9 Effective Ways to Improve Collaborations in Product Development

Posted by Maziar Adl
Maziar Adl
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Multi-stakeholder processes require collaborations to be effective. Think of your own company and all the different departments and teams involved in developing your products. You have your designers and engineers who create the ideas for the products or the new features that will be integrated. You have the entire production team that covers sourcing materials, manufacturing components, and assembly. Then, there’s the marketing team is in charge of promoting the end product. All these players have significant roles to fill that depend on each other, and no one can complete their work in isolation.


As the product manager, you bring everyone together, ensure all parties are informed, and facilitating the sharing of information to keep the entire process moving happily along the track towards the end goal. The amount of experience you have in bringing teams together will partly determine how successful you are at facilitating collaboration. Even the most seasoned managers have difficulty facilitating collaboration when they don’t have the proper tools. Here are nine ways to better connect your teams and examples of how a robust product management tool can solve those problems


1. Connecting the Stakeholders

Collaboration cannot happen without the right parties involved. The first step is to identify all the partners in the product development process and invite them to join the conversation. With the right tool, you can bring multiple departments on board to plan, discuss, and strategize more effectively in one digital space regardless of timezone and location. Once all the stakeholders are connected, the rest of the process will flow much stronger.


2. Get Everyone On Board Earlier

The earlier all of your players get involved in the planning process, the better it is for developing the product. If one department is excluded from the initial discussion, it can cause problems throughout the process. For example, it could lead to production details requiring reworking. If the appropriate partners were at the table from the start, the team would have ironed out those details at the beginning stage. 


Each stakeholder has a unique angle to bring to the table, and the best product development roadmaps incorporate input from everyone. Having comprehensive information helps avoid obvious errors and mistakes in the planning stage. Inviting the engineering, marketing, and product teams to work closely from the start of the planning cycle will lead to more efficient work throughout the timeline. 


3. Build Better Communication Channels

Collaboration is never easy. The more minds that are involved in a process, the more ideas arise. Having a group of intelligent people working together is what we want, but those ideas and opinions don’t always align smoothly with others. In order to create effective collaborations, it’s necessary to have several things in place, primarily effective communication channels. Without a way to discuss, comment, and offer feedback, true collaboration cannot take place. Using a product management tool can help facilitate this communication for real-time discussions. 


4. Shared Data and Accessibility

As the product manager, you need to have the right tools in place to make important information accessible to everyone for the collaboration to happen. Having a single location to store, access, and discuss data makes it easier to facilitate comments and feedback. Standardized reports that the entire team can view and comment on helps make working together flow smoothly and quickly. 


5. Real-Time Discussion

When everyone has access to the same information in a shared space, it makes having real-time discussions possible. With software such as Gocious, you can have multiple team members working on the same files and reports together. Each team member will receive alerts when new changes have been made and can watch the updates happen instantly. Imagine how efficiently your next meeting will be when your team can collaborate on documents and reports ahead of time. 


6. Work Together From Anywhere

Companies can have teams working in many geographical locations in our globalized world. Your colleagues may all work from the same office or spread out across the country. You might even have colleagues located around the globe, depending on the locations of your facilities and the size of your company. With the locations in mind, it’s essential to have methods of communication that allow for collaboration from anywhere. 


Software such as Gocious, allows you to communicate, discuss, and access data from anywhere and on different devices. Whether your stakeholders are located in different countries, or you simply need to move from your office to your mobile device while traveling, you can stay connected anywhere you go.


7. Sharing Data and Version Control 

Have you ever discussed a report only to realize that not everyone on the team had access to the most up-to-date version? This can be frustrating, not to mention a waste of everyone’s time. Fortunately, when you use a product management tool that allows for easy sharing of reports and always includes the most up-to-date version, regardless of when you posted the link, you ensure everyone is on the same page. Automatic updates reduce the risk of confusion and remove the stress of version control.  


8. Easily Prepare for Presentations

Giving presentations is an important part of product development. Having access to collaborative documents makes preparing for presentations simpler. You’ll have confidence knowing your data is current and that you’re well informed on every aspect of the product roadmap. If you’re using Gocious, you’ll have access to the latest versions of your KPI reports as well as your collaborative team comments and insights. Demonstrating your thorough knowledge of the product will also boost the level of confidence your executives have in your work. 


9. Collaborative Analysis

After the launch of a product, there needs to be continued communication to assess and analyze the process. Having all team members share their feedback on the plan, communication, obstacles, and different solutions is invaluable to improving your roadmap for the next launch. When other products overlap in development, it can be beneficial to take the valuable lessons discovered on product A and apply them to product B to improve the results, even if you’re in the middle of the process. 


Additionally, taking the time to acknowledge the team’s wins and celebrate the finished product helps to build rapport and stronger connections between the departments. 


The Importance of Product Management Software in Collaboration

To be a successful product manager, you need to have the skills to organize and facilitate effective collaboration within your company. It takes a lot of people to make a successful product, and none of it is possible without communication and collaboration. We know that the most skilled managers still require assistance, which is why we created Gocious to reduce your workload and streamline collaboration. Request your free demonstration today to see how Gocious can benefit you. 

Topics: Product Management, Product Development, PRM

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