Cross-Functional Teams

Pulling together people with different skills and responsibilities to reimagine their work as a collaborative project

 

Cross-functional teams are foundational to collaborative innovation work. These are teams that represent all of the different ideas, skills, and authority required to complete a team-driven project successfully.

Designing an effective cross-functional team is difficult work, and should be the task of only a few key project stakeholders. The ideal team should include members who represent some organizational authority for every functional area required to complete the project, and who meet the following criteria:

  • Willingness to be accountable to team members
  • Adherence to the tools and processes agreed upon by the business or project team
  • Willingness to accomplish any project tasks that they are able to do, regardless of whether or not it fits neatly into their job description
  • Ability to understand how a specific project fits into the company goals
  • Respect for the success measures of the project owner/customers even if differs from their own
Choosing Your Team

The ideal size of a cross-functional team depends on the scope of the project, but ideally will not exceed 10 people. If the team gets too big, it should be subdivided into groups to tackle smaller projects. Choosing the right people is critical; even a single person who is not on board can bring the whole team down with them.
Before selecting a team, consider what other duties and obligations each person is facing. Nothing is worse than being required to do more work than you have time to do!