Tips and tricks for online collaboration

16.3.2020 klo 17.07

How do you effectively work remotely as a team or as an organization? Combining cooperation and working remotely can be challenging, and if you are used to co-located work, remote work requires more from all parties involved at the beginning. But don’t worry, try new tools, keep practicing and you’ll learn!

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We are using online tools on a daily basis, both when working with clients as well as with each other. Working online can be more effective and fun compared to working alone. It might even get you results faster, too!

Below, you will find tips and tricks to how to make the most of online meetings such as online workshops and Big Room or PI Plannings.

Tips and tricks for successful online events

Facilitating online events differs from facilitating face-to-face sessions. Online events need more structure and guidelines: for example, when to have your mic off and when you are allowed to speak. Please also note that working online usually takes more time than working face-to-face.

If you are running an online session for a bigger group of people (more than seven people), reserve one person who is documenting all that is being agreed upon and one person who is driving (or facilitating) the session.

Preparation

Online meetings require a lot more attention than physical ones because it’s harder to change the plans on the fly. Please consider at least the following points when making preparations.

Make sure you have a clear agenda with enough scheduled breaks. Share the agenda to the participants in advance – this will ensure effective facilitation and reduces the risk of disengagement and anxiety. You should also have all the materials needed with working links provided to participants beforehand.

To minimize technical challenges, make sure that all the tools are working before you start. Have a plan B in mind: what to do if the online collaboration tool you planned to use stops working. If possible, use tools that participants are familiar with.

If you plan to record an online meeting, ensure beforehand that it is both technically and legally viable.

There are a lot of online collaboration tools available. To get started, here is what you need to look into:

  1. Audio / video call system: for example Microsoft Teams, Skype for Business, Slack call, Google Hangouts, Zoom - you name it!
  2. Online communications/chat: Slack, Flowdock, Teams chat, Signal, Telegram,...
  3. Online whiteboard tools: Miro, Microsoft Whiteboard
  4. Workmanagement tools: JIRA, Trello etc.
  5. Polling, voting: Mentimeter, Kahoot, Slack polls

During a remote meeting

Make sure that everyone connects to the online meeting room slightly before the actual meeting starts so that time is not wasted waiting for people to enter. In an online meeting, it is important also to start by presenting the agenda and stick to it. It is also important to inform participants about how to raise questions, show reactions, and so on.

Ensure active participation by using online breakout rooms to organize smaller chats and then collect results together. When asking questions, start by saying the name of the person who is expected to answer. This makes it easier for people to respond and stay engaged. Polling is also an excellent way to activate participants. A good practice is to activate the participants every 7-10 minutes.

Facilitators

Have one person who will facilitate the meeting while another person is documenting every action point and decisions agreed upon. Also, in online meetings with a large number of participants, it can be effective to have two facilitators so that one can facilitate the meeting and the other can focus in making sure everyone is active and engaged.

After the meeting

Make sure that all participants are aware of where they can find the documents afterward and that any important drawings or material are saved.

We are happy to help you with virtual facilitation, just drop us an email at sales@nitor.com and let’s set up a virtual meeting!

This blog was written by Nitor Agile Team – in an online session using Google docs.