The reality of any form of collaboration on a project in today's world is that teams are faced with increasingly complex challenges and are more distributed than ever before. This is certainly true for any software development or IT project, where you might have people from different departments and locations collaborating with outside service providers, consultants, customers, or even out-sourcing firms. And it is also true for any other form of project management in the real world, such as construction projects where you have architects, builders, LEED consultants, engineers, and many contractors and sub-contractors working together.
We hear about these challenges from our customers every day, and I've seen the issues first-hand over the past four years when I undertook a house restoration project to revitalize an 1899 coastal home that had been in disrepair for almost fifty years and we turned it into an energy-efficient green building that achieved LEED For Homes Silver certification. And these collaboration problems are certainly not limited to the software or construction industries - barriers to efficient communication and confusion about roles and responsibilities are a universal issue that plague projects across a broad range of industries and disciplines.
There are several essential pieces that need to come together to enable a distributed team to collaborate effectively and work efficiently:
- Clear communication: all team members need to adopt a shared vocabulary and the same term needs to have the same meaning for everybody. Especially when people are in different locations or come from different backgrounds, any miscommunication can become very costly.
- Central knowledge base: teams have started to adopt wikis and similar content management tools in greater numbers, because they provide an easy way for team members to capture and record any knowledge about the project so that it can easily be shared with others.
- Goal-oriented management of to-dos and task assignments: teams need a way to delegate and monitor assignments, deadlines, and task statuses, allowing each member to stay informed via personalized to-do lists, views, and e-mail notifications.
- Clearly defined roles and responsibilities: as the team grows, people need a single location for managing team roles, responsibilities, and members. When team members have clearly defined roles and responsibilities, they have the autonomy and focus necessary to complete project tasks.
- Proper decision making process: to make decisions appropriately and to document the outcome of every decision as well as the thought process that went into it, the team needs a tool that facilitates decision making by lending structure and transparency to the process. Structured decision making is more efficient, more inclusive, and generates more sustainable outcomes.
Our vision was to provide all these essential components in one easy-to-use cloud-based application. That's why we created MetaTeam and started making it available as a free public beta this week:
MetaTeam is a different kind of project management tool. Designed to support the entire team – not just the project manager – MetaTeam fosters collaboration and promotes a sense of ownership among all project stakeholders. MetaTeam’s individual apps provide all the essential features discussed above to help your team create an environment of transparency and information accessibility.
No matter if you are part of a virtual team, or collaborate with others just within one organization - you need a cloud-based service for project management and efficient team collaboration that can be easily accessed from any device, any computer, any network, and any organization.
While there are already many other online to-do list services around, and even some more elaborate project management systems, most of them lack the essential Glossary and Decision Making components, and none of them provide all the essential components in one place. That's what makes MetaTeam so unique and, therefore, makes teamwork in MetaTeam so productive and rewarding!
For a quick two minute introduction to MetaTeam, please watch the above video, or you can go directly to metateam.net to read more about the different apps in more detail or view the video in a larger window and HD quality.
Once you have done that, click the sign-up button on metateam.net to create your own free beta account and start using MetaTeam for your next project.