Anyone who has worked on a project with people from other departments knows that it can be a challenge to keep everyone on the same page. Carl Iberger says Different departments have different priorities, which can make it difficult to get everyone working together toward a common goal. However, there are a few things you can do to make sure that your cross-functional projects are successful.
One of the most important things you can do when working on a cross-functional project is to communicate frequently and effectively. Make sure you are clear about expectations and deadlines from the very beginning. Have regular meetings (virtually or in person) to check in on progress and address any concerns.
It is important to set realistic expectations for what can be accomplished in the timeframe you have set for the project. All too often, people bite off more than they can chew and then end up disappointed when they cannot meet their own unrealistic expectations. By setting realistic expectations from the start, you will be more likely to accomplish your goals and end up with a successful project.
Things will inevitably come up that are out of your control. Be prepared to be flexible and adjust your plans accordingly.
Here are some tips for cross-functional activities that are sure to help you get the most out of them.
1. Don’t be afraid to try something new. Cross-functional activities can often lead to some really innovative ideas, as people from different backgrounds and with different perspectives come together to solve a problem or tackle a challenge. So don’t be afraid to take risks and experiment, in order to see what kind of results you can achieve.
2. Do work collaboratively. One of the best things about cross-functional activities is the opportunity they provide for collaboration and shared learning among individuals who might not usually work together regularly. Make good use of this by encouraging everyone involved in your project – whether it’s an individual contributor or someone from a different department or team – to communicate and share information with each other as openly and frequently as possible.
3. Do make the most of your resources. Depending on the nature and scope of your cross-functional activity, you may be able to draw upon a wide range of skills, backgrounds, knowledge levels, and expertise within your organization.
Maybe there’s someone who is an expert in using social media platforms that could help you promote your project more effectively, for example, or someone who has extensive experience in event management if you need help organizing a conference.
4. Do keep things simple. When you’re trying to tackle a complex problem, it can be tempting to throw as much information, data and analysis at it as possible in the hope that something will stick. However, this approach rarely proves successful when it comes to cross-functional activities.
You and your team are likely to be dealing with a range of different ideas, opinions, and perspectives – not to mention time constraints – so keeping things simple is key. If you want everyone involved in your project to buy into its aims and objectives, then make sure they understand exactly what they need to do from the start; otherwise, things might quickly get out of hand!