Paul Haarman: 7 Ways to Improve Communication between Cross-Functional Teams
Here are 7 Ways to Improve Communication between Cross-Functional Teams:
1. Make sure your team is working on the same thing.
If you are reading this article, there’s a good chance that you know what it feels like to work in an environment with people who are all doing their own thing, but not really taking into account the other parts of the whole. The problems arise when these individual actions start conflicting with each other or fail to achieve desired results because they weren’t based on unified goals and strategies.
2. Stop multitasking!
According to Paul Haarman a single person can usually only focus on one task at a time, just as a team usually has only enough people to focus on three tasks simultaneously (or four if there are very highly skilled members It may be necessary for some members of the team to take on more than one task at a time, but this should be limited if possible.
3. Be clear about who is responsible for what.
Another common issue that arises in cross-functional teams is that people are unaware of their colleagues’ responsibilities and how they can help each other out when clarifications are needed or issues arise. This often tends to happen because everyone’s got their heads down working on their own deliverables and no one really knows what anyone else is doing at any given moment. Take some time every week – or even daily – to remind your team about these things, as well as remind them which tasks they need to do themselves and which ones they may ask for help with. This way everyone will know where they stand without you having to take time out of your own day to do it yourself.
4. Manage your time together effectively.
When people have too much to do and not enough time, team members tend to be scattered across different parts of the office or working from home in order to get everything done on schedule. This is a problem because it means that communication among team members deteriorates rapidly, which usually results in a lot of miscommunication and additional work hours spent trying to fix things.
5. Encourage shared responsibility for project fulfillment.
One effective way to make sure everyone is involved in the project without sacrificing individual contributions is by assigning tasks based on specific needs. For example, it may be necessary to assign someone as “the person who knows about this technology,” or “the person who can better explain what we’re doing here to other people in the office,” or “the person who’s better at writing documentation.”
6. Take an interest in their work.
If you want your team members to feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves, it is essential that you show them that you care about what they do and how it contributes to the success of the project. They will appreciate knowing that their efforts are useful and appreciated, which in turn motivates them even more to provide quality work.
7. Don’t micro-manage!
This is often a problem for project managers who may find it difficult not to be constantly checking up on progress reports or asking whether everything is going according to plan or if there’s anything else they can do to help. It’s best not to do this too often as it can be perceived as wbs project management, which usually results in employees feeling frustrated and unappreciated at work
8. Be open to different viewpoints.
The most interesting projects are those that bring together people with diverse backgrounds and perspectives. It’s important, therefore, to listen to what everyone has to say regarding your ideas or methods of completing tasks or resolving issues. What you learn from this may provide you with helpful insight into the project’s development.
9. Reward quality results regardless of who achieved them.
In a team environment, it is easy for members to feel as if their contributions are not valued when praise is reserved solely for the person who did whatever you deemed “the best” among all the work submitted by other members of the team. Instead, show appreciation for how each team member contributes in his or her own manner regardless of whether they ended up being the most helpful or not when it comes down to the final results.
10. Make them feel like they’re in a safe environment for asking questions and voicing opinions.
It is important that you let your team know that they can come to you with questions about objectives or tasks without fear of being reprimanded or ridiculed for not knowing something, but rather that they will be rewarded for taking initiative in learning how to do their job well. This way project members will never feel hesitant about approaching you with anything they may need clarification on.
Conclusion by Paul Haarman:
I hope that these suggestions will help you communicate more effectively with your team and enable you to lead them successfully towards the project’s completion.