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The Painful Difference Between "All Tools" and "The Right Tools" πŸ”§

 

In the past few years, the discussion of teamwork has reached new heights. We always knew that effective teamwork was the cornerstone of success, but somehow, something was always missing. 

 

You have a great team, but you lack proper tools.

You have the perfect collaboration tool, but your team has difficulties working together.

You don't have any tools and your flying Google docs make a total mess.

You have an excessive amount of tools, but your team is so uninterested in using them, so their flying Google docs... yes, make a total mess.

 

I was fortunate enough to work at scaling team levels and witness the different utilization of tools. I noticed that every time an issue was present, we were trying to use too many tools to handle the same process. Or even worse, we were breaking the process into chunks, which we then assigned to different tools based on the desired outcome. This approach often led to confusion and inefficiency, as team members had to switch between multiple tools to complete a single task.

 

collaboration-and-tooling.png 

 

My absolute favorite line about this situation was:

"Oh gosh, it would take me less time to finish this task than log it into all these apps."

 

Why do more tools not always equate to better teamwork?

  • Introducing multiple tools into the workflow can overwhelm team members, forcing them to juggle between different platforms, logins, and interfaces. 
  • Each tool typically serves a specific purpose: task management, document sharing, or communication. By relying on too many tools, information becomes scattered across disparate platforms, leading to silos where crucial insights and updates are inaccessible to certain team members.
  • An excess of collaboration tools can weigh down a team, impeding their ability to pivot quickly in response to changing requirements or market conditions.

 

It's a delicate balance between having enough tools to support collaboration and indiscriminately adopting every new tool that promises to revolutionize teamwork.

In the end, it's not about how many tools you have at your disposal but how well you use them to amplify your team's collective efforts.

 

I am curious to hear your thoughts and experiences about having too few or too many tools in your work environment. 

As always, thank you for reading πŸ’™

 

2 comments

Andy Gladstone
Community Leader
Community Leader
Community Leaders are connectors, ambassadors, and mentors. On the online community, they serve as thought leaders, product experts, and moderators.
May 14, 2024

@Teodora V thanks for this post. When I came to my current company eight years ago, there was an unbelievable sprawl of tools. The company had a BYO software culture, and each team was using multiple tools that other teams had no access to. It took a few years, but we distilled our tools down and chose a specific tool for specific use.

  • Communication: Slack (goodbye Lync, Skype, AOL Messenger (yes, you read that right), WhatsApp, SMS, etc.)
  • Project Management, Development, Product: Jira (goodbye Monday.com, Asana, Microsoft Project, Sticky Notes, etc.)
  • Documentation: Confluence (goodbye OneNote, SharePoint, Google Docs, Searches in email and Slack, Heroku, etc.)
  • CRM: Salesforce (goodbye Less Annoying CRM, Access Databases, Spreadsheets, etc.)
  • Video Conferencing: Zoom (goodbye GoToMeeting, WebEx, Lync Meetings)

By having a shared understanding of what goes where, how to get it there, when to use it, and why we made the decision, and who owns the administration of these tools, we improved the satisfaction and efficiency of ALL teams in the organization. 

 

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Teodora V
Community Leader
Community Leader
Community Leaders are connectors, ambassadors, and mentors. On the online community, they serve as thought leaders, product experts, and moderators.
May 14, 2024

What a perfect example @Andy Gladstone.

Even reading so many product names made me realize the amount of time and effort someone put into transforming the organizational toolkit. 

What I find fascinating is that leadership often encourages the usage of "all the tools you need" which results in teams being very picky and protective of their desired tool stack. And a few months later, they have the situation you described in brackets and multiple collaboration issues.

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