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Research Report Team Collaboration Study[1]
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Research Report Team Collaboration Study[1]

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  • 1. Tearing Down the Walls Blocking Collaboration andBetter Business Performance +1 (866) 374-4501 www.esi-intl.ca
  • 2. As the economic recession continues, it is more critical than ever for organizations to opti- mize performance despite tighter budgets and fewer resources. Organizations stand the best chance of getting the most from their projects and initiatives, with current resources, by utilizing and supporting collaborative teams. True collaboration within organizations means that team-oriented, rather than individual, problem solving adds real value to initiatives, improving bottom line results. In this sense, the sum is really more than its parts. To find out if organizations are truly leveraging collaborative teaming efforts for measur- able performance and productivity gains, ESI International conducted a survey of nearly 900 industry and government professionals involved in project activities across Canada. The survey set out to determine: • How successful organizations are in meeting the challenge of eliminating hierarchies, titles and silos to work collaboratively. • How well organizations support project leaders and team members so they can deliver to their fullest potential and improve project and organizational performance. Major Findings • The majority of organizations, in fact, do not work collaboratively, despite the value that they realize would come from better teamwork. • Rigid work structures exist within companies that keep people from working together. • Organizations are not investing in the right mix of skills training needed to improve collaboration on projects and initiatives.2
  • 3. Survey SummaryLess Than One-Third of TeamsEffectively Drive Project SuccessThe survey results show a huge gap between what project professionals believe aboutcollaborative teams and how effective they are in putting collaboration into practice. • 65.5 percent of respondents believe that their organization’s project performance would improve if their teams worked more collaboratively. • Yet, only 27.8 percent of teams are actually working collaboratively and realizing satisfactory project performance and outcomes.Collaboration Has Positive Impact on Project Performance Canadian project professionals say project performance and outcomes: Would improve if our teams 2.1% worked more collaboratively 4.6% Are satisfactory since our teams already work collaboratively Don’t know Wouldn’t be impacted since we don’t currently work across teams 65.5% 27.8% Source: ESI InternationalTearing Down the Walls: Blocking Collaboration and Better Business Performance 3© ESI International, Inc. 2011. All rights reserved.
  • 4. Collaboration Hindered by Work Structure, Hierarchy Just over one-third of teams in Canadian organizations (35.5 percent) work collaboratively. The great majority who are not using collaborative teaming for improved performance point to specific reasons why not: • More than half of respondents (54.6 percent) do not consistently work collaboratively in teams since their work structure is dependent either on the project, the team or the sponsor. • An additional 9.9 percent are hierarchical with little or no collaboration between project roles. Hit-or-Miss Collaboration Between Project Roles In our organization, the roles of project leaders and team members are: Project dependent 1.7% 3% Non-hierarchical/collaboration Hierarchical, with little or no interaction/collaboration between 7.6% 42.3% Team dependent Other 9.9% Project sponsor dependent 35.5% Source: ESI International4
  • 5. Strong Communication SkillsEssential to CollaborationBusiness skills, such as communications and strategic thinking, are the foundation uponwhich teams need to work collaboratively.In addition to an overwhelming majority (80.9 percent) who say their project teams needto improve communication, in some cases, half or nearly half say their project professionalsneed improvement in the following skills for better cross-team collaboration: • Communication (80.9 percent) • Leadership (49.6 percent) • Critical thinking (47.3 percent) • Coaching and mentoring (44.1 percent) • General business acumen (35.4 percent) • None of the above (4.1 percent)Dire Need for Essential Business Skills for Project Success Canadian project professionals said the critical business skills project professionals need for better collaboration are: 90% 80.9% 80% 70% 60% 49.6% 50% 47.3% 44.1% 40% 35.4% 30% 20% 10% 4.1% 0% n p g g en e ov tio in in hi m r s nk Ab ica to er cu hi en ad un sA e lT th M Le m ica es of d m in an it ne Co s Cr Bu ng No l i ra ch ne a Co Ge Source: ESI InternationalTearing Down the Walls: Blocking Collaboration and Better Business Performance 5© ESI International, Inc. 2011. All rights reserved.
  • 6. Organizations Recognize Need for Skills That Drive Organizational Change 81.7 percent of respondents believe their organization sees value in ensuring people that work on projects have the right combination of business skills, as well as technical skills, as they drive new innovations, such as cloud computing. Organizations Value Balance of Skills for Success of Key Initiatives Canadian project professionals said their organizations value providing the right mix of business and technical skills to ensure the success of change initiatives, such as cloud computing: Agree 3.1% Somewhat agree Strongly agree 7.4% 32.2% Don’t have an opinion Disagree 7.8% Strongly disagree 19.2% 30.3% Source: ESI International6
  • 7. Organizations Ineffective inProviding the Right TrainingDespite valuing a mix of business and technical skills to support key initiatives, organiza-tions fail to provide the appropriate skills training that would strike the proper balance. • Only 38.4 percent of project professionals believe their organization actually provides an appropriate mix of skills training. • 61.6 percent report no training at all or various combinations of training, as noted below, that may not meet the skills requirements needed for effective collaboration: Ț A good mix of technical and business skills training (38.4 percent) Ț Mostly technical with some business skills training (25.8 percent) Ț No training (14.6 percent) Ț Mostly business skills with some technical training (12.9 percent) Ț Only technical skills training (4.7 percent) Ț Only business skills training (3.6 percent)Majority of Organizations Don’t Provide theRight Training, or Any Training at All Our organization provides the following training to project leaders and team members to enhance the technical and business skills they need to effectively work across teams: A good mix of technical and business skills training 3.6% 4.7% Mostly technical with some business skills No training 38.4% Mostly business skills with some 12.9% technical training Only technical training Only business skills training 14.6% 25.8% Source: ESI InternationalTearing Down the Walls: Blocking Collaboration and Better Business Performance 7© ESI International, Inc. 2011. All rights reserved.
  • 8. Turning Collaboration Theory into Practice Based on the survey results, there is a wide gap between the idea of collaboration and the reality. In the current business environment, organizations should have an even greater incentive to support collaboration. Unlike people working within traditional hierarchal roles and responsibilities, team- oriented collaboration brings with it greater agility to solve problems, improve processes and foster innovative thinking. The first step is to offer team members the right training for a balanced set of business and technical skills. To further ensure that teams attain their greatest potential, organizations will want to follow established best practices for collaboration, including: 1) Model collaborative behavior, starting at the executive level. 2) Develop unique relationship-building practices customized to your business environment. 3) Ensure employees have the skills of collaboration. 4) Support a sense of community. 5) Assign leaders who are both task- and relationship-oriented. 6) Build on existing relationships. 7) Assign distinct roles to team members. 8) Provide individuals with autonomy over discrete pieces of the project. Source: Gratton, L. & Erickson, T. (2007, November) “Eight Ways to Build Collaborative Teams,” Harvard Business Review.8
  • 9. SummaryWhile a majority of Canadian organizations agree that team collaboration enhances busi-ness performance, very few are actually providing the right training mix to ensure teamshave what they need to thrive in a collaborative way. Furthermore, even fewer teams aremaking a positive business impact through collaboration, although most would agreecollaboration leads to success.Applying best practices such as more autonomy within projects, tearing down organiza-tional barriers and designating specific roles to team members can lead to more collabora-tion, better project/initiative outcomes and, ultimately, higher overall business impact.Tearing Down the Walls: Blocking Collaboration and Better Business Performance 9© ESI International, Inc. 2011. All rights reserved.
  • 10. Survey Methodology ESI International sent an email survey of eight close-ended questions to project manage- ment and business analysis directors, managers and staff, and other professionals in Canada involved in their organizations’ projects. Which of the following best describes your job category? Project Management— 1.7% Manager or Staff 6.6% Other Business Analysis— Manager or Staff 47.5% Project Management— Director and above 21.9% Business Analysis— Director and above 22.3% The survey respondents represented sectors including, among others, government (32 Source: ESI International percent) financial services (18.4 percent), Information Technology (18 percent), Energy/ Utilities (5.8 percent)and telecommunications (5.6 percent). Industry Government Financial Services Information Technology 2% 10.1% 32.3% Energy/Utilities 2.5% Telecommunications 2.5% 2.9% Construction/Engineering Pharma and Healthcare 5.6% 18.4% Manufacturing Retail 5.8% 18% Other Source: ESI International The survey was conducted from late August to early September 2011, with 895 respon- dents completing the survey. Not all respondents answered every survey question. The survey was anonymous unless respondents wanted to receive the results, in which case they had to submit their contact details.10
  • 11. About ESI InternationalESI, a subsidiary of Informa plc (LSE:INF), helps people around the world improve the waythey manage projects, contracts, requirements and vendors through innovative learning.In addition to ESI’s more than 100 courses delivered in more than a dozen languagesat hundreds of locations worldwide, ESI offers several certificate programs through oureducational partner, The George Washington University in Washington. Founded in 1981,ESI has regional headquarters in Toronto and Washington. To date, ESI’s programs havebenefited more than 1.35 million professionals worldwide. For more information visitwww.esi-intl.ca. +1 (866) 374-4501 For more information about how ESI can help your organization, call us at +1 (866) 374-4501 or visit www.esi-intl.ca. www.esi-intl.ca