An HR Glossary for HR Terms

Cross-functional Teams

What is Cross-functional Teams? 

Cross-functional teams are groups of people from various departments in an organization - such as marketing, product development, quality assurance, sales and finance who work together to achieve a common goal. Oftentimes, cross-functional teams are organized to complete a specific project, but they can also be created with a more ongoing purpose. It typically includes employees from all levels of an organization to come and work together.

Why are cross-functional teams important?

  • Different viewpoints
  • Varying expertise and experiences
  • Collective team effort can tackle larger problems and achieve team goals
  • Innovation 
  • Team discussion can spark creative answers

Benefits of cross-functional teams

1 - Promote the Goals of the Organization

When departments operate primarily within their specific vertical, they often focus on their own goals without seeing the big picture. 

2 - Increase Efficiency

Instead of a project moving through one department before being passed off to the next, cross-functional teams increase the efficiency of project completion. Because you are working with personnel from other departments, the team can address potential challenges before moving too far along in the process.

3 - Increase Innovation

By combining different viewpoints and knowledge, cross-functional teams can increase innovation of both processes and products. They can find holistic solutions to meet the needs of the organization because they can see the perspectives of other functionalities.

Downsides of cross-functional teams

  • Potentially limit professional growth within the team
  • If projects are too broad, cross-functional teams can flounder aimlessly
  • Members may become disgruntled 
  • It can create conflict and confusion if there is a lack of alignment or coordination in the team

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