5 Strategies For Managing Cross-Functional Teams

In the competitive market, companies follow a structured methodology across different departments like finance, sales, and marketing. Teams functioning in this zone have to meet specific targets based on their departments. However, these teams often do not coordinate well internally, focusing on their own goals. The issue? They miss the target by a huge gap which results in a work loss.

The solution to this industrial problem is to group individuals from different teams according to their strengths and skills which is known as cross-functional teams. Developing a cross-functioning team within an organisation helps in achieving the goals and effectively collaborating on the project. In this write-up, we will discuss the challenges faced by a cross-functioning team and how to handle them by effectively managing the team. 

What is a Cross-Functional Team?

A typical team in an organisation is made on the basis of people having similar jobs or skill sets in the department. On the other hand, a cross-functional team brings people together from different departments and expertise and unites them into one team for enhanced productivity and better functioning. 

A cross-functioning team may consist of team members of different designations and seniority levels enabling them to take essential decisions within the team. For example, the newly formed team can directly share the plan with the CEO instead of following the traditional approval process followed in the corporate world.

Cross-functional teams have become so popular nowadays, however, this term is not new. For years, different departments within organisations have been collaborating for giving the best outputs. 

What are examples of a cross-functional team?

Collaboration between the software development team and the testing team or collaboration between the product management team, event management team, and project management team. These teams with members having different skill sets, knowledge, and seniority level which collaborate to fulfil the common goal of successfully delivering a project.

What are the Challenges Faced by a Cross-Functional Team?

Building a cross-functioning team with an understanding of the weak points and strengths of the members is the biggest challenge. There are three major challenges commonly faced during the collaboration of the teams.

Lack Of Trust

Working professionals from different departments have faith in them, however, with the new teammate, trust is absent. They might not understand the other candidate or due to certain reasons, they lack faith.

Conflict Of Thoughts 

The functioning of everyone’s brain is different thus everyone has their own exclusive thoughts. Sharing exclusive thoughts with the team might start a debate where the person has to argue to prove the genuineness.

Lack Of Dedication

Team members often prioritise their own department’s task over the collaborative project for meeting the targets within the team resulting in a lack of ownership towards the cross-functional team.

Best Practices To Effectively Manage A Cross-Functional Team

Effectively managing working professionals from different fields seems nearly impossible because of the gap. However, we have a few ideas that can be implemented for managing a cross-functional team. 

Set Clear Goals

According to the study conducted by Harvard Business Review in 2015, almost 75% of the cross-functioning teams have not set a clear target needed to be accomplished. Members contributing their thoughts and goals not only improve the quality of work but also set a boundary for achieving the goals.

Clear Communication

Effective collaboration of teams requires a clear conversation between teammates. Project management tools and office communication channels should be used appropriately to ensure there is no conversation gap. Moreover, everything must be documented in an official way to recall whenever needed.

Connect The Right Candidates

Create a team based on the project requirement and compatibility of the candidates for the rapid completion of the project and smooth functioning of the team. Being the project manager, choose the suitable talents that fulfil the criteria and have a common ground for better team functioning.

Build Trust Among Candidates

Collaboration of teams within an organisation often fails because of the lack of trust among the team members. When building a cross-functional team, encourage sharing ideas and simplifying them for easy understanding of the whole team. Moreover, effective use of communication channels is the key to building trust among team members.

Uplift Failures

Create a risk-free culture in the office that allows teammates to share their thoughts without hesitation. Also, failures will help the team members to overcome the corporate problems and offer a reliable solution that can solve the old complex issues.

What is cross-functional project management?

A cross-functional project is a series of work involving a collaborated team of members from different departments within the company. The goal of the collaborated team is to fulfil the tasks necessary for the completion and delivery of the project.

Bottom Line

In the modern era, the collaboration of work professionals with different skill sets, knowledge and understanding promote teamwork and company growth. Moreover working with a team also helps in learning new skills that are useful in the industry. To effectively manage cross-functional teams, set a clear outline, communicate clearly and encourage failures.

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