Project Management

Why Your Cross-Functional Team Should Have Individual Powers

Cross-functional teams are designed to make the workflow as simple as possible. However, when misinterpreted, they can also cause a lot of stress. People worry that everyone on the team has to be equally good at the exact same tasks. J. David Prior tells us this isn’t true at all. In fact, it’s preferable to have different people be good at different things. Each should have their own area of expertise. It’s not only rare to find someone who’s outstanding at graphic design, coding, and writing documentation, it’s almost undesirable.

The key is to let everyone have a special function, but each person should know enough to cover for others in case of emergency. Prior compares good cross-functional teams to the 1970’s show The A-Team. Each member of the A-Team had his own special talent, but it was only together that they could pull off their madcap adventures. And when one of the members was down for the count, another could take over and drive the getaway vehicle, even if it wasn’t what he usually did. So be smart about who you assign to the team, but embrace the differences. It’s only together that you can get the job done.  

Rachel Ginder

Rachel Ginder was a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success and joined the team in 2013. She also helped with social media and research.

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