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Cross Team Collaboration: The Complete Guide

Effective collaboration is vital in any organisation. When teams work together on their shared goal, they can achieve more than they could alone. Cross-team collaboration is especially important in today’s fast-paced business environment, where companies are required to be agile and responsive to stay competitive.

In this guide, we’ll explore the benefits and key approaches for seamless cross-team collaboration. We’ll also look at why it’s so important for business success.

So, whether you’re a team leader or a team member, this guide will help you understand the importance of collaborating across departments and how to make it work for your organisation.

What is Cross-team Collaboration?

Cross-team collaboration, also known as cross-functional collaboration, is a process where multiple different teams work together to accomplish a shared goal. These teams usually come from different backgrounds or departments to combine their knowledge and share meaningful, unique insights. 

Any team project will benefit from multiple perspectives, and cross-team collaboration is a great way to facilitate effective project completion between teams. By utilising shared views and learnings, an organisation can effectively distribute knowledge within their teams, sharing insights and producing mutually informed results.

Cross-team collaboration isn’t just something that helps create more efficient collaboration; it can also improve employee experience significantly.

The Benefits of Open and Collaborative Workspaces

Open and collaborative workspaces have become increasingly popular in recent years. These environments, characterised by open floor plans and shared work areas, offer a number of benefits:

  • Enhanced Communication: Open workspaces facilitate easier communication and collaboration among team members. The lack of physical barriers encourages spontaneous discussions and idea sharing.
  • Increased Flexibility: These workspaces often include a variety of work areas such as quiet zones, collaboration areas, and casual meeting spaces. This allows employees to choose where and how they work based on their tasks and preferences.
  • Improved Relationships: Working in proximity can help to build relationships and foster a sense of community among employees. This can lead to improved teamwork and morale.
  • Innovation and Creativity: The free flow of ideas in an open workspace can spark innovation and creativity. Diverse perspectives can lead to unique solutions and approaches.
  • Cost Efficiency: Open workspaces can be more cost-effective as they make better use of the available space. They can also reduce costs associated with construction, utilities, and office equipment.

However, it’s important to note that open and collaborative workspaces may not be suitable for all businesses or all employees. Some people may find them distracting or lacking in privacy. Therefore, it’s crucial to consider the specific needs and preferences of your team when designing your office layout.

Read more about the Benefits of Collaborative Working here

Challenges of Cross-Functional Collaboration

While cross-functional collaboration can bring a number of benefits to an organisation, it also has its own set of challenges. Here are some of the most common ones that we feel organisations may come across:

1) Communication Barriers

In any organisation, different teams often develop their own unique terminology and communication styles. 

When these teams come together, these differences in language can lead to misunderstandings and misinterpretations. 

2) Conflicting Priorities

Each team within an organisation has its own set of goals and objectives. For instance, the sales team’s goal might be to increase revenue, while the product team might be focused on improving product quality. 

These goals can sometimes conflict, leading to tension and disagreements. 

3) Resistance to Change

People often resist change, especially when it involves altering established routines and processes. For example, introducing a new project management tool or changing the reporting structure can meet with resistance. 

This resistance can make it difficult to implement cross-functional collaboration. 

4) Lack of Trust

Trust is a crucial component of effective collaboration. However, building trust between teams that have not previously worked together can be challenging, and miscommunication is a common trait affecting trust built between departments. 

5) Resource Allocation

Cross-functional projects often require resources from multiple teams. For instance, a new product launch might require resources from the product, marketing, and sales teams. This can lead to disputes over resource allocation. 

6) Accountability Issues

In a cross-functional team, it can be difficult to establish accountability. For example, if a project fails, it might be unclear who is responsible. 

This can lead to confusion and a lack of ownership. 

7) The Silo Mentality

When teams and departments get used to working without collaboration, a mindset of siloed working can emerge. This can cement bad habits of avoiding communication, competing for resources and the withholding of information.

Perhaps one of the biggest issues facing modern organisations following the adoption of hybrid working, the silo mindset can dramatically hold back the potential collaboration.

Learn more about how to conquer this threat to collaboration here: The Silo Mentality Explained

Despite these challenges, cross-functional collaboration is a powerful tool that can drive innovation and improve organisational performance. The key is to anticipate these challenges and proactively address them.

Key Approaches for Seamless Collaboration Across Teams

Cross-team collaboration is essential for the success of any organisation. Here are some key approaches to ensure seamless cross-team collaboration:

1) Clear Goals and Objectives

It’s crucial to establish clear and measurable goals at the beginning of any collaborative effort. These goals should align with the overall objectives of the organisation. 

By setting a common purpose, teams can work together more effectively towards a similar goal. Also, regularly revisiting these goals can help to keep the collaboration on track and make necessary adjustments and improvements.

2) Open Communication

Open and transparent communication is the foundation of any successful collaboration. Encourage team members to voice their ideas, concerns, and feedback. Managing communication not only builds trust but also creates a culture where everyone feels valued and appreciated. 

Utilise various communication channels – both formal and informal – to ensure everyone stays informed and updated.

3) Regular Meetings

Regular meetings are essential to keep the momentum going. These meetings can serve as a platform for team members to share updates, discuss challenges, and make collective decisions. 

It’s important to ensure these meetings are productive and inclusive, with clear agendas and actionable items.

4) Use of Collaboration Tools

Leverage technology to facilitate collaboration. Tools like Verto 365 can be used for project management, real-time communication, and document sharing, and can significantly enhance efficiency and transparency. 

Choose tools that best fit your team’s needs and provide the necessary training to ensure everyone can use them effectively.

5) Role Clarification

Clearly defining each team member’s key role and responsibilities can prevent confusion and overlap. It ensures that everyone knows what they’re accountable for. 

Regularly revisit these roles as the collaboration evolves and adjust as necessary. Check our guide on Project Management Roles to learn more.

6) Conflict Resolution

Conflicts are inevitable in any team setting. You need to establish a fair and transparent process for conflict resolution. Encourage open dialogue and ensure that every party involved has a chance to give their own opinion. 

Always remember, when handled constructively, conflicts can lead to better solutions and stronger relationships.

7) Recognition and Rewards

Recognising and rewarding collaborative efforts can boost the morale and motivate the team. Try as much as possible to celebrate successes, no matter how small, and make sure contributions from all team members are acknowledged. 

This not only motivates teams to collaborate more effectively but also fosters a positive work culture.

Remember, effective cross-team collaboration requires effort and commitment from all team members. With these approaches, you can foster a collaborative culture that drives your organisation towards success.

Learn more strategies for encouraging collaboration here.

What makes cross-team collaboration so critical for businesses?

Cross-team collaboration is crucial for business success. It involves working with individuals from different teams to achieve common goals, fostering agility and efficiency. 

The main benefits include: 

  • Knowledge sharing
  • Improved communication
  • Coordination 

Collaboration leads to innovation by combining diverse expertise, and it enhances efficiency by eliminating redundancies. Overall, businesses should encourage a culture of openness and innovation to stay competitive.

Using Verto 365 to Improve Cross-Team Collaboration

Verto 365 is a powerful tool that can significantly improve cross-team collaboration within your organisation. 

By providing a centralised platform for collaboration, project management, and task management, Verto 365 can help to streamline the collaborative process and foster a more integrated and cohesive team environment.

Are you ready to take your team’s collaboration to the next level? Get started with Verto 365 today.

Teams use Verto

About the author – Laura Watts

Laura is the Marketing Manager at TMI Systems Ltd., working predominantly on Verto 365 and closely on the Microsoft partnership enabling the platform to be used in its entirety from Microsoft Teams. Laura and her family moved from London in 2021 and now live and work in Gloucestershire.