5 Tips to Improve Cross-Functional Collaboration
Managing agile teams across disparate teams can be challenging. Here are five tips to improve cross-functional collaboration.
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When people from different departments and teams come together and work toward a common goal, they can push boundaries, be more productive at work, and bring more innovative ideas to the table.
However, cross-functional collaboration is easier said than done. Working with people from different backgrounds, work cultures, and industries means that you have to manage conflicting communication methods, leadership styles, prioritization practices, and so on. This may also mean you need to use more advanced tools and project management workflow to tackle the added complexity of team management. Here are some tips on how you can improve your cross-team collaboration, especially in matrix organizational structures.
1. Centralize Communication
The first thing you need is a cross-functional collaboration platform. Good collaboration cannot happen without good communication. Cross-functional teams often work across multiple locations. This makes communication even more difficult. Thankfully, cross-functional collaboration software helps centralize communication on a single platform. Tools like this help create a single source of information for the whole team. Instead of back and forth emails or confusing direct messaging, team members, clients, and third-party consultants can stay updated on a project’s work status and monitor progress in real-time from a single location. They can also visualize project plans however they want, from lists to Kanban boards to project timelines.
2. Set Metrics and Performance Measures
When different departments work together, it can be difficult to determine who is responsible for what. For instance, your marketing team may feel like the sales team is failing to convert most of the leads they are generating. To avoid this type of situation, set clear performance metrics for each department. If you’re managing a project, leverage project status report software. That way, each department can focus on its core strengths while still collaborating with other teams to drive success for your company.
3. Have a Single Point of Contact
In order to streamline your cross-functional collaboration, consider having a leader for your cross-team. Otherwise, the free flow of information coming from different directions could confuse or mislead team members. A single point of contact can help avoid confusion around what needs to be done next. This is also a good way to set clear expectations for your clients and contractors and improve your project management workflow.
4. Create a Team Charter
As with any team, your cross-functional team should have clearly defined goals and objectives. Write out a team charter document and share that with everyone in your team. In your team charter, consider including the overall purpose for creating the cross-team, your common goals, your estimated budget, your financial expectations, and so on. When your team members know the big picture of what they are trying to achieve, it becomes easier for them to collaborate and work toward the common goal.
5. Celebrate Small Victories
While you want to achieve big goals through your cross-functional collaboration, don’t forget to celebrate the small wins along the way. For instance, when your team successfully completes a project milestone, recognize their hard work and reward them for the success. This helps keep your team members motivated and working with increased enthusiasm.
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