By fostering good communication between teams, cross-functional teams assist firms in putting their customers first. Bringing people together who have diverse points of view solves problems and makes for better short-, medium-, and long-term decision-making.
A cross-functional team is made up of people who have varied skill sets but are all working toward the same objective. These teams consist of employees from multiple departments and varying levels across the business. In some cases, outside stakeholders with a vested interest in the business such as board members or community leaders are also appropriate for inclusion.
Over time, and incorporating team-building best practices, cross-functional teams become agile and able to leverage the expertise of the entire group.
Six Practices for Managing Successful Cross-Functional Teams:
- Aside from the right combination of talents and competence, cross-functional teams must be independent and self-directed.
- A team accustomed to working independently requires a project leader who assumes ownership and accountability for the entire project.
- For teams to work freely, a properly defined project scope outlining the project’s goals must be adopted and approved.
- While team members bring specific areas of expertise, the goal of the group is to create output that is greater than the sum of its parts.
- Project success is determined by efficient communication and effective interaction.
- Cross-functional teams adapt to change and monitor progress regularly to determine how best to respond to said changes.
While there are many reasons to foster cross-functional teams such as consensus building or problem-solving, among the top reasons are increased productivity a more customer-centric environment. Both of which are critical to increasing the bottom line.