Why is it essential to synchronize, even remotely?
Coordinating and making decisions
How can teams share information and make decisions together efficiently? Synchronization is the art of creating conditions that are conducive to producing a collective work. It’s about having shared terms of reference, defining a target, adjusting it, and reminding people of what that target is whenever necessary, so that the team remains aligned.
The synchronization of information and action has proved its effectiveness many times throughout history. Former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s War Rooms are an example of this: 115 meetings between leading government ministers and generals took place there between 1940 and 1945. With giant maps hung on the walls, this unique place was also an information center. All the conditions were met to make decisions collectively, to define strategies, and coordinate the British army’s operations there.
Promoting collective intelligence
Synchronization is gradually establishing itself in the corporate world as a driver of collective intelligence, creativity, and performance.
In the 1990s, when designing the first Prius car, Toyota created the Obeya method: in Obeya (which means “big room” in Japanese), a multi-disciplinary team monitors the project visually thanks to coordination boards. Static boards present the context and the challenges, while dynamic boards show the timetable, product delivery stages, and the actions to be carried out. The team is in charge of updating these visual management boards in order to keep track of the actions carried out, monitor project progress, and ensure that everyone has a shared framework that is accessible to everyone.
Beyond project coordination, creating synchronization also springs up thanks to rituals that enable the team to break out of their silos and bring together different expertises to resolve problems through collective intelligence: Every aspect of the project is taken into account when making decisions; problems are better anticipated, and the action plan is constantly adapted to ensure that objectives are met.
The challenges of remote synchronization
Since 2005, the number of people working remotely has increased by 173%.
This trend is entrenched and accelerating, with the current situation leading teams that can do so to adopt work-from-home when possible. In a context where the boundaries of the physical workspace are becoming blurred and one-to-one communication is preferred, having team rituals and synchronization can be a challenge. The risks of neglecting synchronization arise from a lack of organization and communication, which causes misunderstandings and leads to employees potentially losing the sense of meaning in their work and their ability to focus on a shared objective.
The challenge resides in the need to establish:
- rituals that are suited to remote synchronization;
- based on clear, shared documents: everyone must be able to easily reconnect to the team and the project, at any time, wherever they are.
At a time when 82% of Americans say they are more creative working as part of a team, teams are increasingly distributed and working on several projects at once. In this context, the synchronization of teams – to ensure they continue moving in the same direction – is a real challenge.
Remote work, shared time, multifaceted teams, collective decision-making… Faced with the emergence of these new challenges, what solutions are available to teams to help them synchronize effectively?
That’s what drives us here at Klaxoon. To answer this question, we develop collaborative tools to help people synchronize all their team activities, even remotely: meetings, project management, workshops, and agile methods, training sessions, etc.