crossfunctional (cross-functional)

Contributor(s): Rachel Lebeaux

In project management, crossfunctional (cross-functional) is an approach to work in which team members come from different areas of an organization and have different skill sets. 

A crossfunctional team places less emphasis on the members' specific roles within the organization and more emphasis on communication and working together to accomplish organizational goals.  For example, a data science team might include a business analyst, a quality engineer and the product managers from different divisions within the organization who will be using the data. Or a software development team for a new vendor offering may include the executive sponsor and marketing manager as well as the product owner, a technical writer, a database manager and the software development team. 

Setting up a crossfunctional team can be a challenge for project managers. Without having worked previously with the individuals involved, it can be difficult to balance the team's soft skills and hard skills and not end up with too many individuals who have similar skill sets while neglecting other possible team members that would aid the team's goal.

Crossfunctional may also refer to an individual's ability to take on more than one role in a project. On a small agile software development team, for example, the lead developer may also function as the scrum master, conducting daily stand-up meetings and retrospectives at the end of each iteration

This was last updated in September 2014

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What skills are a necessity on a crossfunctional project team?
Communication, definitely (a soft skill that everyone should have). 
Respect for the abilities of others, even if (and especially when) those abilities are wildly different from your own.
I would agree with Ben. Communication is a necessity. Think about it: You have several team members working on different things, it's essential to communicate so you don't run over someone else's work. 


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