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A Checklist for Collaboration

At The Johns Hopkins Hospital, we meet as a group, identify a problem, seek a solution, go to the evidence, scour the literature for best practices and email all the links to our workgroup hoping for a breakthrough…

Maybe we just need to make a list.

Mattessich and Monsey, (1992) reviewed over one hundred research articles “so that people who want to initiate or enhance a collaborative effort can benefit from the experience of others.” Their 1992 work, “Collaboration: What Makes It Work. A Review of Research Literature on Factors Influencing Successful Collaboration” appraised the findings of over one hundred studies to identify factors which influence successful collaboration. Mattessich and Monsey identified several factors common to collaborative success.

Here are my Top Ten:

  1. Members share a stake in both process and outcome
  2. Multiple layers of decision making
  3. Flexibility
  4. Development of clear roles and policy guidelines
  5. Adaptability
  6. Open and frequent communication
  7. Established formal and informal communication
  8. Concrete, attainable goals and objectives
  9. Shared vision and unique purpose
  10. Skilled convener who carries out the role with fairness, has organizing and interpersonal skills

In 2001, Mattessich and Monsey, joined by Marta Murray-Close “wrote the book” on successful collaboration. Their textbook "Successful Collaboration: What Makes It Work" is in its second edition.

You may see this List right next to my coffee at our next meeting. See you in August!

-Neysa Ernst, RN, MSN

Nurse Manager, Department of Medicine

Co-chair, 2016 CPM


Kelsey Bennett