Ways to Ensure Cross-Team Collaboration

It sounds similar to the corporate catchphrases we hear every day, such as “thinking outside the box” or “mapping the customer journey,” but at the heart of every successful organization is effective cross-team collaboration. And with remote work becoming an increasingly common way of running a business, the benefits (and the challenges) of cross-team collaboration are becoming more critical.

Cross-team collaboration, also called cross-functional collaboration or simply cross-collaboration, is the concept of teaming with others in the organization whose function may be different than yours. Designers and engineers, for example, may work with both parts buyers and marketing staff to ensure the successful rollout of a new product, or the sales team partners with customer support staff to make sure those who buy that product are satisfied with their purchase. Cross-team collaboration involves breaking out of your specific organizational silo to achieve a goal that can’t be reached by working individually.

If not appropriately managed, cross-team collaboration can lead to distrust and resentment between those in different job functions. To help maximize the chances of project success, consider adopting these best practices:

Be clear about project goals


It’s often difficult for workers to understand howa project will benefit them (and the organization), especially if it takes time and attention from their regular duties. At the same time, upper-level management can occasionally neglect to share those goals with them rank and file. Any project’s goal should be to improve the overall business by increasing sales or cutting costs. Make sure everyone in the organization knows exactly what the goal is.

Keep everyone informed about timelines and milestones


If one team doesn’t know how their particular piece of the puzzle fits in with the overall project, their task can end up on the back burner. As a result, others end up waiting on that team, and the overall project will fall behind. Make sure each group knows when their tasks need to be completed.

Promote communication

One team may need input or information from another team to complete their specific tasks. Make it easy for members of individual teams to communicate with members of other units. Circulate a list of teams that includes individual members’ names, job function, and contact information.

Know your co-workers’ job functions

It’s natural for those in a particular job to feel like that job is the most important one in the company, and the organization would collapse without then. And while that’s an attitude to be encouraged, those workers need to recognize that others feel the same way. Regular meetings or even after-work social gatherings where people can share what they do can go a long way towards promoting cohesiveness among teams.

Use the right technology

With any project these days, there’s a good chance that team members will either be working from home or a remote location. Enabling teams to collaborate via web conference is a requirement, and choosing the right web conferencing software for your organization is critical to success.

On an additional note, there’s a good chance that at least some team members will be working from home. To help them stay productive, read 4 Key Tips for Staying Collaborative and On-task When Working from Home. Also, check out our tips and tools for working from home.