Describe the problem
Imagine yourself working on a given task, try to visualize the thought process and put yourself into the user’s shoes. How does it feel? Would you experience a blast of ideas popping out of your head or rather a headache?
People who must figure out 90% of their daily work alone may already feel overwhelmed. What’s interesting, the problem doesn’t only concern creative groups but also developers in a variety of different domains and is not measured in the amount of work but in the work quality, a single person has to provide in order to meet the expectations.
Clarify the problem
Whenever you design an app or write a new feature, you need a perspective, opinion, data, expertise, and users to properly address the problem before the actual work kicks in. All the mentioned things do matter, but the key are the people who may give you all the insights.
Let me give you an example. A couple of weeks back I met a friend who shared with me how hard and uncomfortable it is for him to work alone. He was building a security layer for the backend system. This is not a matter of skills or expertise. He is a great developer not only because he knows how to code but also because he is able to admit that he can’t be sure all the time, especially when he had security to figure out but also was the only guy who has been building the app.
This situation got me thinking about how a lack of another perspective, option to discuss solutions or possibility to use someone’s experience can affect the quality of your work. This wouldn’t have been a problem if this guy had a teammate who known the architecture so they could figure out the task together. You may not hear these stories often because people are not usually so transparent, but the truth is great developers, designers… people are not scared to ask for help.
Having someone with whom you are able to break down the problem, set actionable elements and determine the right tools is greatly appreciated but only by those who have already worked hand in hand with someone. Why? Because collaboration is not something you will appreciate in the first place. It’s simply an uncomfortable and rough ground for many “one-man army” folks out there. Sometimes you will have to kill ideas, or simply start over. As Scott Belsky said in one of his books, “Sometimes a reset is the only way forward.” You must try it with the right people to feel the real power and benefits of it.
Pave the way for forward-thinking
Finding the right partner in crime may be hard but as long as you work in the team under the same roof, the problem isn’t as hard as it sounds. It’s a bit different for folks working remotely or in separated teams, which may require empathy to create a good working environment.
Finding a partner to work with doesn’t mean you will have to collaborate with them full time, 5 days a week. You may need someone to work with, someone who appears to be in a targeted group of users you are building an app for. It can be a developer with the same expertise you enjoyed talking to during the last team-building party- it’s literally not as hard as it seems to be.
Create a precise environment
Understanding the power of collaboration is important to conclude the problem we aim for. Whenever we deal with a high priority task, a new feature in the existing or advanced security solution, a wider perspective, and additional expertise may be crucial for the success of the product you are involved in.
Depending on the complexity of the task, it may require a simple one-hour meeting or three one-hour meetings a week so remember to be clear about what you want to accomplish.
Transparency in the team be, it is a client or caretaker is also essential. It may take you a couple of minutes to convince them, present costs and show the positive outcomes.
Check the list
Things to keep in mind while starting your collaboration:
- Make sure your partner or the team understand why you need their help (Why)
- Propose to them how you’d like to work on it – be open to suggestions (How)
- Be precise about your expectations and what do you want to achieve (What)
Sometimes familiarizing people with the problem takes time, a lot of time. You must understand the investment, and I can assure you, it usually pays off quickly.
Once you check-marked all of the above and stopped looking for excuses, kick it off!
I can promise – as soon as you blend your ideas with your teams, you’ll understand the power of a few committed people working together.
While encouraging people to work together, you need to build trust and understanding of where people expertise lies. Without a doubt, this is an investment, but to get your ROI, you must simply put some trust in people.
To create that sense of safety, you need to respect each other, especially at times when everyone has strong opinions about the discussed things, or when the ability to compromise is something crucial. This sort of “power” creates strong and remarkable teams.
At Tooploox we truly care about what we do. That’s why we’re fully transparent with our partners and whenever we see a bottleneck, we analyze the situation and we are always ready to support it with additional know-how in order to deliver uncompromised and outstanding results.