Cross Functional Team Leadership

Cross Functional Team Leadership

Why cross-functional teams are needed

Cross functional teams exist due to the complexity of the business environment and technical projects. No single person has all of the knowledge. Individual team members with specific expertise/knowledge/experience are needed to cover all aspects of any given project. Allows for greater depth and scope. In today’s environment, teams are often dispersed globally.

Soft skills and collaboration are critical for success

“Soft skills” are critical to success – collaboration is key. How does a Project Manager need to communicate in order to be successful? Building trust and respect among team members. This can be done by getting to know team members on an individual level. Consistently delivering on assigned work; do what you say you will do. Occasional humor can also help.

Placing a high degree of trust in the expertise of team members; avoiding micromanagement. Creating an atmosphere where team members feel safe/free to openly discuss issues, without criticism – a culture of openness/honesty/transparency.

The personality of the team leader/project manager plays an important role. Should lead with humility. Must be open to receiving feedback. Needs to respect others in general + have respect for different backgrounds/cultures.

The general problem of no “standardization” in software project management

Finding the right PM methods/processes for a project can be an iterative process. It’s OK to try different things to find what works. Good to maintain best practices/lessons learned and create a knowledge base. Each project and team is different, maybe this is how it should be.

Other fundamental elements of successful teams and projects

Project Manager + Technical Leader combination is a strong model when possible Resources: adequate people, tools, time, funding/budget.

Common goals & objectives.


  • “Defined” requirements/scope (as a starting point at least)
  • Some flexibility is sometimes desirable and change can be expected
  • Smart management of scope creep/changing requirements


  • Realistic schedule
  • Workload management

Metrics – how is success defined, pass/fail criteria

Support from leadership.

Jon Campbell
Jon Campbell

Jon is an experienced program manager with experience in power generation, renewable energy and aerospace.