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Ways to Enhance Cross-Functional Collaboration

Harmonie SpaldingLast Updated: March 3, 2021

Misalignment. Mistakes. Miscommunications. Those are the 3 misses you never want to make as a cross-functional team when collaborating on projects. The bottom-line as a project manager is that when you’re trying to align goals, communicate about quick-turnaround tasks, and achieve results, there are some major details that need to be addressed to successfully mitigate difficulties.

From creating notes and to-do-lists to designating deadlines and assignees, your team’s cross-functional collaboration begins not just with you as a project manager but with the system you work within to accomplish your projects. Not only must tasks be clearly assigned on an accurate timeline, but communication strategies, project guidelines, and specific directions must also be consistently clarified at every step. Sharing regular updates in situations when a task or project takes a longer timeframe to complete means communicating more effectively across teams.

Because effective teams collaborate in an open environment, properly integrating efforts in a modern workplace means finding creative solutions for enhancing cross-functional collaboration.

Ways to Enhance Cross Functional Collaboration

Successful cross-functional collaboration involves various individuals with different skill sets working together on projects as a unified team. If your team has individuals set in different locations, departments, and timezones, this can require master maneuvering, and being on the same page will matter more than ever. 

Here are some key ways to enhance your collaborative team efforts:

  • Share resources. There are several key tools necessary for effective cross-functional collaboration. You need to use a platform that allows the integration of common tools for task, calendar, and timeline management.
  • Create clear assignments. Ensure tasks are clearly assigned to those responsible and that they include a due date. When cross-functional teams understand their assignments and each others’ roles, projects have a greater chance of success.  
  • Address communication styles. Clarify preferred communication methods, timelines, and include remote project team members on the same project management system.
  • Keep everyone on the same page. Hold regular check-in meetings to make sure everyone is clear on project guidelines and directions.
  • Give regular progress updates and immediately notify your team of any updates. When deadlines are changing or the project direction has shifted, it’s important to have a few communications options for urgent team dissemination including:
    • A way to drag and drop deadlines and assignees
    • A built-in chat program for instantly messaging team members or individuals involved in a project
    • A team or project chat channel created for cohesive communication
    • An easy way to share comments, notes, and documents on a task to communicate across team members
  • Consider project planning from a big picture perspective. When misaligned goals or schedules occur, it’s critical to define quickly what the next steps should be. As a project manager, you need a way to:
    • View team member calendars to determine shifts that need to be made
    • Filter and sort tasks to keep projects and assignees on track
    • Send reminders when project due dates are approaching or deadlines are missed
    • Examine and adjust project timelines so that there’s an equal project balance
  • Reward successes. When working on cross-functional projects, team members need a way to reward successes. A project chat channel where you can celebrate achievements goes a long way for recognizing accomplishments.

Making it clear that you are working toward the same goals should never take away from cross-functional strategy, it should only enhance it. By using the above methods, you will quickly learn the benefits of a goal-focused project management platform. 

Cross-Functional Platform for Strategic Collaboration

A crucial area for enhancing cross-functional collaboration is to ensure that your team’s project goals are aligned seamlessly. The common vision for a project must be communicated as a whole so that joint initiatives are covered and collaborative team goals are accomplished successfully on time.

Here are some tips for bringing together teams from different departments and skill sets to collaborate successfully on one project management platform:

  • Foster a creative collaboration space where you can not only share about team projects but also celebrate client wins, anniversaries, and team achievements.
    • A “Daily Good News Channel” can be set up within a built-in chat messaging system. You can include threads of comments from team members about team achievements, completed challenges, and brilliant discoveries by project members.
    • A “Weekly Celebrations Board” is where team members can celebrate major accomplishments, milestone achievements, and a place open for communicating celebratory news to start or end each week. 
  • Manage team needs by company-specific roles. When you have team members from different roles or departments collaborating on a single platform, it’s helpful to align project members into a common chat group. When you need to tap specific resources like writing, editing, or sales, simply call upon contributors in this channel.
  • Set up collaborative tasks integrating teams so that cross-functional leaders can add assignees and followers from every area of need for a common goal or project. 
  • Increase cross-functional team innovation by bringing unique perspectives to the table through an online project management platform that provides all your team’s favorite tools and apps in one common space. 
  • Improve productivity by using a system that enables you to prioritize tasks and literally create effective to-do lists.
  • Provide a written status update concerning team members’ active, focused, or away state.
  • Optimize your workforce by leveraging diverse talents and experiences from team members with mutual goals. By connecting individuals with a project leader via the same unified platform, it will be easier to accomplish the mission at hand.

Working to achieve a common goal requires the expertise of various members of your team.  And that’s because major projects demand all hands on deck. Bringing together cross-functional teams on an all-in-one dashboard keeps everyone aligned and active in real-time.

Enhancing Your Cross-Functional Collaboration

Misunderstandings happen when team members are unsure of their individual tasks and responsibilities. Visual awareness from a shared task management platform unifies teams in a thoughtful, well-designed way, and a communication platform that integrates your team’s tools for agile project management quickly boosts your collaboration and productivity.

Meaningful cross-functional collaboration that connects stakeholders is a seamless way to bring your teams together. Whatever your deadlines are and no matter the size of your team, a modern task and project management software option like Flow can put everyone on the same page so your projects and teams can shine.

Flow provides a simple, interactive interface that enhances your team’s cross-functional collaboration. Sign up for a free trial today.

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