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We’ve all experienced it many times—and we dread experiencing it again. No, I’m not referring to traffic jams or flight delays. Yes, those are tedious, but we’re talking about something even more deflating: when workplace collaboration descends into chaos. Here are the top 7 reasons why:

collaboration into chaos

1. The Loop is Too Small

This happens when all relevant stakeholders, including customers, contractors and sponsors, aren’t equipped with tools they need to effectively and efficiently collaborate. Email, spreadsheets and home grown software don’t close this gap and never will.

2. There’s Little or No Context

Without context, individuals and teams can’t instantly associate information with work objects, such as discussions, tasks and reports of projects. This forces them to waste time trying to connect the dots and cobble together a cohesive and coherent picture. At best they get a hazy outline of what’s going on. At worst, they get lost and have to guess their way forward.

3. One-Size-DOESN’T-Fit-All

All teams don’t have the same collaboration needs. For some, effective collaboration might depend on getting a weekly report that highlights metrics, KPIs, issues and strategic decisions. For others, effective collaboration might depend on getting brief, standardized updates throughout the day via a widget. As we’ve all learned from buying sweaters: one-size-fits-all never really fits anyone well.

4. Lack of Employee Engagement

Collaboration is a great idea that will forever stay that way if the workforce is overtaken by zombies who have turned off and checked out. And most of the time, it’s not their fault. It’s because they aren’t empowered, aligned and inspired. For signs that disengaged employees roam your enterprise hallways, click here.

5. Silos, Silos and More Silos

If the landscape is riddled with silos, then it doesn’t matter much employees want to collaborate, they won’t be able to. This doesn’t mean that all teams need to co-locate, hold hands and sing campfire songs (at least not indoors). But it does mean that cross-functional teams need to be technologically enabled and politically empowered share knowledge, align strategy, and develop solutions.

6. Lack of Integration

Teams can’t effectively collaborate if some people are relying on updated data, and others are relying on outdated data. Yet this is what happens when information is buried inside various systems in the environment, as project management software, accounting software, CRM, HRIS and so on. Providing all team members with a single-source-of-truth, and a way to integrate, is essential. Otherwise, they can’t speak the same language or get on the same page.

7. Not Using a True CWM

Conventional portfolio and project management software is where collaboration goes to die. The lack of flexibility and customization, combined with integration hassles steep learning curves, invariably leads to an excess of conversation (i.e. mountainous email chains with cc: lists that grow bigger by the day, etc.), yet precious little collaboration. The way out of this anti-collaboration maze is by using a true collaborative work management (CWM) solution like Clarizen, which was designated by analysts as “leading the pack” in the Forrester Wave™: Enterprise Collaborative Work Management report. Want to learn more? Download your complimentary copy today.

Collaborative and Chaos-free

Effective collaboration isn’t just about driving success. In today’s fast-paced landscape where business agility is a mindset and not just a methodology, it’s a matter of long-term survival. Enterprises that steer clear of these seven things will find that the road ahead remains collaborative and chaos-free.