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Introduction to Working in Cross-Functional Teams (DDN2-V29)


This video, featuring Ayushi Roy, provides an introduction to cross-functional, multi-disciplinary teams, and demonstrates how they can add value to products and services

Duration: 00:04:23
Published: February 7, 2024
Type: Video

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Introduction to Working in Cross-Functional Teams (DDN2-V29)



Transcript: Introduction to Working in Cross-Functional Teams (DDN2-V29)

Text appears on screen : Introduction to Working in Cross-Functional Teams, With Ayushi Roy

Hi everyone. Welcome to today's session on the foundations of cross-functional teams.

Text appears on screen: Cross-Functional Teams

First, what is a cross-functional team? These are also often referred to as multidisciplinary teams, and both words can be used interchangeably.

Text appears on screen: Multidisciplinary Teams

A cross-functional team is defined as a group of people with a variety of expertise who come together to achieve a common goal. What that looks like is something like this: you have a design team, an engineering team, a product team, and these teams are often grouped by functions.

A cross-functional team, however, is when there's a mixing of functions. So, Team A can have members of design, engineering and product. Same with Team B and same with Team C. What's also worth noting is that cross-functional teams or multidisciplinary teams also typically include employees from all levels of an organization. In other words, Team A can include the director of the Design Functional Group, managers from the engineering and product design groups, and then perhaps an intern from the engineering group as well.

Reasons for why cross-functional teams can be useful can be because of simply just limited resources and small size, as is the case for startups and small businesses. And it can also be to address temporary projects in larger corporations.

Why did the idea of a cross-functional team even arise? This comes from the idea that the, quote, "lone genius" may not be the best way of creating innovation in a corporation to keep up with market demands. Instead, there's actually genius in diverse groups, and what creates innovation is bringing people together with diverse knowledge and diverse experiences.

Which of these scenarios do you think most closely resembles a cross functional team? Is it something like The Avengers, where everyone comes together with their unique superpowers to conquer a challenge? Or is it that cringeworthy team project you might have had to do in grade school? The reality is, both are true and it makes a difference what kind of context you're operating within. In our case, we're talking about cross-functional teams or multidisciplinary teams working within a larger bureaucracy. That comes with hierarchies, job classification bottlenecks and all kinds of other cultural contexts that we need to be mindful of.

Cross-functional teams can provide a trial run for a new project before a full new team is hired. They can help challenge the status quo and help find better ways to think or do things. They can expose employees to new knowledge areas, help them upskill, find opportunities for leadership, build a sense of cohesion within the larger organization and more.

There are four main roses that come with cross-functional teams.

The first, is that cross-functional teams help promote organization wide and not siloed goals.

Text appears on screen: Organization wide

They help improve that big picture visibility.

Text appears on screen: Organization wide

The second, is that cross-functional teams help increase efficiency. They help provide internal collaboration towards the goal over a focus on bureaucratic process.

The third rose, is that they help promote collaboration and innovation. Cross-functional teams can provide new ways of working, new communication channels and a new opportunities for leadership.

And the fourth rose is that cross-functional teams can help boost employee experience and retention. Often cross-functional teams will allow for greater cohesion, more learning opportunities and more skill development, both around different functions such as design, engineering, product, as well as skill development around management and leadership skills.

That covers the roses, and in the next video, we will discuss the thorns.

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