With COVID forcing almost all organizations to go remote, the challenge facing all organizations – effective collaboration. Teams working in silos can shut doors to many valuable insights that otherwise could have been the key to a larger impact.
Cross-functional team collaboration can open up to a whole new range of ideas and remove barriers across teams that belong to different functionalities. Being a part of a cross-functional team can help you develop a sense of purpose and improve your overall work experience and efficiency.
Although cross-functional collaboration is rewarding, why is it not widely adopted? There are 3 main reasons why:
- Many confuse cross-functional collaboration with traditional collaboration.
- Lack of awareness of the drastic benefits that cross-functional collaboration can provide.
- No roadmap to collaborate efficiently
What is cross-functional collaboration?
Cross-functional collaboration is when different teams come together to work towards a common goal. For example, the Sales, Marketing, and Design teams can come together to share ideas, provide feedback, and achieve a goal. Cross-functional collaboration is different from traditional collaboration as the latter does not involve different teams coming together as one.
Why is it important?
Not only is cross-functional collaboration efficient for the team but it is also efficient for the company. In the field of creatives, brand management is one of the crucial factors which determines the company’s success. It helps with drawing the customer’s attention to the product and hence increase the company’s ROI.
A recent study showed that products developed by cross-functional teams added 156% more appeal to customers.
You should use cross-functional collaboration techniques if you want to:
With cross-functional collaboration, all the teams get an understanding of the other departments. They can then understand the vision of the organization. Hence, they can foster change faster and thrive through uncertain times. Adaptability gives your company an advantage over the others.
Once your team gets a big picture of the goal, they will be able to think from a different perspective. This way, more ideas can be generated. Hence, this helps with creating better solutions at a faster pace.
Solve bigger problems
With cross-functional collaboration, different departments come together to brainstorm ideas. When more people validate an idea, faster iterations are possible. Rapid iterations help you verify your ideas and change them before they reach the public.
Roadmap for efficient cross-functional collaboration
Although cross-functional collaboration may not be easy, it is definitely possible. Bringing different teams together can improve your strategy and execution. The most prominent advantage of cross-functional teams is the reduced time that it takes to get to the market. You can So, here are a few tips that will help you to improve cross-functional collaboration:
Engage across different teams
First, introduce everyone on the team to each other. Nearly 85% of the employees are not engaged in their workplace. Hence, it is important to communicate to engage with your employees. You can introduce your team in several ways. For example, you can talk to them over a coffee break.
Make your goals clear
It is difficult to work efficiently without any goals or a purpose. This would further dampen your progress and affect the company’s overall growth. Hence, it is important to get your team on board by sharing your goals.
Once the goals are set, explain how you would be achieving your goals through certain tasks. You can even create a document with your defined goals and share ti with the rest of the team. This will help everyone feel inclusive and contribute better to the project.
Keep your team well-informed
Apart from setting goals, it is also important for you to communicate your progress with your team. Your coworkers can feel demotivated while not being kept in the loop. Also, share your brand assets if and when needed with the rest of the team. You can adopt a routine of having weekly team meetings where you can share your work summary.
Speak their language
Now, it is crucial to communicate effectively with the rest of the team. Sometimes, you might feel a disconnect among teams. About 29% of employees feel that a lack of clear communication causes failed projects. For example, a designer may not completely understand what a software developer is trying to convey. Hence, it is important to use jargon that everybody on the team can understand.
Adapting to change can be challenging for all especially when the change is drastic. So, make sure that your team can organically adapt to changes. Begin by introducing smaller and easier changes so that your team stays motivated. Encourage your team to collaborate and tell them about how it can boost productivity. Ensure to guide your team when they are in doubt.
Tools to help you collaborate
Maintaining a cross-functional team in your organization can be a task. Hence, it is important to use a toolstack (a set of softwares) so that all your teams have a common set of tools to work with on a large scale. So, before picking a toolstack, it is important to get inputs from your team members. Here are a few collaboration tools based on functionality:
Rocketium helps you maximize your conversions through personalized marketing. It helps you generate banners at scale, automate & test creatives, and customize the user experience.
Marketo is a marketing automation software by Adobe. It is well-known for the different services it provides. Services on Marketo range from lead management to consumer marketing.
Hubspot is a software that helps you grow your traffic, prove your ROI, and convert leads.
WordPress is the most widely used content management software. It is both user-friendly and highly customizable.
Contentful helps you to manage content across several platforms, all from one place.
Slack has several features like private chat, groups, channels based on topics, file sharing, etc. Hence, it is preferred by many.
Asana helps you assign tasks to certain people and track their progress. It helps you organize better to make cross-functional collaboration easier.
Nifty is a hybrid collaboration hub to manage all your projects, tasks, and communications — all in one place. This hybrid tool can be used as project management software, collaboration software & workflow management software.
Miro is a whiteboard platform that helps with visual collaborative ideation. Hence, it helps ideate, map, and plan your workflow together with your team.
Mural is also a visual collaboration software. It helps teams to innovate and collaborate to solve problems.
- Coupler.io takes your data from various applications such as Airtable, Quickbooks, Pipedrive, or Jira and pulls it directly into a Google Spreadsheet. You can also import BigQuery to Google Sheets. This way, you get a clear overview of customer data, transactions, business reports, and project estimates in one place. It also allows you to automatically import CSV data into a Google spreadsheet without any coding experience.
- Adobe XD
Adobe XD is a tool that is exclusively for UX and UI purposes. The files can be easily shared with the rest of the team. Also, a prototype can be easily shared with the help of a link for user testing.
Figma is similar to Adobe XD in terms of designing and prototyping. Although, it has a feature that enables different users to modify a file at the same time.