Gain an online edge with synergy in your development team

Jeroen van der Horst
Account director

It goes without saying that we at Proshore offer our clients smart, up-to-date services and products. However, gaining an online edge requires more than that. It also calls for a fast and flexible way of working (together). I have already discussed sprints and Scrum in a previous article, so today I want to talk about the magic of collaboration: synergy.

Synergy: specialists working together

Specialists generally tend to focus largely on their own area of expertise. If a client’s project requires you to work together with other specialists and achieve results quickly and efficiently, you need specialists who excel in their respective fields and have mastered the fine art of collaboration. That means being able to listen to others, ask the right questions, not lose sight of the common goal and – above all – trust in each other’s expertise. We pursue this degree of collaboration from the very beginning. We want to sit down with all other stakeholders at the start of a project. The marketing department, sales, designers, communication, users: they all have their own professional perspective and contributions that they bring to the table. This can lead to synergy, to the whole becoming greater than the sum of its parts. When that happens, it is an amazing experience for everyone involved.

No room for politics

As you work together with your stakeholders, there will be times at which certain external specialists can add value to your project and improve your results. Think of specialist knowledge of the field of marketing strategy, for example. A fresh external perspective can also be valuable. Bringing in an outsider with a background in design at the right moment will allow you to make great progress in that regard. We have various external partners with whom we frequently collaborate and with whom we have had excellent experiences in the past. Bringing out the best in yourself during a project is one thing, but being able to do the same for others is quite another. Such a close collaboration requires trust and transparency. If those are missing, you – and everyone else involved in the project – will notice immediately. That is no way to get things done. This form of collaboration calls for a great degree of responsibility. By conducting these reviews together every two weeks, you push for a certain degree of transparency. You show the others what you have been working on. There is no room for politics. Even if something like that were to happen, Scrum has an ace up its sleeve to help stimulate synergy: the retrospective. You look back on the process together to evaluate how it went and you give each other feedback in an open and positive manner – all in an effort to help each other grow. That is important, because it keeps everyone’s eyes on the ball. We conduct these retrospectives every two weeks, because we have had some excellent experiences with them. Unlike many other organisations, our retrospectives take place during the process itself, so we can take action if necessary. There’s little point to it if everything is finished and you cannot change anything anymore. We ask all stakeholders to indicate what they believe went well and what can be improved. We then formulate concrete actions that the entire team can support.

Good cooperative partners, the right tools and a desire to excel are all elements that you can develop and invest in. They are all equally important. Lastly, there is that one intangible element…

Let’s call it chemistry.

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