The Key to Successful Cross-Functional Collaboration
2 September, 2021
As part of being a product person, I'm also an entrepreneur, and in that regard, I have multiple experiences in running operations. However, I'm not proficient at it; other than running the product, I was also managing a team, working with the data analytics team, the marketing team, and the list would go on. It's apparent that I could not be proficient in all the areas, and I had to find ways to accommodate those teams with the right expertise. On the one hand, I needed someone with excellent managerial skills who would bring the expected outcome. On the other, the person is also required to be resourceful and supportive of their juniors. How can we find any such super-human?
Given that the people working in those areas were already very skillful (even more than me), I needed to hold the big picture. I did that by aligning and supporting them while they were progressing towards the goals and tasks they needed to complete. It was a great combination because they dealt with the details while highlighting the main points. For instance, I would guide them by telling them that we were at a certain point and we would need to proceed somewhere.
Besides, I did not intervene with the day-to-day operations. This means that I did not get into their task and instruct them on how to get things done; instead, I gave them the freedom and space to develop the best solutions they could. However, I consistently monitored that they were going in the right direction, putting the priorities in the right order and measuring it all at the end of the sprint. It was also a concern for their personal growth and making them accountable for their responsibilities. Plus, they are qualified and highly skilled individuals who could think outside the box than I ever could; so, I trusted them.
Although I trusted them and provided them with the space they needed to create diamonds, here's something: it was a situation of multiple team collaboration. For instance, the data analytics team was working with marketing on a project, so I made sure that they were all on the same page and aligned towards working on the same mission. Everyone had to know what each team and their members were working on and ensure that it was all coherent to go on as planned.
My role in senior management involved removing bottlenecks or obstacles that blocked any of the teams from reaching their goals. Whether it was operational issues, HR challenges, or conjunctions between departments, I thought of myself as the person who could remove those to make their lives easier. For instance, if they needed more cloud space, a new computer, or more space in the office, I took care of all those. In the end, the goal was to provide them with a seamless way of doing things in the best way possible.
- If you are working on something you are not an expert in, don't be afraid to take it in. We are all learning, and even if you make mistakes, that could be your learning curve.
- Hire the right people with the right skills so that you can trust them with their skill sets. Also, give them the space to optimize their tasks to boost their commitment to the project.
- While freedom and autonomy are crucial, pay close attention to what they are doing. Of course, when you hire the best people, they know what they are doing, but in order to successfully manage your teams, understand the work trends.
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