Unified Communications

How To Improve Cross-Team Collaboration

Discover the challenges faced by cross-functional teams and explore best practices as well as communication strategies to enhance cross-team collaboration in corporations.
Cross-Team Collaboration

Corporations are introducing cross-team collaboration around the globe to scale their businesses successfully. But findings from a detailed study of 95 teams in 25 leading corporations state that nearly 75% of cross-functional teams are dysfunctional.

Many of these cross-functional teams don’t flourish because they lack a clear goal or face difficulty meeting schedules or planned budgets.

Each corporation has its fundamental business values and ideals that they adhere to during cross-team collaboration. Every employee of the company must be synchronized to the end goal properly.

The problem lies in appropriate cross-functional communication and synchronization of teamwork. 

In this article, find out benefits and best practices to improve the success rate of cross-functional collaboration through proper synchronization and effective business communication within employees. 

  1. What is cross-team collaboration?
  2. Why is cross-team collaboration important?
  3. Benefits of cross-team collaboration
  4. How do you drive cross-functional collaboration?
  5. Cross-team collaboration best practices
  6. How to improve cross-team collaboration

What is cross-team collaboration?

In the post-pandemic remote work environment, cross-functional collaboration is part and parcel of every business. It is a way of communication where a group of people from across different departments team up to achieve a definite company goal.

These collaborations aim to gather employees from different functional backgrounds and expertise like HR, sales, marketing, and customer care.

This way, you can sum up a large-scale skill set and knowledge for better insight and newer perspective to find innovative solutions for a problem or wrap up daily responsibilities way faster than it was possible individually.

Enterprises like Facebook and Google have already adopted cross-functional communication policies. Facebook’s Product TPM is a cross-team initiative to build strategies and execution methods for technical and product platforms for prompt product and program delivery.  

Why is cross-team collaboration important?

It often occurs that a company's growth stagnates due to the workplace silo mentality. It is a narrow, isolated mindset where specific departments refuse to share resources and information with other sectors of the same company. 

Getting over the silo mentality is necessary because the teams will perform better with comprehensive knowledge of the whole scenario. It is precisely why cross-team collaboration is essential for any thriving business. 

Cross-team collaboration helps create a culture of continuous improvement to increase participation and empower every employee. Improving team communication ensures employees get the space to find opportunities for improvement consistently. 

Every division has its own set of duties and responsibilities. They communicate in a specific work jargon, making it difficult for the teams to work in association with each other. Cross-functional collaboration is vital to eliminate these misunderstandings.

Effective team communication brings in diversity, accumulating a vast range of people across different experience levels and command over various niches. 

Benefits of cross-team collaboration

Cross-team collaboration has many beneficial aspects. The primary beneficial aspects of teamwork and communication are:

  • A spur in innovation via varied perspectives: Every person has a different take on a particular issue. Bringing together people from diverse departments enables the free-flowing of these ideas, which leads to more efficient solutions to problems faced. 
  • Positive change in momentum: Converging of people from various fields leads to everyone being on the same page and hence curtails any possible setback due to miscommunication or lack of communication which is a significant issue for many corporations. 
  • More scope for everybody to learn: Collaborations enable cross-pollination of knowledge and help everyone involved understand how their work fits in the bigger picture precisely, leading to less confusion and more cohesion.  
  • Challenging the norm: These collaborations lead to new perspectives on old methods of working, and hence it is easy to do away with the popular catchphrase ‘the way we’ve always done it.’
  • Level playing field: A proper company structure is a key aspect of the smooth functioning of any organization. But a diverse approach sometimes yields better fruit. These collaborations ensure people from anywhere in the organization participate and contribute.  

How do you drive cross-functional collaboration?

There are many ways to drive a solid cross-functional collaboration, one of them being the right tools.

Remote tech teams can use some of the most prominent communication tools like Slack, Zoom, and Microsoft Teams. Webex is often already in use for meetings in the office and can be used for remote meetings too. 

When more than one of these collaboration tools are used in the same business, it can be time-consuming and counterproductive to switch between apps.

If you find yourself switching between Slack and Microsoft Teams to chat with different departments or colleagues, for example, you can use Mio to enable direct messages to be sent across apps.

Direct message Microsoft Teams Slack

Cross-team collaboration best practices

Encourage regular communication between teams

Cross-team collaborations usually revolve around colossal teams, and it is nearly impossible to get everybody in the same place at the same time. Hence daily meetings are become hard to achieve in these circumstances. 

Moreover, too many meetings lead to a high probability of losing the goal and deviating. These collaborations don’t often reduce the day-to-day activities of the people involved. 

It is important to regulate the type and timings of meetings. Each meeting must have a proper agenda, a designated team member to outline the meeting minutes, and proper documentation. 

Out of the box ideas like setting timers for each topic or removing chairs from the meeting venue have reported positive outcomes.  

Ensure your technology stack enables cross-team collaboration 

Collaboration works best when all the different departments involved are on the same page regarding the topic. Hence, dedicated communication channels play a significant factor in any cross-team collaboration success. 

In this age of digitization, communication more often than not happens online. Ensuring proper technology availability to communicate efficiently must be taken care of in the collaboration effort's initial stages. 

Applications like Google Docs have proven themselves to be efficient in this regard. The use of these technologies allows for the free flow of information, in-document collaboration, and reduces the number of meetings required drastically.

Define your common goals

Every single cross-team collaboration is carried out with certain aspects in mind. Outlining SMART goals in a concise manner ensures the smooth functioning of the endeavor. 

Each team has an integral part to play so it is pertinent these department-specific goals and roadmaps be outlined. When done so, everyone has a clear idea about what they are working towards and how it all fits into the grand scheme of the collaboration. 

Defining common goals removes the potential for confusion and helps each department track its progress. If a particular department starts lagging, they will know when to pick up the pace to meet the other involved parties.

Share your success across teams

No matter how detailed and well organized a collaborative effort is, it would inevitably fall apart if you didn’t achieve success.

All too often teams finish one project and move onto the next. This transactional way of working neglects the emotional side of work.

Work without a sense of achievement more often than not leads to below-par future work.

Next time you collaborate cross-team, layout incentives, and celebrate reaching targets. This doesn’t have to be monetary, though it could be.

The introduction of collective rewards for achieving a particular goal is becoming commonplace in the remote world.   

How to improve cross-team collaboration

You can improve cross-team collaboration effort by adhering to some basic steps:

  • Create KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) for a performance review to maintain work standards.
  • Establish a communication system that is centralized and connects every single team member.
  • Include technology into the process and integrate day-to-day apps.
  • Create a team charter that outlines ideas, responsibilities, goals, and deadlines.
  • Keep stakeholders informed and include their feedback into the project after deliberation with them.

Mio empowers cross-platform interoperability to make collaboration seamless.

No matter which platform you are on - Google Chat, Microsoft Teams, Slack, Webex, or Zoom Chat- you can message your colleagues and contacts from your preferred app.

Mio supports the following functionality to enable better collaboration:

  • Basic messages
  • Threaded messages
  • File uploads
  • Editing messages
  • Deleting messages
  • Emojis
  • GIFs

Codestream sells code collaboration software to technology companies that use a variety of messaging applications.

Codestream’s CEO, Peter Pezaris, says:

“Our sales and customer success teams use Slack shared channels whenever possible. Until discovering Mio, we were still using email to communicate with customers who use Teams. Mio allows us to communicate with all our customers in real-time, regardless of which team collaboration app they use.”

Final words 

Any cross-team collaboration can be deemed a success if all the stakeholders and team members are happy and content by the end of it, and the set-out goals have been successfully achieved through minimal risk and optimized efforts.

By following the procedures outlined in this article, you can increase your success rate of cross-functional collaborations.

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