If you’ve been thinking of creating a cross functional project team but are daunted by the prospect, perhaps because you have been led to believe that it may not be worthwhile, then maybe it is time to take another look. Don’t be put off – there are a great many reasons why making your project team cross functional could be truly beneficial for your company, your projects and your career.
What is a Cross Functional Team?
Perhaps it is a good idea to begin by looking at what makes a team cross functional. In a nutshell, a cross functional team is a group of employees who have a variety of different areas of expertise, all working together towards a common goal like a successful project. Ideally, your team will include employees from a variety of different levels with a number of different skillsets. Because of the variety of skills involved, each member of the team brings their own unique perspective to any task that is undertaken.
Learn New Things
Working with people with different skill sets and who do things differently is a fantastic opportunity to see how other people not only structure their work but also what kind of tools they use to achieve their goals. It is conceivable that some of these tools could prove valuable to other people within the team, yet they may have never come across them before.
It can also provide an excellent opportunity to find out just who in your team is the whizz with basic tools such as collaboration apps, PowerPoint or Excel, and who has excellent project management skills. Learning new PM skills as you work together as a cross functional project team can be a valuable experience for all involved.
Improve your Project Management Skills
Even the best project manager cannot simply put together a cross functional team and expect everything to run smoothly. You will have to take a good look at the members of your team and work out how best to use their skills to create the best project outcome, this could be a real test of what you learnt when studying for your project management qualifications. Using best practise, your own skills, and those of your team members to the best of their ability, is exactly what project management is and should, if done well, produce excellent results.
The biggest, single most important, reason to create a cross functional project team is of course to get the outcome you need. Pooling resources and making the most of each employee’s best skills gives you the best chance of achieving that common goal. When you need to get a complex project completed a cross functional team is often the perfect solution.