Cross-Functional Teams

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Ramp-Up Efficiency with
Cross-Functional Teams

One of the main reasons why companies adopt different technology solutions is to achieve higher efficiency in their processes. Or at least that’s the goal. In real life, it’s not uncommon for business leaders to start running into silos and “tech islands” as a result of poor integration and implementation practices. 

If you feel like your business’s technology implementations are mostly focused on their own verticals and are struggling to keep their coherence with company-wide goals, then Cross-Functional Teams might be exactly what you need. In this article, we’ll take a look at the role of Cross-Functional Teams in tech and software development, and how they can promote cohesion across your organization while optimizing efforts to achieve goals faster and with less waste. 

Dedicated Development Team

What Is a Cross-Functional Team?

A Cross-Functional Team is exactly what it sounds like: a group of several people with varied expertise whose goal is to perform specialized tasks that deliver coordinated value. In tech, these teams are often hired under the Delivery Team methodology and assigned to one single client or project. 

The Cross-Functional Team will define milestones, completion dates, feedback cycles, and everything else required to guarantee a smooth workflow throughout the project’s lifecycle. For them, it’s all about guaranteeing the success of the project and allocating enough time and resources to make sure all goals are met. 

Agile Methodologies at the Core of Everything

As you might have expected, the best Cross-Functional Teams are fueled by agile methodologies. Most of the time, the CF team will count on a Scrum Master to ensure the fulfillment of the communication and workflow protocols, as well as the prioritization of tasks, meetings, and deadlines. 

This way, the work of a Cross-Functional Team can be divided into sprints, in which all of the members of the team can put their knowledge and skills into practice and assess their progress through burndown charts. All in all, working with a CF team is an ideal way to introduce new project-based work techniques into your company and start embracing the value of agile methodologies. 

The Structure of a Cross-Functional Team In Tech

Unsurprisingly enough, a CF team in tech looks very different when compared to a standard Cross-Functional team. The reasoning behind this is simple: software technology evolves so fast and has generated so many specializations that the need for CF teams focused on this field was only a matter of time. 

With that said, let’s take a look at the general structure of a Cross-Functional Team in the technology solutions industry:

Product Manager

This is the person you’ll be most in contact with. The product manager is the person in charge of identifying the needs of the project and making sure that the team has everything they need to fulfill its goals. In other words, this person “articulates” the definition of success and leads the Cross-Functional Team until their vision is turned into reality.

1

Scrum Master

As you might imagine, the Scrum Master is accountable for the Scrum effectiveness of the team. They do this by following the process described in the Scrum Guide and helping every member of the team through servant leadership. In other words, the Scrum Master will make sure everyone understands Scrum theory and practice, and that the process is always applied thoroughly.

2

Tech Lead

The technical lead is in charge of all decisions related to the software, hardware, and infrastructure requirements for a project. They develop software solutions, review code, and approve unit tests that accurately reflect the performance of the application. Tech Leads are senior software engineers with over 8 years of experience.

3

UX/UI Lead

The User Experience (UX) / User Interface (UI) lead is the person who will deliver everything related to the design and experience of the software application. They will work closely with stakeholders and clients to draw a clear picture of what they want the solution to look and feel like, and work with their team to make it happen.

4

Delivery Manager

The Delivery Manager is the person responsible for all high-level communication with the client to facilitate workflow coordination between the technical side of things and the product functionality in real-life scenarios. They are the point of contact for any tasks or problems that the client requires from the technical team, and will ultimately guarantee the satisfactory delivery of the software solution. 

5

What Are the Benefits of
Cross-Functional Teams?

At one point or another, most business leaders have asked themselves: Do I need a Cross-Functional Team? What would I need a Cross-Functional Team for? What are the benefits of hiring a Cross-Functional Team? 

At BairesDev, we get questions like that all the time—mainly because of the increasing popularity and demand from companies for custom-team solutions focused on project success. With all of that said, the benefits of Cross-Functional Teams can be summarized in three main axes.  

  • 1

    Improved Coordination

    The fact that the name starts with “Cross” should be a huge giveaway of this benefit. Regardless of size or industry, most companies reach a point where ensuring coordination between their teams at a software level simply starts getting out of control. Here’s a common case: your marketing division uses a CRM system to store and process various data from their operations, but the output from that CRM system can’t be processed easily by the software used by the sales department.

    Scenarios like that create information silos that slow down business processes across the board. In this case, the role of a Cross-Functional Team would be to define the best tech stack for your company and implement software solutions that guarantee proper coordination between the different systems and departments.

  • Cross-Functional Teams 2

    Stronger Innovation

    Working with a Cross-Functional Team is practically a straight path towards product and service innovation. With the help of a CF team, your company can easily identify workflow and communication silos and start working on the strategies and actions that will promote efficiency and cohesion across the organization. The approach of a team like this is heavily oriented towards problem-solving and leads the way towards innovative and comprehensive solutions that can be implemented in the short and long term.

    Beyond process innovation, Cross-Functional Teams also promote product innovation by gathering diverse teams of people with different backgrounds and expertise specialties. The group naturally creates a “forum” where learnings and ideas travel a lot faster than in traditional corporate mediums.

  • Cross-Functional Teams 3

    Faster Cycles

    Getting your software integration going at the right time can have a tremendous impact on your operations. Think about one of the simple tasks within your company that you think takes way too much time for what it is (and don’t fool yourself, there’s always one). Working with a Cross-Functional Team could let you tackle that “complexity” and inefficiency a lot faster than your in-house team, and resolve it now so you don’t have to worry about it ever again.

    This is a scalable approach that simply reaps benefits in large-scale projects—and one that you’ll definitely want to consider for your next project. Working with a Cross-Functional Team will allow you to continuously attack priorities and adjust the project based on the feedback and discoveries revealed during testing.

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