How to Create a Successful Cross-Functional Team for Your Business?

  • Cross Platform App Development
how-to build a cross-functional agile team in 2023
John Parker
by John Parker May 10, 2023

Imagine a situation where the developer needs approval before proceeding with a particular code. Worse still, they need a design to code, and the designer is taking ages.

These can become huge bottlenecks over a period and increase the timelines. What happens, then? You pay up more, your idea is stolen, and worse still, you don't know when to launch the application. 

Collaboration, continuous iterations, and a proactive attitude can build stronger products faster. It would help if you had a team that works together, using the agile methodology and sprinting to the milestones. 

Cross-functional teams are more problem-solving in nature. They have each other's back, collaborate in the best possible manner, and develop the entire product as a single, reliable unit. When you work around small and iterative formulas, you increase efficiency and streamline processes. 

So, what does it take to build a cross-functional team? Understanding what it is, knowing the key members, and determining the key features that make the team successful. So, if you are ready, are we to dive deep into this landscape and understand the cross-functional agile teams better? 

What is a Cross-functional Team?cross-functional teams: what are they

As the name suggests, a cross-functional team comprises people from multiple disciplines. They have varied proficiencies, and together they bring all the essential skills for the project to the table. As a result, they reduce their dependencies on external team members and offer solutions with minimal bottlenecks. 

It is the core of the agile framework, where the strategists work with the analysts and designers to pull off an entire project. The idea is to make people work together, benefit from each other and build a solid project from the ground up. However, explicit work scopes should be defined so the teams can function together without stepping into each other's shoes. 

Now that we know what a cross-functional team is, can we look at the benefits? This will give you a straight-up idea of why your business should implement them. 

Top 7 Benefits of Cross-functional Team

Cross-functional is not just multi-disciplinary on the team but also a result of collaboration and efficient management. They bring a lot of advantages to the teams and give you extra abilities. 

the 7 top benefits of cross-functional teams

1. Enhances the Productivity

Most projects are delayed owing to unnecessary meetings. A lot of project time is spent on unnecessary meetings, where all the teams connect and discuss knowledge transfer, brainstorm ideas, and define the scope. 

However, things work differently when you are handling a cross-functional team. They begin the work after aligning the goals, determining the objectives, and defining the scope for each team member.

Regular scrums and other communication mediums allow them to stay up-to-date with the project, reducing the meeting hours. As a result, they are productive and have more time to finish the project. 

2. Quick Iterations

Traditionally, each member of a project worked in different teams. The different people had to coordinate, ensure the processes are streamlined, and then iterate. This could take a while, as the member's availability depends entirely on their work and other factors.

However, all members work towards a common goal in a cross-functional team. You have an entire team with different members, making it easier to manage the tasks. As a result, the development, testing, and strategy team can iterate faster and release the sprints sooner. 

3. Risk Mitigation Strategies

Imagine building a large feature using the traditional development team. The increased cycles, dependencies, and other factors can put your project at risk. However, when working with cross-functional agile teams, you will not fail. The iterative approach and sprint-based methodology ensure you test the small portions before releasing the entire feature. 

As the testing and development teams work together, they can remove the bugs at the starting stage, thus ensuring zero risk of project failure.

4. Solution-led Practice

When you enable cross-functional teams, they are solution experts. They can identify the issues, create the solution, and ensure it is applied through the system. As a result, it reduces the cycle time required to identify issues. As a result, the teams can ably determine the problems, reduce the error cycle and deliver the project faster.

5. Increased Team Flexibility

The cross-functional teams are designed to foster creativity and innovation. All the solution experts identify a single, unified approach to building the solution. Each is proficient in their segment, so they can offer inputs to build a unique solution.

The teams work together, which also fosters alignment and quicker decisions. You don't need to wait for approvals to implement a particular strategy. Two-way communication and real-time collaboration ensure quick commencement of work. 

6. Product-business Fit

The product needs to be a good fit for your business. If the business strategy doesn't embrace the product, your customers won't. This means the project failed even before you began. 

However, you can determine product-business-market fit when working with agile teams. The tech side will realize the business alignment and its importance in delivering the product. Similarly, the business side will look at adopting the best tech to enhance user experience. The two will combine to validate the product, identify the best practices and enable a strong solution. 

7. Better Conflict Resolution

Your team spends half the time resolving conflicts and wasting energy keeping the members together. However, cross-functional teams have a defined strategy to resolve conflicts. They have expertise in their niche and work towards a similar goal, so they have identified the best resolution strategies. 

The first step towards building an equipped cross-functional team is governance documents, protocols, and scope definition. This would ensure the teams can make decisions without causing issues. Constant and real-time communication and collaboration enhance the ability to resolve these conflicts immediately. 

The Challenges of Implementing Cross-functional Teams

It would help if you were prepared for a few challenges when implementing cross-functional agile teams.

top 3 challenges of implementing-cross-functional teams

1 Lack of Trust

Collaboration requires a lot of trust. However, you are building a team of people who belong to different teams with different working styles. Getting them together, making them cooperate and coordinating can be difficult. 

To overcome this challenge, the project manager must ensure harmony between team members before proceeding with the project. 

2 Takes Time and Effort

The cross-functional team cannot be built in a single day. It would help if you groomed your team members to make the change and adapt to the cross-functional requirements. How do you manage dependencies within an agile development team if your members aren't groomed?

To make this change efficient, you must work with the teams, identify the best methods and start grooming. 

3 Sharing the Vision

The members of the cross-functional team must share a single vision. However, if they are not aligned, it can ruin the project's future. That's why building the vision during work scope definition is crucial. This can ensure smooth movement and quicker alignment. 

Key Features of Agile Cross-functional Team

It is crucial to know how you can describe the cross-functional agile team. Here are the key features that can help.

best 3 key features of the agile cross-functional team

1. Collaboration is the Core

The core feature of an agile team is collaboration. They must streamline the processes, connect and over-communicate to ensure the effectiveness of cross-functionality. The team members are "T-shaped." The horizontal line is when they have a general understanding of the required skills, while the vertical line is when they have a specific expertise.

The team members will share their skills, learn new skills and adapt to meet the objectives of the project. You can use scrum teams to improve collaboration.

2. Should be Cross-functional

As the name suggests, this is one of the important features of the Agile team. They should possess the skills and expertise of all the required departments. The team cannot function with a single expertise; they must merge to further the goals and work towards a shared vision. 

The idea is to manage dependencies and offer the right solutions.

3. Zero Hierarchy

It is key to growing a cross-functional team. You cannot have a hierarchy ruling the team. All members must have equal importance and function independently while fuelling the shared vision.

The teams should have a defined vision, flow of work, and role for the team members. This can contribute to better work management. Cross-team dependencies flourish when everyone is on the page.

Read Also:- Dos & Don'ts of Custom Mobile App Development

The Different Team Structures

It is vital to know the different types of agile cross-functional teams.

structures of 4 different teams

1. Generalist Teams:

The team members have a general or basic understanding of the different topics related to the project. However, they may not have the in-depth knowledge required. However, they are versatile and can handle several aspects of the team.

2. Specialist:

This team has members who have niche expertise. They are proficient in their niche. For example, an expert graphic designer or a developer.

The members can together help build high-quality products. This is majorly used when you have technical dependencies.

3. Hybrid:

This variety generally comprises members who are both generalists and specialists. It offers great flexibility in terms of knowledge and deliverables

4. Parallel:

This structure allows the team members to work on two different work modules of the project simultaneously. It ensures the smooth delivery of the tasks. 

Key Roles in Agile Cross-Functional Team

The three core members of an agile cross-functional team include- the product manager, the product developer, and the delivery manager. Together, they can help you expedite the solutions. 

top 3 key roles in agile cross-functional team

#1 Product Manager

You increase your chances of failure if you are unclear about how the project will progress. It can add to the risks. Every move should be in a set direction, aligned with your goal.

That's why you need a product owner or manager. They will work central to the client, team, and the customer.

They will understand the user's needs and the product's core features and be the single point of contact between the team and customers. They are responsible for removing the bottlenecks. They are responsible for noting the types of dependencies.

#2 Delivery Manager

A shared vision is key to smooth delivery. However, often the vision of the product owner and the technical team differs. You will notice how the technical team faces issues while building a single feature, and the product owner expedites the process.

This can add to the technical debt and increase the timeline. To avoid any issues, you need a delivery manager. They will handle these conflicts arising between the product owner and team and find a middle way to ensure quality output.

#3 Product Developer

They are the heart and soul of any product. This team member is responsible for taking the idea into a logical solution and coding it to create the final product. They are responsible for all aspects of development, including coding, testing, and, of course, deployment. They can help align requirement dependencies.

# Tips to Build a Successful Cross-functional Team

Here are a few steps that can help build a cross-functional agile team. 

5 steps to build a successful cross-functional team

1. Use the Right Tools

Whether it is the development environment or tools for communication, you should ensure your team has the best ones. This can impact the quality of development and the solutions you offer. The infrastructure enables development and improves collaboration, which is core to your agile team. 

2. Determine the Communication Protocol

Communication is key to collaboration. There should be effective communication channels that can help the teams collaborate and work on the projects.

For example, if the team needs immediate content to occupy the space on a product, they can message Slack. They can use the project management tools if they need some input on improving the design. If the team wants to assign work to another member, there are tools like Trello to help. 

3. Regular Reviews

This will help the members know if the team is moving in the right direction. Assessing the team's progress, noting if they have issues, and identifying the solutions can help steer the movement in the right direction. Regular reviews and feedback can help improve the product and ensure timely deliveries. 

4. Build with Diverse Skills

It is crucial to onboard members with different skill sets. You should look around the different silos and find the most effective skills for your team.

Add them to your cross-functional team, and encourage a positive outcome. Don't limit yourself to a specific niche or specialist. Make sure you also source the right skills.

5. Choose the Leader

The project manager or owner is an important part of the cross-functional team. They are responsible for steering the team in the right direction. Choosing an effective leader will help translate the idea into a quality outcome. They will know what is expected from the team, determine ways to complete the approach and ensure quality services. 


A cross-functional agile team is the future of project development and product management. It can help deliver quality products within the specified timeline. With the right hiring, you can enable better skillsets and innovate your business.

New York Mobile Tech is a leading software development company with experience in cross-functional agile methodology. We have self-motivated teams that can enhance your projects by drawing a suitable plan and creating a team with the right skillsets. If you want to translate a product idea into an application, connect with our team.