The NFL’s Washington Redskins have a problem. They have two talented running backs competing to be the premiere contributor.

The coach splits their game time, and consequently, neither of them gets into the rhythm of the game. The specialized running back, brought in on third down situations, gets the most action.

Sometimes the idea of “collaborating” is mistaken as “shared responsibility”.

It is clear in the case of the Washington Redskins, their two best running backs are not collaborating but are sharing responsibility for the same position: they are competing. The end result is that the team underperforms, and talent sits on the sideline on every play. On the football field, collaboration happens between positions, as coaches call plays, the quarterback delivers the ball to the running back, and linemen block. Each individual has a unique skill set, and these specialized skills are brought together in a collaborative effort to run a play. Championships are taken by the team that works well together.

This same thing happens in business, but the effects are sometimes difficult to see. So-called “collaboration software” provides shared team spaces, but that shared space doesn’t mean much if the team members are asked to contribute outside of their specialized skills, or worse if they are asked to share responsibility for a role.

Many of us have experienced projects that have no “design integrity” because collaborative intent degraded into competitive intrusion, just like the running back situation with the Redskins. The root of the issue isn’t in the members of the team, but in how a project can be divided to make collaboration possible. In other words, collaboration depends on successfully isolating individual contributions, so each team member’s skill sets are fully utilized and subsequently unified.

Customer Communications Management (CCM) solutions require teamwork among the entire organization: technical staff, marketing staff, content writers, customer service agents, order fulfillment staff, analysts, and operations managers. These diverse roles and skill sets all have to be brought together to generate a unified company voice for every customer engagement. In order to make this happen, the CCM solution cannot just be a document production engine, but more importantly, it has to galvanize collaboration within the organization.

CCM collaboration means creating a division of skills within the design and production environment, and the collaborative structure where these contributions can be brought together to execute on each document. The content specialist shouldn’t have to understand enterprise data structures any more than the operations manager should have to make allowances for the most recent marketing campaign.

According to a Forester Research, Inc.* survey, the top two pain points in “digital experience projects” roles, are:

  • Dividing roles/responsibilities among marketing, IT, and the business
  • Shortage of appropriate skill sets

A collaborative CCM solution gives each player a role, and an opportunity to contribute efficiently within the scope of their mastered skill sets.

Are there turf wars going on in your CCM solution?