Cross-functional teams have become a new norm in the corporate world to develop top-notch and customer-centric products. And why shouldn't it be? Did you know that approximately 30,000 new products are introduced each year? Out of these, only 5% are successful, while the remaining 95% fail. Most businesses don't take their customers' demands into consideration, which is one of the main reasons why their products fail.
Considering the customer's perspective is the key to lessen the likelihood that a product will fail. Collaborating with many departments within a business is the most effective way to do this. And that's what we are seeing now in the shape of cross-functional teams for product development.
Each department has its own unique role, viewpoint, and skill that they bring to the table. This is where the 3 Cs of cross-functional teamwork come into action, as they can be used to implement seamless departmental collaboration. These 3 Cs of teamwork are:
In this article, we will discuss the 3 Cs of business, cross-functional teamwork, and its impact on customer-centric product development. So, let's get started.
- What is Cross-Functional Teamwork?
- Importance of Cross-Functional Teamwork
- The 3 Cs of Cross-Functional Teamwork
- Best Practices to Enhance 3 Cs of Cross-Functional Teamwork
- Wrapping Up – Elevate Your Cross-Functional Teamwork with 3 Cs
Organizations have improved their business practices with technological advancements. Cross-functional teams are one of the main strategies used by most firms, particularly when developing and improving products.
Teams created by personnel from many areas inside the company, including marketing, design, customer service, sales, management, finance, and engineering, are known as cross-functional teams. Their main objective is to combine everyone's knowledge and skills to create a product that fulfills the needs of their clients.
Once the team is formed, a manager is appointed who has to organize, schedule, and direct meetings and tasks. The manager's role is to ensure that everyone on the team has been assigned tasks and is making steady progress while achieving all goals.
For example, company ABC made a team that consisted of two employees from the following departments: production, design, marketing, sales, and user experience. This team was assigned the project to invent a new hair dryer. With the amalgam of each team member's knowledge, ideas, and insights, the success rate of product development increases.
Cross-functional teams have proven to be better than traditionally siloed teams that are formed based on common skills. According to a survey, about 97% of executives think that siloed or traditional teams have a negative impact on an organization. So, let's see what are the benefits of having a cross-functional team.
In cross-functional teams, resources, information, and skills can be shared easily and in a timely manner, as all the team members are working together. This helps to accelerate all the phases of product development.
In contrast, there is a greater chance of misinterpreting information with soiled teams because the information travels from one department to another. This leads to delays and a longer product development process. Simply put, cross-functional teams help to avoid delays and misinterpretations because employees are working together in a team, and any misunderstanding can be resolved on the spot.
Cross-functional teams break down the traditional barrier of common function-based teams, which allows employees of different skills and expertise to come together and communicate freely. This open communication helps team members bond, understand, and detect any flaws within their work and resolve them effectively.
Cross-functional teams encourage a holistic approach to working where every department in an organization connects and operates as a team. When all departments work as a team, there are higher chances of them developing a product that satisfies customers and meets their business goals.
Cross-functional teams are better at decision-making because everyone on the team has their own opinion and knowledge. By combining their various expertise, all the team members are able to make informed decisions. So, when different skills and expertise, such as competitor analysis, marketing strategies, and cost-effective production practices, are combined, they can come up with an effective solution.
Now that we know the benefits of cross-functional teams, the next question is how to ensure effective cross-functional teamwork. The 3 Cs of business are the key to cross-functional teamwork success. Let's explore what these 3 Cs are and why they are important.
For a cross-functional team to succeed, there needs to be open communication among the members. They should be able to talk, ask questions without any hesitation, answer openly, and provide guidance to one another. This transfer of ideas, information, and feedback among team members is what this "C" emphasizes.
- It makes sure that everyone on the team knows the purpose of the project, their roles, and project objectives.
- It helps reduce misunderstandings and assumptions, thus lowering conflict among team members.
- It allows members to be transparent with each other, making it easier to face challenges.
In short, communication is the key element of productive cross-functional teamwork.
Although outside the context of today's topic, communication is equally important with customers as well. Addressing customer queries, helping them make decisions, and providing timely updates on products/services are crucial. The best thing here is that organizations can now use AI chatbots to facilitate communication with customers. Shulex VOC AI Chatbot, a powerful alternative to Intercom, can train on your provided data and then provide customers with instant, accurate, and human-like responses.
In short, leverage communication in every organizational operation and deploy advanced tools like VOC AI Chatbot, the better alternative to Zendesk, to have a rewarding communicative environment.
Collaboration, from the 3 Cs of cross-functional teams, refers to the team members working together and sharing ideas, knowledge, and skills to achieve a common goal. Collaborating with each other allows them to easily agree upon the methods of working and tools that they will use to complete their shared tasks.
- Team members can bring together their diverse skills and expertise to generate clever solutions for problems through collaboration.
- Collaboration increases team spirit by promoting a sense of unity.
Coordination, from the 3 Cs of cross-functional teams, refers to the action that team members exhibit to make sure that the project is running smoothly. These actions include managing and organizing tasks among the members equally according to their expertise. Such distribution of work encourages transparency and allows team members to work together towards a common goal.
- It allows optimal usage of resources among members.
- Coordination ensures that team members avoid overlapping tasks and duties.
- Empower the team to follow the timeline, keeping the project on track.
The 3 Cs of communication, collaboration, and coordination are the building blocks of any successful cross-functional teamwork. But how can a team leverage them effectively? Let's highlight the best practices that an organization can adopt to enhance the 3 Cs of cross-functional teamwork:
The team can enhance communication by:
- Organizing daily or weekly meetings to conduct check-ins.
- Encourage members to ask questions and carry out discussions openly.
- Using tools like Microsoft Teams and Trello that promote open communication.
The team can enhance collaboration by:
- Conducting brainstorming sessions to generate ideas and solutions.
- Organizing training sessions and workshops for members who need them.
- Creating a safe environment that makes team members feel valued.
The team can enhance coordination by:
- Appointing a team leader or project manager who will regulate tasks and supervise.
- Assigning clear, achievable targets.
- Using project management tools like Asana, Smartsheet, and Notion.
There is a limit to what you can achieve alone, but when you work with others, there is no boundary to your success. Cross-functional teams are incredibly valuable for any business because these teams bring together various sets of skills, knowledge, and experiences.
You can unleash the full potential of a cross-functional team by leveraging the 3 Cs: communication, collaboration, and coordination. Using the 3Cs effectively increases your chances of efficient teamwork that overcomes challenges and maximizes an organization's success rate with improved customer satisfaction.