Mastering Collaboration

Book description

Collaboration is key for organizations in the 21st century, yet few business people have been trained to teach this skill. How do you advance ideas in a collaborative way and then communicate them throughout your company? In this practical book, author Gretchen Anderson shows you how to generate ideas with others while gaining buy-in from all levels of your organization.

Product managers, designers, marketers, technical leaders, and executives will obtain better insight into how team members work together to make decisions. Through tangible exercises and techniques, you’ll learn how to turn promising ideas into products, services, and solutions that make a real difference in the market.

  • Use a framework to develop ideas into hypotheses to be tested and refined
  • Avoid common pitfalls in the collaboration process
  • Align communication approaches to ensure that collaboration is effective and inclusive
  • Structure events or meetings for different types of collaboration depending on the people involved
  • Practice giving and receiving critiques to foster inclusion without resorting to consensus-based decisions

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Table of contents

  1. Preface
    1. It’s Complicated: Our Love/Hate Relationship with Collaboration
    2. Why I Wrote This Book
    3. Who This Book Is For
    4. How This Book Is Organized
      1. Introduction: What’s Collaboration and What Gets In the Way?
      2. Part I: Creating the Right Environment
      3. Part II: Setting Clear Direction
      4. Part III: Exploring Solutions
      5. Part IV: Communicating Clearly
    5. Acknowledgments
    6. O’Reilly Online Learning
    7. How to Contact Us
  2. Introduction
    1. What Is Collaboration, and What Gets in the Way
    2. What’s Collaboration? And What Isn’t?
    3. Choose the Right Problem and Moment
      1. Taming Complexity
      2. Facing Ambiguity
      3. Getting Alignment
      4. Engaging Employees
    4. What Gets in the Way of Good Collaboration?
      1. The Environment Favors Independence and Individualism
      2. We Start with Unclear Objectives and Structures
      3. Expertise and Experience Dominate the Solution Space
      4. Ineffective Communication Causes Conflict
    5. How to Help Teams Avoid and Overcome Obstacles
  3. I. Creating the Right Environment
  4. 1. Enlist Everyone
    1. Enlist Everyone to Reduce Risks
    2. Enlist Everyone to Boost Engagement
    3. Enlisting Everyone Brings Up Cultural Differences
    4. Cross Cultures, Don’t Overthrow Them
    5. Troubleshooting Issues with Enlisting Everyone
      1. Dealing with Difficult People in Teams
      2. Handling a Critical Stakeholder Who Won’t Engage
      3. Managing Someone Who Is Spread Too Thin
      4. Navigating Cultural Conflicts
    6. Conclusion
    7. Key Takeaways
  5. 2. Give Everyone a Role
    1. Levels of Contribution
    2. Roles for Close Collaborators
      1. The Navigator
      2. The Driver(s)
      3. Critics
      4. The Facilitator
    3. RACI Models for Stakeholders and Supporters
    4. Troubleshooting Roles
      1. Assumed Hierarchy in the Team
      2. Roles Get Ignored
    5. Conclusion
    6. Key Takeaways
  6. 3. Enable Trust and Respect
    1. Trust Comes from Experience
    2. Try It, You’ll Like It
    3. Building Trust Through Vulnerability
    4. Leading Teams Toward Trust
    5. Protect Trust When Things Go Wrong
    6. Troubleshooting Trust Issues
      1. No History or Experience Together
      2. Micromanaging from Above
      3. Mistrust Within the Team
    7. Conclusion
    8. Key Takeaways
  7. 4. Make Space
    1. Working with Physical Space
    2. Too Much Togetherness
    3. Working with Virtual Spaces
      1. Virtual Spaces Aren’t Just for Distributed Teams
    4. Troubleshooting (Physical and Virtual) Space Issues
      1. No Consistent Space Available
      2. Lack of Engagement During Remote Meetings
      3. Large Group Meetings Don’t Feel Collaborative
    5. Conclusion
    6. Key Takeaways
  8. II. Setting Clear Direction
  9. 5. Make a Plan
    1. How Ideas Develop
    2. Plan to Experiment and Reduce Risks
    3. Example Plans to Manage Risks and Consequences
      1. Low Risk, Low Consequences
      2. Low Risk, High Consequences
      3. High Risk, Low Consequences
      4. High Risk, High Consequences
    4. Timeboxing Over Deadlines
    5. How Many Cycles Do I Need?
    6. Share Plans to Set Expectations
    7. Troubleshooting Planning
      1. Working Against a Fixed Deadline
      2. Teams Resist Planning
    8. Conclusion
    9. Key Takeaways
  10. 6. Set Clear and Urgent Objectives
    1. Developing Good Objectives
      1. Be Descriptive, Not Prescriptive
      2. Have a Sense of Urgency
      3. Ground Objectives in Solving Real-World Problems
    2. Approaches and Techniques for Creating Objectives
      1. Derive Objectives from a Problem
      2. Turn Problem Statements into Objectives
      3. Refine Objectives to Be More Useful
      4. Keep Track of Knowledge and Assumptions
      5. Use the “Whitepaper Approach”
    3. Keep Objectives Visible, and Revisit Them Periodically
    4. When Learning Is the Objective
    5. Troubleshooting Objective Setting
      1. Overly Prescriptive Direction
      2. Consequences Not Clear
      3. Constant Questioning of Objectives
      4. Juking the Stats
    6. Conclusion
    7. Key Takeaways
  11. III. Exploring Solutions
  12. 7. Explore Many Possibilities
    1. Working Backward, Thinking Laterally
    2. Throw Away Constraints, for a While
      1. What About When Constraints Are Real?
    3. The Path to Great Isn’t Straight
    4. Troubleshooting Idea Exploration
      1. No New Ideas Emerge
      2. The “Yeah-Buts”
      3. The Swoop and Poop
    5. Conclusion
    6. Key Takeaways
  13. 8. Make Sound Decisions
    1. Democratize Discussion, Not Decisions
    2. Make Tension Productive
      1. Manage Tension by Framing the Argument
      2. Manage Tension by Trading Perspectives
      3. Manage Tension with a “Disagree and Commit” Approach
    3. Helping Teams Make Sense of Ideas and Decide What to Pursue
      1. Satisficing Versus Optimizing
      2. We Want the Best
      3. We Want What We Can Imagine
    4. Troubleshooting Decision-Making
      1. The Popularity Contest
      2. Success Criteria Aren’t Helping
      3. Too Much Conflict
    5. Conclusion
    6. Key Takeaways
  14. 9. Find Out What Others Think
    1. Share Early and Often
    2. Share Especially in Challenging Situations
    3. Be Disciplined and Intentional About Sharing
      1. Know What You Are Listening For
      2. Fidelity Matters
    4. Be Disciplined About Gathering Feedback
    5. Making Use of What You Learn
      1. Don’t Get Defensive
      2. How to Handle Different Opinions
      3. Don’t Fear Failure
    6. Troubleshooting Getting Feedback
      1. Participants Are Confused
      2. Leading the Witness
      3. Too Many Observers
    7. Conclusion
    8. Key Takeaways
  15. IV. Communicating Clearly
  16. 10. Communicate Transparently
    1. Transparency Supports Collaboration at Scale
      1. “More Is Less” Communication
    2. Be Transparent in Multiple Modes
    3. Troubleshooting Transparency
      1. The Trough of Despair
      2. Sharing What Happens, Not What Matters
      3. The Big Reveal Belly-Flop
    4. Conclusion
    5. Key Takeaways
  17. 11. Tell the Story
    1. Why Stories Are So Powerful
    2. Elements of Storytelling
    3. The “Oh Shit!” Moment
    4. The Shape of Stories
    5. Laddering
    6. What a Character!
    7. Note-Taking Supports Storytelling
    8. Troubleshooting Storytelling
      1. No Struggle to the Story
      2. Inconsistent Audience
    9. Conclusion
    10. Key Takeaways
  18. 12. Conclusion
  19. Index

Product information

  • Title: Mastering Collaboration
  • Author(s): Gretchen Anderson
  • Release date: March 2019
  • Publisher(s): O'Reilly Media, Inc.
  • ISBN: 9781492041733