Cross-functional teams are groups of people that have different areas of expertise but are working together toward a common goal on a specific project. These teams can be brought together to work on one specific project and then disbanded, or they can be brought together to work together continuously on related projects. This is unlike quality control circles, in which the team is made up of individuals who perform the same task or job.
Benefits of Cross-Functional Teams
Using cross-functional teams has a lot of benefits both for the company and for the individuals on the team. Some of the most significant advantages are as follows:
- Less Groupthink – By bringing people together with diverse backgrounds it is less likely that the team will suffer from groupthink. Static teams can become too used to working together, which can prevent ‘outside the box’ ideas.
- Resources are Available Immediately – If a cross-functional team is created it will have all the human resources needed for the whole project right from the beginning. This means there is no need to wait for someone to be available to help with a specific task on the project.
- Greater Depth of Information – Having a team of subject matter experts working together can help to significantly increase the depth of knowledge available for the project.
- Reduced Time Bringing People Up to Speed – Since everyone on the team is involved right from the beginning there is no need to bring people up to speed when they need to perform a task.
- Precisely Chosen for Need of Project – The members of a cross-functional team should be chosen based on their areas of expertise and the needs of the specific project. This helps to ensure everyone on the team has a lot to contribute and there aren’t wasted resources.
Creating a Cross-Functional Team
When creating a cross-functional team it is important to determine all the different requirements that the team will have. Members from various different areas will need to be brought together and assigned to the team. This can include team members from financing, marketing, operations, human resources, technology, and many others depending on the scope of the project.