[Expert Opinion] Amicio’s Best Practices for Agile and Effective collaboration

Temps de lecture : 6 mn
Emmanuelle Abensur
Emmanuelle Abensur
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Temps de lecture : 6 minutes

How can you improve your teams’ agility? What are the best practices for effective hybrid collaboration? Many companies and managers have been themselves these questions since the wane of COVID. To answer them, we asked Ron Spiering, CIO and Performance Manager at Amicio, to share his top tips.

Amicio is a French company specializing in customer relationship outsourcing and consulting. Created in 2019 following the merger of Relaytion and MeilleurContact, the group now has 560 employees across 4 sites in France. Its primary ambition? Offering 100% agile and human customer experience.

Since 2020, Amicio has been using Talkspirit to streamline project work and facilitate information sharing with its teams. Fully deployed within weeks, the platform has become indispensable for keeping hybrid teams connected and maintaining motivation at a distance. 

Here are Amicio’s best practices for effective collaboration on Talkspirit.

Project management inspired by the agile method

“Effective collaboration starts with agile collaboration,” says Ron Spiering. “By ‘agile,’ I stress two points: staying efficient without wasting time, and ensuring that collaborators share information with the aim of carrying out or following up actions—not just pushing around information. By sharing only the information that is relevant to each individual, we avoid information overload and gain in efficiency.”

“To ensure effective collaboration, we have therefore implemented a project management approach inspired by the agile methodology, which mixes old and new project management methods. Thanks to this methodology, we can adapt more easily to customer needs.”

“All our projects are broken down into mini projects called ‘sprints.’ The advantage this approach offers is that we move each sprint forward at the same time, without ever slowing down the overall project.”

“In the 2000s, the waterfall method and the V-cycle method tended to divide a project into several steps—all of which were linked to each other. If you didn’t complete one, you couldn’t move the project forward. With the agile method, we avoid this problem, because a sprint that encounters a difficulty doesn’t prevent the other sprints from moving forward.”

Also read: 5 trends to capitalize on to improve team collaboration

A clear project management process

“In terms of collaboration, we haven’t really formalized our operating processes, as we prefer to remain as agile as possible. Some customers may want to have daily check-ins via conference call, while others prefer no check-ins whatsoever. We have to be able to adapt to these different needs,Ron Spiering explains.

“However, what’s important for maintaining effective collaboration is to have a clear project management process. That’s what we wanted to implement on the Talkspirit collaborative platform.”

Also read: Centralizing  exchanges within an international group: Amicio’s testimonial

“For every project,
we first identify who’s going to be the project manager and who the main authors of the follow-up documents are going to be. These people then set up a project group on Talkspirit (which lasts about 3 months, the duration of the project), and activate the applications they need.”

“The project manager is also the one who decides how to structure the project data. This person creates folders and sub-folders on the Talkspirit drive in advance, organized by sprint. Each member of the project team will then store their files in the sprint folder. Sprint managers are responsible for keeping the drive organized, leaving only the most up-to-date versions of files, and deleting older versions.”

“Finally, when a project is completed, we archive that project group on Talkspirit, along with all project-related exchanges and documents. This allows a streamlined overview of the projects currently in progress.” adds Ron Spiering. 

Best information-sharing practices

“On Talkspirit, we use three key functionalities to share information: chat, publications and drive. To ensure effective collaboration, we ask employees to use chat for instant exchanges, publications for asynchronous communication, and drive for storing project-related documents.

“In the chat, we’re more likely to share alerts or immediate actions to be taken (for example, confirming the date of an upcoming meeting, informing the order tracking team that a customer is experiencing delivery problems, etc.). In addition, we try as far as possible to address messages only to the people concerned (and not to all the people in a group), so that they know it’s up to them to take action.”

“This feature has enabled us to do away with internal emails altogether, and make it easier to keep track of our projects. So, when an employee returns from vacation, he no longer has to sift through hundreds of internal emails. All they have to do is read the messages sent to them on Talkspirit to find out what happened while they were away.”

Also read: How Agence Bergamote reduced its emails by 95% and boosted productivity with Talkspirit

“Publications, on the other hand, are used to share meeting minutes and to specify what is expected of each team member (via tags). Everyone can follow the progress of sprints via the news feed, and react to shared information by commenting on the publication.”

“On the project group drive, we store all the files documenting the sprints of the various projects, which we update regularly. This allows the project manager to know how the project is progressing in real time.”

Small meetings only

“To remain as efficient as possible, we prefer to limit the number of people present at meetings. All workshops are therefore held in small groups—often by videoconference via Talkspirit—with a maximum of 3 or 4 employees.”

“Following the meeting, we create a report on Talkspirit’s OfficeNow suite, and share the summary of our exchanges as a publication in a dedicated project group.”

“In these project groups, we often have around thirty experts specializing in different areas like recruitment, training, and reporting. Thanks to all the publications, even those who couldn’t attend the meeting can stay up to date on discussions. This saves an enormous amount of time on a day-to-day basis,” says Ron Spiering.

A management culture that fosters mutual support and team spirit

“On a day-to-day basis, we apply the LARGE model(literally the League of Former Rugbymen of the “Grandes Écoles”, aka France’s highly selective higher education establishments.) “It’s a management model that applies the principles and values of rugby to business. During a rugby match, players must always look around them to be able to help out their teammates when they need it. If others are in difficulty, they must be able to take the ball and carry on without putting him offside.”

“In the LARGE model, agility means supporting employees—in particular by providing them with all the information they need to work effectively. This is what the Talkspirit platform is all about: enabling us to share the right information with the right person and to take the ball when a colleague needs our support.”

“Whenever we organize a steering meeting with a client, we create a chat room on Talkspirit where everyone can ask for help in preparing for the meeting and answer the client’s post-meeting questions. This allows us to develop mutual support between teams and to respond more quickly to questions they might throw at us.”

Maintaining cohesion from a distance

At Amicio, hybrid work is the way of the future for all our teams. “All our employees can telework for up to 4 days. Every day, almost a third of our employees work remotely.” To foster effective collaboration, the group has to maintain team cohesion remotely.

To this end, Talkspirit is a true asset. “We use it to keep in touch with our telecommuters and ensure they stay in touch with our on-site staff,” explains Ron Spiering.

“In addition to facilitating project management, Talkspirit enables us to exchange live information about the company and its employees. With publications, we can share company news with all employees—wherever they may be. As shared news is organized by group, it also ensures that everyone only receives information that’s relevant to them.”

“While teams are often telecommuting, we also insist on the importance of regularly coming in to exchange face-to-face and not just through a screen. This is important to maintain proper cohesion among our teams. It also allows us to give feedback to teams, especially during performance reviews.”

Also read: 4 tips for effective remote team collaboration

A final word

For the CIO and Performance Manager of Amicio, “Effective collaboration rests on three key pillars: listening to others; clear, concise communications; and good data management.” So, the next time you’re working on a team project, here’s our advice: get to the point when sharing information, and organize your work files in a directory so they remain easily accessible for all. Finally, remember to centralize your exchanges as much as possible to avoid wasting time juggling several tools. Numerous collaborative platforms (like Talkspirit!) enable you to capitalize on information and foster effective collaboration. Make the most of them!

Want to find out more about our platform and discover more collaboration best practices? Contact one of our experts  👇

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