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A Step-By-Step Guide For Improving Cross-Team Communication

Good luck if you’re attempting to do a large project on your own. Nowadays, initiatives require participation from all members of the team. We all know that compartmentalised work isn’t going to cut it. Cross-team communication is a must. What are you doing to get projects done faster and more efficiently if you don’t collaborate across teams?

We’re not attempting to offend anyone. In fact, many workers take on the majority of a job’s responsibilities to relieve strain on other employees. You’re hurting yourself and the team if you don’t ask for help when you really need it.

It should come as no surprise that high-performance teams collaborate more effectively since they are aware of each other’s specialities, limitations, and output.

Marketing and design teams desire to collaborate closely. Web developers must be aware of what the product team is planning to release. Who is working on what should be known by team leaders.

Collaboration is crucial in today’s workplace because there is so much back and forth. “Great things in business are never done by one person,” said Steve Jobs. “They’re done by a team of people.”

Collaboration produces better ideas, more aligned outputs, and happier stakeholders, but it can be tough to coordinate. Managing numerous spinning plates at the same time is difficult, especially when multiple tasks and activities are occurring at the same time.

That’s why we’re creating a step-by-step guide to help you better grasp the importance of cross-team collaboration and how to implement it in your own company.

cross team communication

Let’s start with a definition of cross-team collaboration and why it’s more than just a buzzword:

What exactly does cross-team collaboration entail?

Cross-team collaboration, also known as cross-functional team cooperation, refers to a group of people from several disciplines, such as designers, developers, content marketers, and salespeople, who work together efficiently to achieve a common goal.

Most initiatives will necessitate the participation of numerous creative minds. You wouldn’t launch a new product with only your marketing team on board. It’s also not a good idea to design a website with simply your sales team.

Instead, you’d be better off combining the abilities and talents of each area to create a stronger final product (and a better team overall). 

Why is it so vital for organisations to collaborate across teams?

Two words: streamlined success.

Teams working in silos have no idea what’s going on in other departments, which can lead to tragedy.

The advantages of collaborating in an open and collaborative environment

So, what are the actual advantages of a working cross-team collaboration? Here are some of the most important reasons for your teams to be more connected:

  • Faster project progress: teams share a common vision and can work together to achieve a common goal.
  • Exhaustive results: when different departments contribute their expertise, no stone is left unturned.
  • Innovation and creativity: Ideas generate ideas, and the more you encourage teams to bounce ideas off of one another, the more innovative those ideas will become.
  • Increased engagement: cooperation improves working relationships and makes team members happy.
  • Faith in the company: Employees feel more engaged with the firm when they can collaborate well and are consequently more willing to put their best foot forward.
  • Upskilled employees: one of the most effective ways for team members to enhance their skill set is to learn from others.
  • Top talent: Teams that collaborate stay together, which means leadership will have an easier job maintaining top personnel and attracting new hires.
  • Happier stakeholders: Stakeholders and clients will be delighted with your team-driven results if there are more eyes on the project.

The advantages are obvious, but what does it take to push for stronger cross-team collaboration? Let’s take a closer look at each phase in the process:

Step 1: As evenly as possible divide team roles.

Teams genuinely want to collaborate. Employees cherish the option to collaborate on projects with others in order to complete them.

You’ll run into a severe bottleneck problem if you don’t create a transparent environment for employees to comprehend their own workloads and the responsibilities of other workers.

Allowing each team to understand their roles, what they have a say in, and what should be left to other teams is the first step in creating a cohesive and collaborative atmosphere. This offers each department a sense of control over their own obligations and allows them to comprehend their role in the larger picture.

It’s also crucial for project managers to recognise unequal workloads or duties among the crew. While you may have anticipated completing one work in a few hours, it can easily evolve into a week-long project. And, depending on how important one task is in comparison to the others, it may cause a bottleneck or be unjust to that individual.

Step 2: Make the most of your tools to improve team collaboration.

Make collaboration no more difficult than it needs to be. Use collaboration solutions that focus on building a collaborative workspace for every team to avoid endless confusing email threads, missing documents, and wasteful file versions.

There are numerous collaboration technologies available to assist with task management, but what more can they do? Instead, look for products with greater communication functions, so your team can rely on fewer tools while still connecting teams better. 

For instance, your project management solution should contain chat software that can be utilised by everyone in the company to improve collaboration. Teams want a location that not only allows them to organise project activities, but also allows them to communicate quickly, share project schedules, and know who is working on what at any given time.

The dashboard provides a rapid snapshot of each project’s status, while a team collaboration software like RisePath PlanCentral is ideal for keeping departments up to date on what’s going on.

Step 3: Determine who will lead the project.

When multiple departments collaborate, it’s common for various leaders to vie for the top place. It’s critical that each leader and their teams understand what decisions they can make independently and to who they must report.

Create leadership rules from the start to help teams understand who to contact for information and how to engage with those in control. This eliminates any ambiguity that may arise when two leaders hold opposing viewpoints.

It also allows teams to make decisions as a group as opposed to having one individual oversee the entire operation. Maintaining a positive workflow requires identifying these project leads.

Step 4: Make handbooks and accompanying documents

Collaboration between teams is mostly a learning experience. Some things will work, while others, let’s just say, will be difficult. Create a handbook or supporting literature that helps team members understand their role in the larger ecosystem as you build on previous experiences.

Make sure you understand everything that has to happen for good collaboration. For instance, your collaboration guide could include the following:

  • Each department’s workflow
  • Procedures for standard operations
  • Timelines for projects
  • A list of task dependencies and who is accountable for them
  • Where will documents be kept?
  • Which communication channels will teams use?
  • Each team’s final objectives

Allow team members to contribute their ideas to the guidebook for a collaborative final product. Everyone participating will be able to learn from one another and share their unique experiences as a result of this.

Some businesses refer to this as a “team charter,” which is essentially a blueprint for how a group will collaborate to achieve a common goal. It can include information such as a team’s objectives, mission, and general goals, as well as each member’s responsibilities.

It would be beneficial to have a team charter for each team as well as a company-wide collaboration guide. You may document these processes, store papers, and define significant projects in RisePath PlanCentral to help you cooperate more effectively.

Step 5: Pick a single mode of communication.

We’ve all been on the receiving end of a never-ending email thread in which crucial information is buried behind familiarities and follow-ups. Implement a centralised communication system that all teams are familiar with to avoid this.

Communication is essential for successful cross-team collaboration, and creating an environment that encourages open dialogue can make all the difference. You could already be using Google Hangouts for team communication, but team collaboration software like RisePath PlanCentral allow you to create channels and organise chats.

Step 6: Provide teams with the resources they require to succeed.

Not every project will start off as a collaborative success. There will be bumps in the road, bottlenecks, and unmet goals. That, however, is all part of the learning process.

Allow your teams the time and resources they require to investigate ideas, experiment with tactics and procedures, and, yes, fail.

Teams can cover all bases if they have the resources they need to brainstorm and get creative. It’s tempting to go with the first (and typically most obvious) suggestion, but this isn’t always the greatest decision.

It’s critical to provide teams with the space they need to consider all of their alternatives, whether through dedicated brainstorming sessions, useful checklists and resources, or simply a place to dump their thoughts.

When teams believe they have the resources to achieve and can work together, collaboration is always better. Even if teams operate remotely, you must ensure that all employees have equal opportunities–without stepping on one other’s toes.

Try conducting Q&A sessions, social gatherings, or even a virtual town hall to discuss better methods to cross collaborate if you want to get people talking. Just remember that increasing teamwork isn’t a one-time task.

Plan regular meetings to maintain a great communication and constantly improve inter-team connections. In the end, everything pays off. In fact, as compared to their less-connected peers, linked teams are 21 percent more profitable.

Every endeavour should encourage collaboration.

Different skill sets are beneficial to all undertakings. You can get better project results by bringing your teams together and harnessing their individual strengths. Inspiring cross-team collaboration is critical to ensure that no stone is left unturned and that all stakeholders are satisfied with the end result.

Begin by creating a space for team members to communicate and share ideas. Try to emphasise the roles that each team will play throughout the project.

Then, by creating a central location for conversation and providing helpful resources and handbooks, you can stimulate continuing collaboration.

Best of luck, and get to work!

Asha patel

Asha has been a program manager, project manager and product manager for multiple Fortune 500 global companies. She has experience with implementing many successful technology, operations and product management projects.

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