Stephanie Chen

UX Designer and Entrepreneur. Co-founder of, a visual bug tracking tool.

Collaboration doesn’t work: How to stop running a three-legged race

Do you work in a collaborative office? Is there “an open office plan” with high loft ceilings and long tables shared by 10 laptops, so that people can just yell questions to each other? Do you overhear people complaining that there “isn’t enough collaboration”, and “let’s have ANOTHER group meeting” to discuss the issue?

Collaboration is not the same as a team work, in the same way a 3-legged race is not the same as a relay race. In true team work, there is a mutual respect for each member’s talents and opinions, but no mandate that all of the different inputs will be incorporated. Instead, each team member is working focused on their part of the project, and at frequent, but succinct, meeting points, showing each other what they’re working on. The project lead can then make a few calls about what needs to be improved. But overall, the goals stay targeted towards the finish line.


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