From small companies to large corporations, efficiently carrying out collaborative projects can be a challenge. Understanding how to encourage effective group work and develop a shared vision is the key to successful collaborations. Yet this can be all the more difficult if team members are spread out over various companies and share different values. In response to this challenge, Grenoble Ecole de Management (GEM) is creating a training program dedicated to managing collaborative projects.
This new program is the result of a recent study by GEM researchers of training needs at the Tenerrdis Energy Cluster. "We noticed that collaborative project management skills were lacking across the board." explains Ludivine Calamel, a GEM professor and the co-author of the study which was led by Olivier Cateura, a professor of Strategic Management at GEM.
Creating synergy among team members
Participants in the study highlighted the fact that successfully navigating human resource challenges was the most difficult aspect of a collaborative project. At the Tenerrdis Energy Cluster for example, managers have to integrate employees who work for small and large organizations from both private and public sectors. In addition to having different company values, these employees do not share similar pay structures, schedules and work priorities.
"On top of it all, each team member does not receive the same information and does not use the same vocabulary to speak about the same problem!" exclaims Ludivine Calamel. As a result projects run late with managers often leaving due to stress and the extra workload. Although this situation is an inherent part of competitive clusters, it is also a problem faced during any collaborative effort that requires the participation of employees from different organizations and locations.
Dedicated training for collaborative projects
"The first step to overcoming the challenges of collaborative projects is to build a shared vision. To do so, requires managers to integrate team members in a harmonious and efficient manner." states Ludivine Calamel. Unfortunately, the challenges brought about by collaborative projects are not part of most managerial trainings. To meet this challenge in 2014, GEM will be launching a collaborative project management program in partnership with Michel Cezon (Cogiteo). The first session will be launched with students in the Spring of 2014 before being added to our continuing education offer.