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How to become a cross-functional superstar.
Let's cover three ways Product people can build stronger trust through boosting cross-functional collaboration.
If you’ve been reading this newsletter for a bit (if not, welcome!), you’ve realized how much I champion building strong bonds with teams across your org. Not only does it help to build trust in the fact you’re doing the best thing; it also helps you gain some compassion for the troubles they’re trying to solve on behalf of your company.
The question is: what’s the best way to bridge these silos that exist in your company to ensure that what you’re building has buy in across the board AND that the details and problems being solved are the best/right ones?
Let’s hit on a few thoughts I have around how to make this cross-functional team collaboration a little better and productive. '
Here are three ways I think you could change today to improve the way you work and your relationships across the board.
1. Crystal Clear Objectives and a Transparent Culture
The foundation of successful collaboration lies in setting clear goals and expectations. When embarking on a project, ensure everyone is aligned on the objectives, key milestones, roles, and responsibilities. Once this understanding is established, cultivate a culture of transparency and communication.
This not only builds trust but also ensures that teams are aligned, informed, and can contribute effectively. Every team member should feel comfortable sharing, questioning, and giving feedback to enhance the collaborative spirit. Looping in the stakeholders in these different teams to ensure they have a say will also help with change management down the road and, in some situations, surface some legacy knowledge into the solution that might get missed unless you have all the people needed to tell the full current state story.
2. Regular Communication and Shared Resources
Frequent communication can make or break a project. Establish regular communication channels such as weekly standups or biweekly check-ins, ensuring that teams are on the same page, aware of challenges, and collectively brainstorming solutions.
Couple this with the use of shared tools and processes. When teams use common project management tools or code repositories, it reduces silos and facilitates smooth and coordinated efforts. Such shared platforms offer visibility and make it easier for diverse teams to be in sync.
Teams may get overwhelmed with a bunch of communications across different teams so this is an opportunity to connect with the leaders and team members in the equation, understand which forms work best for them, and use those channels to ensure they’re fully on board/in the loop.
3. Celebrate, Learn, and Grow Together
One of the most overlooked aspects of collaboration is celebrating successes and learning from shortcomings. Recognizing and celebrating team achievements boosts morale and fosters a sense of belonging.
Concurrently, when faced with challenges or failures, it's crucial to reflect, understand the root cause, and adapt. This continuous cycle of celebration and learning cultivates resilience and a positive environment that's conducive to collaboration.
Have something going live soon? Make sure people know, loop them into the language being used in communications that are going to share awareness of what’s coming, and make sure you call out teams that had a huge hand in the win so you can all share in the glory.
Building effective cross-functional collaboration is an ongoing journey. With clear objectives, transparent communication, and a spirit of learning and celebration, product teams can navigate the complexities of today's product landscape.
As product managers, our role is pivotal in weaving these threads together, ensuring that our products are not just successful but are crafted with collective brilliance.
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