I’m a fan of cross-functional teams. My main reason is that the different perspectives that each person brings from their respective areas of the business helps create a more complete vision of product and performance risk. Part of quality (and design!) means assessing and managing risk, and I’ve seen time and again the power of bringing people together: better understanding, greater alignment, and improved designs (to name just a few).
Part of being an effective team member is knowing what the other teammates are responsible for doing. It's important because we need to know who to ask or interface with at certain points in our design process.
This podcast is about Who’s Who of your Quality Team. A Quality Engineer or Reliability Engineer may be part of a cross-functional team for a project. A Supplier Quality Professional, Calibration Technician, Quality Technician, and Quality Inspector may not be, but they are performing functions and duties that have an effect on the success of a product design. The podcast gets into who does what in these Quality roles, and why designers should involve them during the design process.
There are challenges with cross-functional teams. In the articles I reviewed (and from personal experience), these challenges centered around conflicts, not being aligned with the same priorities, no end-to-end project leadership, and not having a system that everyone worked within together. Below are some articles I was reading, about cross-functional team dynamics and ways to set them up for success.
My insight for this podcast blog:
- Learn who the quality folks are on your product development team. Within your organization, understand their realm of responsibilities and what they typically do.
- Engage them and get them involved at particular times during your product development because they have the skills and a unique viewpoint for us all to make products others love, for less.
I'd love to hear your comments on this:
Consider how you're functioning within your project teams. Are you trapped in a common pitfall? Is there any advice you can implement from the article authors?
Here are the articles I was reading about cross-functional teams.
75% of Cross-Functional Teams Are Dysfunctional by Benham Trabezi. He proposes a Portfolio Governance Team which uses end-to-end accountable leaders for each function and for the project.
Solver Teams — Hyper Agile & Well Oiled Execution by Ajay Shrivastava. He takes a perspective from a software developer role and recommends a Solver Team approach where every team member is accountable together and they each lead their respective stages of development.
Working With Cross Functional Teams: Master Effective Collaboration in the Workplace by Vinita Bansal. She reviews four common pitfalls with cross-functional teams, but then proposes six best practices, one of which is to establish a process for the team to make decisions, up-front.