How can you make them successful?
Evan's note: This post is less of an article, more idle musing.
When developing a cross-functional team, the skills of the constituent members should be complementary and, where possible, defined by the requirements of the customer. Ideally, new and existing team members must be able to take on various roles and responsibilities within the team (within the constraints of their skills and experience).
I recommend the following five factors to be considered when building a cross-functional team.
- Individual team members will have specialisations and preferences, and while they must be able to take on different roles, they may not be as productive. For example; an individual who has specialised in software engineering, may not be as effective at data modelling.
- While individual team members must be able to take on multiple roles, do not expect them to be able to take on ALL roles. You will need a good balance of skills to ensure role coverage.
- There is a productivity penalty for context switching; ideally team members should be able to focus on a specific role, and switch only as required.
- The converse also has value; staff who can take on multiple roles, tend to be more creative in their work.
- Finally, always remember that it is the customer’s requirements that should drive the structure of the team.