Too Much of a Good Thing: Avoiding Unnecessary Over-Collaboration

21 November 2017
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There’s no better feeling than coming together with your peers to achieve a common goal. But while it may take a village to accomplish a task that’s too big for one person, it’s also important to keep tasks streamlined by assigning them to the right person for the job. Inviting too many people to the party can lead to stalled results, which is why it’s vital that you consider everyone’s skillset when it comes to delegating work.

Just because you’re able to collaborate with roles across your organization doesn’t mean that everyone’s word should carry the same gravity. Understanding the weight and point of view of each of your collaborators before you share your project is vital to your end goal’s success.

Having too many cooks in the kitchen helpful when you’re preparing a ten-course meal, but if all you’re doing is baking a cake then maybe you should prioritize the access to bakers and decorators only. To ensure that your project won’t be deluged by unnecessary inputs it’s important to understand where potential bottlenecks can occur.

1. Make sure your experts are able to shine.
Everyone has a genius level of knowledge within them when it comes to one specific thing. A good team is one that gathers all of this genius talent and optimizes everyone’s skill set within the framework of the goal. Consider assigning a specific goal to each of the groups you delegate to that will make the best use of their expertise.

2. Avoid analysis paralysis by understanding your end goal.
Wanting to feel included is human nature, but so is a need to be noticed. If you find that your collaborators are making unnecessary notes simply for the sake of acknowledgment, consider sharing your timeline with them in an effort to keep their opinions streamlined towards the end-goal. This will force collaborators to think twice before making a suggestion so that the end result isn’t delayed.

3. Streamline design by avoiding “helpful” hints
Sometimes a product feature may not make sense to a novice user in the same way it might to someone who has a solid grasp on the project. That user’s recommendation shouldn’t be ignored, but if you’re sacrificing the design flow in the hopes of satiating everyone you risk derailing your vision. Consider combining all of the notes you get from the collaborators in one place, then taking that list and sharing it with the core group where you can have the leads of the project rank the suggestions, potentially glossing over the ones they find to be unnecessary.

4. When in doubt, keep it simple!
The farther along your project progresses and the more users are invited to contribute their thoughts to it, the farther away it can drift from your original vision. Keeping it simple means that you’re always looking for an opportunity to strip things down and communicate your ideas with less clutter.

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