Are the departments in your company working successfully together in order to continue to innovate and develop new products? Many companies set up temporary cross-departmental teams in order to promote cooperation during specific projects. It has been shown that these teams work quite well together while working on these specific projects.
There seem to be a few small secrets that are likely to make projects like these work successfully. Please bear mind that the team members working on these projects are likely to be strangers to each other. So the first thing that you will want to do is to build the team. Although everybody would like to see fast results, it is important to understand that it can take about half a year to document and present the project to others, providing information such as the project’s objectives, brainstorming of ideas, all the way to planning.
The following steps will assist companies with setting up these teams. Also, these steps will help these teams implement tools needed so the teams can work well together. You will learn how to get the entire organization involved in your projects.
Create motivation for the selection of team members and the selected members themselves. This is a fairly important step. However, it is general practice to provide information about the project to the managers of each department and make a specific request for personnel. Rather than simply asking for anybody available, you should put your request in writing including guidelines about your requirements. For the selected members, you should make sure they enjoy some form of special status in order to increase their motivation. For example, organize parties at luxurious restaurants at the kick-off meeting stage or at key points in the project, where the team members can engage in dialog and exchange opinions with their managers. These parties can help team members exchange their ideas in a more relaxed setting outside of the office.
Set up multiple teams to create a spirit of competition. You should provide training on techniques for generating new ideas, a skill that is necessary when developing new products, as well as opportunities for all team members to learn about innovation. These are key initiatives for each team. Of course, these opportunities alone will not provide them with enough time. You will then need to let each independent management group lead their own project, but it is also important to arrange interim progress meetings so all teams can inform each other of their progress. Each team will then be able to learn from the efforts made by the other teams. Rather than enforcing a particular format for presenting to others, it is also a good idea to leave this at each team's discretion. Do not forget that it also pays to make this exercise enjoyable for each team.
Make your initiatives well known to your superiors and others, and gain the support of the rest of the organization. Provide timely interim reports about the project and the status of each team member to the managers who selected them for you. It is not enough for each member to make their own reports. Even with managers that are not particularly related to the project, if they are stake holders of the ideas being implemented, there is absolutely no harm in keeping them involved. Do not talk to people in the organization just as the product development ideas from the cross-departmental teams are about to be implemented in reality. If you hurriedly run around trying to seek the approval of the necessary people, then it would be far too late. In addition, if the organization lets the team members know that they have their full support for the project, it would make their work much easier and less stressful. Teams usually work better when they know they have the full support of their entire organization.
As the department running a cross-departmental project, you are probably hoping to see some fast results. However, do make sure to follow processes like the ones outlined above. Good processes are likely to generate good results. If the process is inappropriately rushed, some projects may lack the creativity a company needs in order to inspire clients. Many projects take some time to complete, but by keeping each of these teams motivated, the finished projects are likely to be full of useful information and unique creativity.
Remember: When you work together as a cohesive unit, that’s when ideas are truly born. Allow creativity to be your guide as you work together with your teammates.