At the recent Gartner Catalyst Conference in San Diego, PGi’s John Perkins talked about strength of the collaboration movement in the IT industry. As CIO reported, collaboration trends are breaking down IT silos and promoting responsive communication and agile development. Thanks to its newfound flexibility, IT is executing faster than ever. The following are six positive collaboration trends Perkins shared.

Organization-Wide Teamwork

A collaborative approach to development involves strengthening partnerships across departments. Every cross-functional project facilitates greater engagement for IT across the organization.

Shared Workspaces

As more employees take advantage of flexible work arrangements, permanent workspaces that are empty much of the time will no longer make sense. Teams are more likely to inhabit collective workspaces while working on a particular project, with the temporary physical proximity promoting teamwork.

Virtual Teams

There is still a shortage of IT talent in many regions of the United States. IT organizations get the job done by employing qualified individuals regardless of physical locale. Collaboration software allows remote teams to operate as seamlessly as in-person ones.

Custom Solutions

Collaboration platforms allow IT and citizen developers to quickly build out custom applications for every function of the business. More than ever, IT professionals need to understand the requirements of various business units so that they can arrive at the right solutions.

Instant Communication

In the past, collaboration across time zones was challenging. However, new collaboration tools are always on, allowing synchronous and asynchronous communication regardless of where and when team members are working.

Always Available Context

Thanks to sophisticated collaboration solutions, IT professionals no longer have to search for documentation related to past projects and relationships. Historical details and new updates will be at their fingertips so they can pick right up where they (or their colleagues) left off.

As collaboration software continues to improve, the benefits multiply. However, there are some pitfalls to collaboration that IT professionals should keep in mind as they expand the use of these solutions.

Reduced Personal Contact

Thanks to the ease of collaboration via the cloud, it’s tempting to work exclusively in a virtual capacity. But, when you never have the opportunity to meet your co-workers in person, you don’t have the opportunity to build strong relationships. Even benefits derived from talking on the phone are often lost when contact is message-only.

Lack of Boundaries

24/7 access is both a blessing and a curse. Team members who cannot properly separate their personal and professional lives may burn out and become less responsive and productive.

Ever Widening Circles

When collaboration is so simple, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking you should work with everyone. As a result, teams may grow unnecessarily, become unwieldy, and lose focus – actually slowing projects down.

Idea Overload

In a collaborative environment, all ideas are taken into consideration – sometimes to the detriment of progress. Brainstorming and decision making may take entirely too long, and when talking takes the place of action, the team may experience analysis paralysis.

No Clear Leader

Collaborative work promotes equality, but in the absence of a designated authority figure, team members may step over each other trying to get things done. This can result in turf wars and other interpersonal conflicts.