Cross Team Collaboration: 3 Ways To Make It Work

Read this post in:

Your team is collaborating well, but when other teams get involved it gets a little…messy? See it as an opportunity for improvement! In this blog post, you’ll learn what makes cross team collaboration work – and why it so often fails. By following the steps outlined here, you’ll improve collaboration between departments for long-term success. Ready? Let’s get started!

Cross Team Collaboration: 3 Ways To Make It Work

Want to improve cross team collaboration in your company? Discover everything you need to know here:

What Is Cross Team Collaboration?

Completing big tasks requires broad and extensive knowledge.

Cross team collaboration or cross functional collaboration is when employees from different departments or teams work together to achieve a common goal.

Some examples of cross team collaboration include:

  • Marketing and Customer Support teams working together to manage social media.
  • Product teams working with Sales to launch a new feature.

Unlike working with your own team, collaborating with multiple departments means:

  • Making joint decisions.
  • Coordinating tasks and resources across departments.
  • Sharing information between departments.

Cross team collaboration often occurs in projects. However, this blog post is to help you  improve day-to-day collaboration across your organization – whatever you work on. Want to read more about collaborating on projects? Take a look at this blog post.

Why Is Cross Team Collaboration Important?

Working with other teams can be enriching.

When cross functional collaboration works well, your organization can:

  1. Optimize knowledge and resources – and save money.
  2. Solve problems collectively – and save time.
  3. Capitalize on unique perspectives and experiences – and create a culture of collaboration.

Cross team collaboration is an essential to successful business collaboration. Learn more about business collaboration and how it helps you share ideas and achieve your goals.

Why Does Cross Team Collaboration Often Fail?

Clarity is key for good cross departmental collaboration.

According to the Harvard Business Review, over 75 percent of cross functional teams are dysfunctional. Most struggle due to a weak or absent culture of collaboration in their organizations. This can be seen in:

  • Unclear leadership.
  • A lack of ownership and accountability.
  • Poorly defined goals.
  • A lack of prioritization across the organization.

Quiz: How Successful Is Cross Team Collaboration in Your Organization?

Find out where you stand.

Answer these questions to see how effective cross team collaboration is in your organization.

In the last 3 months, have you noticed any of the following barriers to cross team collaboration?

  1. Information silos. Do teams fail to share information in a timely, complete, or understandable way?
  2. Technological barriers. Is information sometimes withheld from stakeholders?
  3. Unclear goals. Do teams work to different goals or have competing priorities?
  4. Lack of accountability. Are responsibilities around tasks and projects unclear?
  5. Absence of leadership. Is there a lack of support from management within your organization?

How To Improve Cross Team Collaboration in 3 Steps.

Better alignment is within reach.

Answered “yes” more than once? Read the following tips to improve cross functional team collaboration. You’ll be working better together before this time next month!

1. Combat Information Silos.

Like a bridge, communication needs a solid structure to be effective.

The average team wastes 20 hours per month due to poor cross team communication. Don’t fall into that trap! Tackle information silos and improve cross functional working with clear structure:

  1. Establish clear communication guidelines. Define what should be shared on which channels.
  2. Organize cross departmental meetings. Schedule regular meetings on top of asynchronous communication. Put guidelines in place to keep meetings focused and efficient.
  3. Share information transparently – and make it accessible. Ensure that important information is shared transparently and promptly with all teams. It’s easy to do this with the right tools for task management and documentation.
  4. Review and optimize your communication process. Resolve communication issues in your team with these 5 tips.
  5. Avoid jargonASAP. Get your point across simply and easily. List acronyms in a shared space that stakeholders can refer to.

Bridge the Communication Gap.

With Task Management and Project Documentation.

Discover MeisterTask

If Your Communication Process Lacks Structure…

Everyone wants cross team communication to run like a well-oiled machine. The problem is, departments often work toward their own goals in isolation from other departments. This leads to team micro-cultures and poor communication flows, which hinder cross team communication.

How Cross Team Collaboration Tools Help You Structure Communication.

The two most important tools for breaking down information silos are your documentation tool and your task management tool

  • Communicate a full project overview. In your documentation tool, record plans, updates, and deliverables clearly. This provides the “big picture” and helps teams contextualize their work.
  • Communicate task details. In your task management tool, record task details so everyone can track progress as it happens. Communication should stay on the task it refers to: organization and transparency make all the difference.

Teams everywhere use MeisterTask to collaborate effectively. However, when it comes to keeping an overview, team members and managers alike are often overwhelmed by how many details they need to keep track of.

When you use MeisterTask with MeisterNote, project teams and managers get the best of both worlds: the overview of ongoing projects and a place to focus on specific tasks.

We use MeisterNote to document and share our meeting minutes, and to maintain a single source of truth – it’s a huge help. We can also convert our Notes into actionable Tasks in MeisterTask in real time!

Laurent Peters, COO Inoponoi

Want to learn more about MeisterTask and MeisterNote? Get the full picture here.

2. Make Goals and Responsibilities Crystal Clear.

Clear goals are vital to the success of your collaboration.

Establishing a common goal will improve project collaboration.

These strategies will help you manage cross team collaboration and ensure that goals are met:

  1. Assign clear roles to team members. Use the DACI model to set project roles. Define who will lead (Driver), approve (Approver), provide input (Contributor), and who will be informed (Informed).
  2. Set clear goals. Consider which approach to goal-setting – SMART, FAST, or OKR – is best for your organization.
  3. Check that project goals align with your organization’s objectives. If your goals don’t match the company strategy, you’ll need to make adjustments.
  4. Be a good role model. Increase stakeholders motivation, commitment and performance through positive leadership.
  5. Motivate your stakeholders. Avoid inefficient routines, adjust meeting frequency, and streamline your communication channels.

If You Don’t Clearly Define Goals and Responsibilities…

You’ll end up with unclear responsibilities and ineffective decision making. This leads to conflicts in priorities across departments and means that:

  • Team members are confused. Tasks are not clearly implemented.
  • Conflicts remain unresolved. Motivation decreases, frustration increases.
  • Success is just a word. In the worst case, tasks are not completed by anyone.

How Cross Team Collaboration Tools Help You Define Goals and Responsibilities.

Used correctly, your documentation tool and your task management tool will help you avoid confusion and reduce conflict between teams.

  • Document goals and responsibilities. Use your documentation tool to create a clear, central overview of goals, decisions, roles and responsibilities.
  • Execute tasks successfully. Link tasks in your task management tool straight from your documentation – and vice versa. Collaborators can view and execute tasks easily, wherever they are.

Spoilt for choice? This blog post will help you find the right task management tool for your organization.

3. Celebrate Success.

Recognition fuels team performance.

Acknowledging your teams’ success motivates them and enhances performance. Studies show that when praise is shared publicly, it raises the bar even for team members who don’t receive praise.

Here’s how to reward, celebrate and nurture development for better cross team collaboration.

  1. Organize regular cross departmental team events. Hackathons, innovation workshops or brainstorming sessions help participants understand their peers’ work. They also help break down silos and improve team morale.
  2. Introduce job rotation or job sharing. Have employees work temporarily in other departments. This allows them to broaden their perspective and develop new skills. It also accelerates knowledge sharing across the company.
  3. Put employees in the spotlight. Introduce a “Highlight of the Week” in meetings. It’s a chance to celebrate the achievements of your team and increase motivation across departments.
  4. Offer rewards and incentives: Offer incentives to boost team performance. Bonuses, gift certificates or other perks all work. Make sure to communicate these transparently and implement them fairly.
  5. Invest in training and development. Help team members advance in their careers. By investing in professional development, they can reach their potential, feel appreciated, and deliver better work. Everyone wins.

Giving recognition effectively is a skill to learn. Good praise is timely, personal, sincere and justified. Research has found that the less expected and more specific the praise, the more impact it has on the recipient.

If You Don’t Recognize Your Team’s Efforts…

9 out of 10 employees want more recognition.

According to a study by Office Vibe, only 40 percent of employees receive praise on a monthly basis. 8 percent say they never receive praise!

A lack of recognition makes employees feel undervalued and unappreciated, which leads to low motivation and productivity. This can result in conflict, and cause talented employees to leave the company. 

How a Cross Team Collaboration Tool Helps You Share Positive Feedback.

Use your feedback sessions and team meetings to regularly acknowledge the performance and success of your team. But don’t forget to share positive feedback while they’re working, too. The best way to do this is via a task management tool. When you’re notified that part of a task has been completed, or you can see that good progress is being made, leave an appreciative comment or respond with an emoji. Regular, small gestures of recognition can have a big impact on your team’s motivation. 

In your documentation tool – where you collectively note project milestones – you can highlight  achievements by mentioning team members in an appreciative comment. You can also record performance evaluations in a private Note. This should be accessible only to you and your direct report.

When feedback is visible in the context of the associated project and tasks, the recipient can better understand the feedback and apply it to future projects. Giving feedback transparently is also helpful for team members who are not the direct recipients, as they can use it to guide their work. It will also motivate them to achieve a higher standard of work.

Time to Master Cross Team Collaboration.

It’s time to put your knowledge into practice.

Ready to implement these tips to improve cross team collaboration? With the right tools and techniques, you can improve your workplace culture – and achieve great results together – in no time. Good luck!

Bring Teams Together.

With Task Management and Documentation – Combined.

Try MeisterTask now.


How Can I Optimize the Communication Process in Cross Team Collaboration?

The best way to optimize communication across teams is by implementing structure. Try the following steps to achieve this:

  1. Establish clear communication guidelines.
  2. Organize cross departmental meetings.
  3. Share information transparently – and make it accessible.
  4. Regularly review and optimize your communication process.
  5. Avoid jargon.

How Do I Keep Everyone Working to the Same Goals on Projects Which Require Cross Team Collaboration?

Follow these 5 steps for focused and productive cross team collaboration:

  1. Assign clear roles to team members using the DACI model.
  2. Set clear goals.
  3. Check that your project goals align with those of the organization.
  4. Be a good role model.
  5. Motivate your stakeholders.

How Can I Recognize and Reward Success in Projects That Involve Cross Team Collaboration?

Shine a spotlight on team members and recognize their performance – whether in meetings or via shared communication channels. You can also show team members they are valued and appreciated by organizing regular team events and providing development opportunities.