If your business is expanding, you may have to work on cross functioning development projects more often. In simple terms, a cross functional group can be defined as a team of professionals with different fields of expertise working together for a single goal.

A cross functional group of professionals can include people from different departments including marketing, sales, finance, operations, human resources, or IT and can range from all employee levels within the organization. In some cases, cross functional teams can come from outside the company in the form of suppliers, customers, consultants and partners.

Managing a cross functional team

Cross functional development teams generally function as self directed groups that are assigned tasks unique to their expertise. However, as a manager you are required to keep tabs on all groups within the project and ensure that the teams are working in sync. One of the biggest benefits of cross functional development teams is the promotion of creative, innovative and out of the box solutions. Since members from different expertise approach a single task in different ways, you can take advantage of multiple perspectives to the same problem and reach the best solution. In today’s competitive business world, innovation is given importance as it can give your business a competitive advantage.

With cross functional development projects, you can initiate a creative collaboration. These teams are equally useful for both special projects as well as day-to-day business processes within the organization. While the end benefits of a cross functioning team are well worth the effort, managing and leading the team can become a challenge. If you are planning on leading a cross functional team, it is important to have enough working knowledge of all processes to communicate, understand and lead the team to find solutions. Apart from directing multiple team members in various disciplines, leaders are also required to channel variations of input into a single consolidated output.

Benefits of managing cross functional teams

Self directed teams of cross functional professionals have become more influential in the decision making process in many business structures. It has managed to change several traditional business processes by making decision making a multi-directional process. Instead of channeling the process in just one direction, businesses today are choosing to diversify to enhance the deliberation and decision making process. Cross functional teams provide a bigger scope for information with greater depth, helping the business reach larger demographics. Additionally, today’s decision making process is less goal dominated and focuses on making the best choice with multiple perspectives.