5 Tips for Developing Cross-Functional Teams Blog Feature

By: Le'Mina McNair on October 21st, 2021

5 Tips for Developing Cross-Functional Teams

Nearly everyone has experienced the frustration of calling a company for information, only to be transferred from one department to the next, receiving contradicting details, and being directed in circles. This common occurrence is often the result of grouping teams together based on their professional area, creating effective silos throughout an organization.

Cross-functional teams serve to eliminate the stagnance of silos by combining members from all professional areas. In this blog, we'll define cross-functional teams, identify their many benefits to a modern work environment, and explore some best practices for getting started with these dynamic teams in your organization.

What is a Cross-Functional Team?

Companies of all sizes and industries are typically organized into functional teams - teams comprised of employees in the same professional area, such as marketing or sales. While these kinds of teams have their purposes and benefits, they can also create silos that slow down projects and negatively impact client relationships.

A cross-functional team combines a member or members from different professional areas, such as sales, marketing, creative, client relations, and product development. The purpose of this is to counter the cons of functional teams by increasing inter-departmental coordination, inspiring problem-solving innovation, and speeding up the project delivery process.

Organizations may set up their entire enterprise with exclusively cross-functional teams, or members may be a part of both a functional and cross-functional team for the best of both worlds.

Benefits of Cross-Functional Teams

Utilizing either exclusively cross-functional teams or a combination of cross-functional and functional teams can drastically improve operations with enhanced interdepartmental coordination, better client relationships, faster projects, and heightened innovation.

Enhance Interdepartmental Coordination

Often, issues in coordination across teams stem from conflicting priorities: marketing may prioritize landing large enterprises, while sales may be more focused on making smaller sales quickly. By bringing members of all departments together into one team, it can help teams coordinate better around corporate goals, rather than the goals of the individual area.

Improve Customer Relationships

Uncoordinated, inconsistent client communication can make or break any company. With better coordination between the organization's areas, communication with clients can also be streamlined, ensuring that information delivered to clients is consistent across the board.

Expedite Project Completion

Rather than passing a project from one team to the next with every task, cross-functional teams could combine copy, design, marketing, and advertising all into one team. With every element of a project working together, the delivery time from one task to the next can be significantly streamlined, cutting down project completion timelines.

Innovate Problem Solutions

Functional teams are often so bogged down with simply getting tasks done, let alone looking at the bigger picture. Cross-functional teams provide your employees the time and energy to commit to innovating better processes for the better of the organization.

5 Best Practices for Cross-Functional Teams

1. Bring together complementary teams

A manager's instinct may be to bring together the best of the best to maximize productivity and output. Instead, create teams that complement each other with varying strengths and weaknesses.

2. Create clearly defined goals and timelines

Employ efficient project management techniques to establish clearly defined project phases, individual tasks, and realistic timelines for projects. This will ensure that appropriate team members work together to meet project goals.

3. Have regular brainstorming meetings

Create open lines of communication and keep innovative, problem-solving juices flowing with regular check-ins that inspire new ideas within individual teams and throughout the organization.

4. Streamline communication with the right project management system

Cross-functional teams empower transparent communication and efficient processes. Communication, however, can only be as good as the tools that facilitate it. Use the right project management system to pave the way for streamlined communication and progress transparency.

5. Ensure easy and safe file sharing

A cross-functional team puts minds from throughout an organization in the same room (in-person or digitally) to collaborate. Empower better collaboration by employing the right digital asset management system to facilitate easy data and file sharing. For remote cross-functional teams, cloud-based digital asset management systems ensure the safe storage and quick delivery of your data.

CTA & Conclusion

If your organization suffers from the disfunction of silos, cross-functional teams may be the perfect way to break the cycle. Take control of your projects and resources so everyone has the information and visibility they need. Learn how IO Integration can help. Speak to a consultant today.