team collaboration platform launched this year has taken this research to heart. The communication in Glip stems from continuous text and video chat among other team activities, like task management right in the activity stream.
Co-founder Claudio Pinkus says the voracious communication patterns that excel in Glip are generated by creative agencies and teams who require real-time participation.
What I like about Glip? You don't have to think about how it works, which is the statement Pinkus had said that drove my curiosity.
See the profile, Glip for Greater Team Collaboration.
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Time is the greatest advantage you can have that enables you to accomplish many things.
But, one of the hard lessons to learn is that to create more time in your day, you have to become organized.
Over the last several weeks, I created a 30-Day Recipe Wiki Challenge. If you've missed why you would want to create a recipe wiki, you can read: 10 Reasons to Create a Recipe Wiki. And by the way, you can learn to build a wiki for other purposes using this same approach.
Through this 30-day challenge, I found more time to do other things because I forced myself to become organized. Efficiency in your professional and personal life is worth the extra time to get and stay organized. You will be amazed at the results when you free up more time.
Lesson 4 is available now: Adding Wiki Recipe Pages
If you have any questions throughout this challenge in creating your own recipe wiki, you may email me. I would be glad to help you.
Image copyright Alistair Berg/Getty Images 2014
Do we always make the most of our time at work? It's TGIF time, so perhaps we can use these three software design techniques to improve our productivity, even on Friday afternoon. So when the weekend comes around, we can make the most of our personal time.
Kanban boards - Visual tools like Kanban boards help teams see the workflow at a glance and manage tasks by process stages of completion, like Due Today, In Process, or Done.
Read about: Kanban Board Tools for Project Collaboration
Time tracking - Several ways we can track time on projects and tasks is by using a timer. The concept of using a timer is similar to interval training, that is accomplished by working in short bursts and then taking a break (sounds like my approach!).
Read about: Time tracking apps
Viewable metrics - Are you able to see how much time is spent per step in your sales process? I found a new tool useful to see where your time is producing the most value.
Read about: Stride's Sales Tracking App
What can we do to improve productivity? Share your insights and tips in the comments or in an email.
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In the HBR article, The Third Wave of Virtual Work, authors Tammy Johns and Lynda Gratton write about the evolving virtual work models of freelancers, corporate colleagues, and coworkers. The authors advise to focus on a more holistic approach to collaboration, especially the investment in intuitive technology,
"The surest route to greater innovation and efficiency is to invest in intuitive collaboration technology that becomes part of the regular flow of work."
Another source of research (IDC) shows a remote workforce that is anticipated to grow as much as 37 percent of the total workforce by 2015. With that said, collaboration tools will continue to grow in importance to accommodate teams in the field or working from home.
In my review of TeamGantt, we can see a simple yet effective project scheduling tool fulfilling collaborative needs to share files and send messages to one another. The TeamGantt cofounders, Nathan Gilmore and John Correlli are skillful in bringing a fresh newer social experiences to project scheduling, which may be the single most important software to keep remote or field based teams in sync.
Read the review of TeamGantt to be inspired with a simple new approach to collaborative work that may revolve around your project schedule.
Also, you may interested to see other project apps that are modernizing the classic Gantt chart. Read a quick review of project management apps that can help add interactive Gantt charting functionality for your team's work process.
More web apps like TeamGantt will surely help virtual teams manage project schedules in simpler ways with a focus on social collaboration. We are at a crossroad where simplicity meets complexity -- or could we say, where the beauty in simplifying software meets the beast?
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Time with family is precious for most people nowadays, especially in our hyper-connected lives, where we work from smartphones and tablets all day. But what if we could combine some sort of work challenge into a family project?
Our 30-day Recipe Wiki Challenge is an ideal project for every member of the family. Over the course of 30 days, you can build a wiki for the family cookbook, and learn about how to build a wiki to use at work for other purposes like a research site or technical support community.
More importantly, this family project gives everyone a chance to contribute, whether it is dad's expertise grilling or the young children with great ideas for combining nutritional ingredients, like peanut butter spread on sliced apples. Let's not forget about mom who is building your family's own wiki site online.
Projects like the 30-day recipe wiki gives everyone a chance to share their experiences and knowledge and contribute to a project you will all be proud of when it is completed.
The next lesson is now available online: Lesson 3 - Creating the Wiki Structure.
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As Friday rolls around, are you reminded of a status report due? Of course we're thinking of the weekend, but we still have work to do.
Our software developers covered here have added finer details for efficiently tracking and reporting on projects, like forecasting resource needs, tracking time on tasks, and completing projects on time. Now that sounds like we'll get that personal time we're after.
Time Recording on Task: An accurate account of time spent on tasks for billing is a requirement for client work. Besides, don't you want to know how you spend your time every day? Asana, the project collaboration tool, partnered with Harvest, a reputable time tracking app that integrates in any given task that you're working on. For Asana's announcement, read: Time Tracking in Asana with Harvest.
Read also: Asana Emphasizes Productivity and Adaptable Workflow to Get Stuff Done
Percent Probability of On Time Finish: Endless project tracking is the order of the day for project managers. But project managers have a new feature in Binfire's cloud-based project management tool to help keep an eye on the target. The project manager's dashboard now gives you stats on the percent probability of the project's chance of finishing on time. For Binfire's announcement, read: A New Kind of Project Management Software.
Audit Trail and Reporting: What if you could forecast support needs before they occur? Clinked, the social collaboration tool, released a new audit trail and reporting feature that enables you to identify trends and allocate resources. For Clinked's announcement, read: Keep Track of Content That Matters.
Read also: Clinked's Wiki Style Project Collaboration
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Do you have mixed feelings, perhaps a little bittersweet, when handed a project that seems either hard or complex? If this is only a perception, imagine the possibilities what you can do. Let me introduce you to the concept of chunking.
In some professional environments, chunking is a way to refer to work breakdown structures (WBS). Chunking breaks steps down into logical steps, like a recipe.
Can I do the project in the timeframe I'm given? Often is the case, people will complain, but you can always ask someone for help on About.com. There are about a thousand experts for every area you can think of in your personal or professional life on About.com to help you.
In Lesson 2 of my 30-day challenge to build your own personal wiki, or what some like to refer to as, your own personal cookbook online, you will choose a wiki tool. Each of the lessons in this 30-day challenge include five steps. I've chunked the lessons into logical topics to help guide you in this wonderful project I know will be beneficial, especially if you like to cook and have collected hundreds or thousands of recipes.
Photo courtesy of Chef Dennis. Copyright 2014.
The creative power of wikis is increased by the amount of users who contribute to the wiki project, if you consider the size and scope of Wikipedia. But, an important factor in getting started is managing your education and expectations.
I've prepared quick tips to help you in Getting Started with Wikis for Any Size Project.
Maybe you are among a breed of technology users who loves to create and build, which is why wikis are adaptable for so many people:
- Teachers create course materials and set up class assignments.
- Small business professionals manage projects for clients.
- Groups within a corporate network independently build access to its knowledge resources.
- Sports teams manage the connections with members and its resources.
- Homemakers manage household projects.
Whether you've decided to build your own wiki, or you're about to dive into a ready-built wiki, it is the most practical solution for building a knowledge base of any kind. So unleash your creativity!
Are you spending an hour or more looking for a recipe in your clippings file?
In my quest to work more efficiently, in my personal and professional life, I decided to abandon my old recipe clipping file and convert the recipes to digital files. I am creating a recipe wiki challenge for the next 30 days to do with friends and family and I am extending an open invitation to readers on About.com to join me.
Creating a recipe wiki with others will be a lot easier to do together so we can compare notes. You can also email me with questions and I will post answers for the rest of the community on About.com.
Every Monday, my collaboration tools newsletter is delivered to your inbox. One to two lessons will be included in the newsletter over the next 30 days that will take about an hour. You can proceed at your own pace. Sign up to receive newsletter
Not sure a recipe wiki is for you? I found ten reasons to build a recipe wiki to help you decide for yourself. 10 Reasons to Build a Recipe Wiki
Let's go forward into the digital age together!
Ready to begin? If you've already signup up to receive the newsletter, here's an advance reading for Lesson 1.
Updated: February 10, 2014
In case you missed Ms. Clay's webinar, you may want to reach out for a copy of the presentation. What did I find most helpful? The Business Impact Map! Some may refer to the impact map as a road map, which are similar in scope.
Rah, rah. Sure, we get 30,000 visitors to attend a training webinar. But most people will sign off before the scheduled time ends, according to statistics.
Furthermore, statistics show your training program may often fizzle after launch, according to Cythia Clay, an authority on virtual training. See Training tips from Ms. Clay.
Join Ms. Clay, owner of Netspeed Learning Solutions online, to learn the Five Keys for Flawless Virtual Training Implementation February 6th, 2014, from 1:00 - 2:00 PM EST. This one hour webinar is designed for executives, engineers, marketers, and even trainers (yes, we can always improve). You will see why.