4 Tips For Your Cross-Functional Team To Maximize Impact

work team huddle

Artem Podrez, Pexels

Anouare Abdou at Hive
Anouare Abdou at Hive
April 16, 2024 at 7:37PM UTC
You probably already avoid operating in silos. But organizations are even starting to outgrow the idea of rigid departments. The product tends to come first these days (thanks to pioneers like Steve Jobs), but many marketers will tell you about the frustration of being roped in at the end of the product development process and having to work with limitations because their input was not taken into consideration earlier. Enter cross-functional teams – the best way to tap into the collective genius of a company.
“I’d describe a cross-functional team as a group of professionals with varying areas of expertise specific to their department who come together to achieve a common objective,” says Roy Morejon, President and Co-Founder of Enventys Partners, an award-winning product development, crowdfunding and e-commerce firm that has helped hundreds of brands launch their ideas.
Cross-functional is the name of the game when you’re offering clients support around a variety of strategic objectives under one roof, so Morejon knows a thing or two about optimizing a cross-functional task force.
Below he shares some insights on maximizing your impact as a cross-functional team. Because building a team is the first step, working together comes with a variety of both opportunities and challenges.

Benefits of a cross-functional team

“A cross-functional team has massive benefits to the development of a product or service because rather than sending ideas and tasks from department to department for completion, which can waste precious time, everyone is working together simultaneously to bring an idea to fruition,” explains Morejon.
“It streamlines communication, sees goals to completion faster, and coordinates company-wide processes.”
In other words, just by choosing to work as a cross-functional team, you will be eliminating a whole bunch of operational friction. Ultimately, it also helps you create stronger products and services because you get the input of subject-matter experts who attack problems and solutions from a different lens, and you get access to that input throughout the whole process instead of during isolated touchpoints.

Tips for cross-functional teams

But that being said, friction can still happen when you’re embracing a different way of working together. In fact, it’s likely to happen, so you want to arm yourself with tips and tricks that will help you make the best of a cross-functional team.

1. Be on top of project-management efforts.

“To optimize the work you do as a cross-functional team, make sure to appoint a leader that has a grasp of each team member’s task, can delegate and motivate, and who will hold everybody accountable,” says Morejon. “Some opt to form these teams without a leader, but I think it’s important to have a clearly-defined person to steer the ship.”
It doesn’t have to mean top-down leadership, but having a central point of contact who can hold a vision, facilitate operations and ensure clear and effective decision-making is key.

2. Communication is crucial.

“Communication is king when working in a cross-functional team, and it’s absolutely crucial that every team member knows how to communicate clearly and respectfully,” according to Morejon.
“Obviously this is important for any team, but it’s of even greater importance to cross-functional teams who each have a different area of functional expertise.”
Consistent communication can be the differentiator between a high-performance cross-functional team and one that is all over the place, so make sure that you not only over-communicate but that you also have the right tools in place to facilitate communication (especially if some team members are working from home while others are in the office).

3. Avoid making assumptions.

Also, Morejon says that with a cross-functional team, one thing you have to avoid at all costs is making assumptions, especially around topics like priorities and goals.
“Each team member’s priorities have to be actively detailed, and they also have to be regularly reevaluated, giving room for shifting. Assuming everyone knows what they’re doing and diving in can be a recipe for issues down the line,” he says.

4. Use Hive.

Finally, using a project-management platform like Hive can help you get the most out of a cross-functional team because it includes features that can facilitate asynchronous and hybrid workflows. And it allows you to create project dashboards that include the specific needs and considerations of people with different roles and responsibilities.
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This article originally appeared in Hive — the world's first democratically built productivity platform. Learn more at Hive.com.

What's your no. 1 piece of advice for cross-functional team collaboration? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss members!

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