Shirley J. Caruso, Ed.D.
Cross-functional teams consist of a group of people that hold different positions within and outside of an organization that are working to reach a common goal.
The members of a cross-functional team may include personnel from all departments within the organization including project management, accounting, estimating, IT, operations, marketing, HR, and administration departments.
The members of the team may also be from different levels of these departments. The team may also include people from outside of the organization such as suppliers, customers, and consultants. Three reasons why it is important to establish cross-functional teams when consulting are as follows:
- Cross-functional teams can offer a wide variety of skills and perspectives. Gaining insight on the real source of the problem can be a great reward in organizing a cross-functional team, but an even greater reward can be the skills and perspectives of these individuals that come together as one to formulate an actionable solution to the problem.
- Cross-functional teams are a valuable source in the data and discovery phase. Information from all departments and all levels can be obtained to peel away the layers and get to the heart of the matter.
- Cross-functional teams offer the engagement needed to assure successful implementation of the recommended plan of action. The more people who are involved in working toward a successful solution to the problem, the better the chances of its successful implementation. Employees need to feel that they have a voice in the planned change. If involved in the process of forming the solution, they are more likely to accept its implementation.