Key Success Factor 3: Team Collaboration *
Many observers of teams in action equate the capability and performance of teams with their degree of collaboration. Collaboration has many interpretations. One rather popular one is that given by Kayser (1994), which states that collaboration is close communication and sharing of understanding with no hidden agendas. Schrage (1990) says that collaboration is a purposive relationship and an act of shared creation and/or shared discovery. Collaboration is a desire or a need to either solve a problem, create something, or to discover something within a set of constraints such as limited expertise, time, or money.
When teams are performing routine and predictable tasks, there is usually little need for collaboration. When they are creating something that has never existed before, as is the case with many, if not most acquisition programs, they need the full power of all team members working together. This is where collaboration facilitates success.
One interesting aspect of collaboration is that it often requires play. Though the word may sound odd here, play is exactly what it is. As team members attack a given problem or issue, they need to play with it in their minds, then share concepts and ideas and perspectives. This interaction is very much like play in the sense that different things are considered and tried before specific conclusions are drawn. Successful teams take this play very seriously, and focus in at the right time on the solution they need.
IPT members collaborate because, as individuals, they cannot deal effectively with the problems, challenges and decisions that face them. The complexity, dynamics, and uncertainty of the problems faced by acquisition teams in acquiring modern weapon systems is simply too much of a challenge for any one person. The benefit of collaboration is an increase in team power to solve problems, make decisions, and manage complexity. Collaboration becomes a necessary technique to master this unknown and complex environment, and to achieve the required gain in team performance.
* Navy IPT Learning Campus, Version 1.1.