The Expert Guide to Collaborative Work Management

Collaborative work can trigger significant productivity gains and enable project organizations to run with increased flexibility. Embracing collaboration is also a way to acknowledge some of the most meaningful trends reshaping the workplace, like the increasingly geographically dispersed workforce and new generations of employees with superior digital literacy. But with these nuances comes a need for collaborative work management tactics that bring everything together. Below, we explore what collaborative work management is and how project and portfolio management teams can unleash its potential.

What is Collaborative Work Management?

Collaborative work management (or CWM) empowers businesses and workers to plan, execute, and supervise work. Sounds simple, right? Active work management might seem like a no-brainer, but an intentional focus on its development is key, especially for industries significantly impacted by digitization.

Gartner observes that interest in collaborative work management has progressively increased in recent years, paralleling the rise of hybrid work. This analysis is substantiated by a recent Wellingtone report finding that 75% of professionals expect increased use of collaboration tools.

To understand the popularity of collaborative work management, let’s consider the multiple benefits it brings to project organizations. 

  • CWM empowers teams to efficiently plan, monitor, and execute their projects, tasks, and strategic initiatives. This process helps reduce meetings, preparation, and time-to-market, affording teams greater capacity to handle their highest value-adding projects. 
  • CWM helps manage enterprise-wide processes for faster and more productive delivery in a hybrid world. It onboards all populations into a single digital workplace so that everyone gets a full view of portfolios and projects. Collaborative work management also increases the collective performance of the organization, with projects and work delivered more efficiently and more rapidly.

CWM supports and accelerates growth by breaking down barriers that might interfere with strategic action and positive organizational change.

Breaking Down the Pieces of Collaborative Work Management

On the surface, collaborative work management might seem indistinguishable from other project management concepts. After all, things like task management and portfolio management aim to achieve many of the same goals and are built on the same core ideas. 

But where CWM stands out is its ability to combine aspects of task, project, and portfolio management and build on the value they bring to an organization. Let’s look at each part of collaborative work management and the other practices that help support it.

Task Management vs. Project Management

Task management requires project managers to view, monitor, and further the work that has to be completed. It also involves efficient organization of an organization’s workflow.

Project management is the practice of applying information, skills, tools, and strategies to project activities in order to achieve requirements.

The key distinction between project management and task management lies in their scopes and focuses. While project management encompasses the broader planning, coordination, and execution of an initiative, task management delves into the granular details of individual assignments within that project. 

Project management orchestrates the whole venture, addressing goals, timelines, and resource allocation. Task management zooms in on the nitty-gritty aspects, such as defining specific tasks, assigning responsibilities, and monitoring progress. 

Effective task management within the broader umbrella of project management is paramount, as it brings precision to the execution of each component, ultimately contributing to the success of the entire project.

What About Work Management?

Work management, including CWM, builds upon project management tactics, integrating the management of day-to-day tasks alongside broader company activities. In a nutshell, work management bridges the gap between project management and task management.

Work management improves business performance by streamlining and transforming key operations. The most significant distinction between work management and project management is that the PM framework is restricted to projects. Work management practices are more adaptable and best suited to organization that don’t only focus on projects and need to support a large amount of operational work.