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If data is the new oil in today’s rapidly changing workspace environment, then collaboration is the new capital – because aligning teams to rapidly and intelligently get things done isn’t just a question of success: in the long run, it’s a matter of survival.

Of course, most organizations are already well aware that collaboration is essential. Unfortunately, they’re also aware that in their workspace, the activity that they reluctantly call collaboration is more aptly (or at least more honestly) described as chaos.

Workspace Wisdom_What to Do When Collaboration Turns into ChaosWhy chaos? Because instead of ushering work forward towards completion, team members find themselves obliged or compelled to knock it back and forth – and sometimes backwards. As such, instead of a straightforward path, the work journey resembles the frenetic flight of a pinball, precariously threatening to head down the gutter at any moment.

Fortunately, teams and organizations don’t have to let chaos reign in their workspace. Instead, they can transform it back into effective in-context collaboration with the following 3 tips:

1. Assign Roles & Responsibilities

An immense amount of workspace chaos is by default rather than design, because team members don’t clearly know how they should collaborate.

For example, team members who are included in emails or discussion posts may not understand why. Or they may believe that they’re being asked for input, when they’re actually being given a heads-up (or the other way around).

Mapping out roles and responsibilities – and adjusting the map as necessary – goes a long way towards helping team members actually collaborate vs. attempt to collaborate.

An immense amount of workspace chaos is by default rather than design, because team members don’t clearly know how they should collaborate.

For example, team members who are included in emails or discussion posts may not understand why. Or they may believe that they’re being asked for input, when they’re actually being given a heads-up (or the other way around).

Mapping out roles and responsibilities – and adjusting the map as necessary – goes a long way towards helping team members actually collaborate vs. attempt to collaborate.

By its very nature, collaboration – even for serious issues – has an inherently creative, organic and spontaneous quality. In other words, fresh ideas and insights are what matters; not abiding by Robert’s Rules of Order.

However, to keep collaboration from devolving into chaos, it’s vital to set and enforce basic standards, such as how long team members should take to respond to requests, the respectful tone that should characterize communications at all times, how disagreements should be resolved, who has final say or decision making authority, and so on.

Remember: the idea here isn’t to snuff out diversity and make everyone act the same. Rather, it’s to draw a line in the workspace sand so everyone knows where collaboration ends – and where chaos begins.

3. Make Technology Part of the Solution

Many organizations believe that their project management software is helping their teams collaborate. Sadly, many organizations are wrong.

Truly, it’s not their fault. Everything they read and heard about their project management software told a glorious collaboration story, complete with great out-of-the-box features and tools. Yet instead of bringing their people together and putting them on the same page, the software is doing the opposite: putting up walls and silos.

The solution – which is perhaps better described as liberation – is to send conventional project management software to the virtual dustbin, and replace it with a collaborative work management platform like Clarizen, which was built from the ground up to bring high performance teams together, align them to complete activities and achieve objectives, and make collaboration simple, easy, effective and enjoyable.

Learn More

If collaboration in your workspace is bordering on chaos – or may have crossed the border quite a while ago – then Clarizen can help. Learn more by taking a product tour, or watching a live demo.


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Preview: Gartner Market Guide for Adaptive Project Management & Reporting

Pick a PPM solution with the best capabilities to match your unique needs


In the Gartner Market Guide for Adaptive Project Management & Reporting guide, Gartner, Inc. provides recommendations and evaluation criteria for executives and PMO leaders assessing Project and Portfolio Management (PPM) solutions. This guide outlines the adaptive project management and reporting process flow as well as a market review of current providers in the following categories:

  • - Existing pure-play PPM providers
  • - Collaborative work management (CWM) providers
  • - Enterprise agile planning (EAP) providers
  • - Technology Platform providers from other markets

The guide provides insight into how well a product or service fulfills certain functional capabilities – with a forward-looking market direction and analysis provided.

In the report, Gartner, Inc. mentions/states that “by 2024, 50% of all program and portfolio management (PPM) leaders will integrate complementary technologies to enable portfolio decision making and adaptive work management for digital business evolution.”

Clarizen offers a complete solution that connects work across the enterprise, turning ideas into strategies, plans, and action. With Clarizen, organizations can work the way they want to work and have real time visibility across all workstreams in their portfolio. This keeps teams focused on the things that matter, provides the real-time information needed to make more accurate and timely decisions, and delivers results faster to meet and even exceed company goals and customers’ expectations.

Discover what sets Clarizen apart from other vendors in the marketplace.
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Buyer’s guide to project management software
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