Successful Cross Team Collaboration

WRITTEN January 19, 2023 Author: Patricia McCormack

The workplace has changed forever.

Thanks to the internet and working from home – we are all very proficient at our use of technology to communicate. The latest technology allows us to work not just locally in a company, but on a global scale.

Projects sometimes need multiple diverse teams involved. For example, the design teams have to work closely with the marketing teams, both communicating with the product teams to be prepared for the next launch.

This process is known as cross team collaboration, and in this changing workplace, these team members are most often only communicating online and sometimes over long distances.

Bringing together different teams and departments, at it’s best, will bring fresh perspectives, innovation, and a drive towards a shared goal. But the larger and the more complex teams become, the more they will need the right conditions and structure to work together effectively.

Every team aligns to the same company goals (in theory), but they almost always get there in different ways, as they follow their own priorities and goals.

However, efficiently managing cross-functional team collaboration is not always as easy or fun as it sounds.

Tips for building cross team collaboration:


Define the Mission / Values / Vision / Goals for the overall project. Lay out what the “big picture” is that this collaboration is trying to achieve.

Spell out what each team — Who’s on the team? What does each person do? Why is this team on the project. Focus on individual strengths. How do individual team goals fit in the context of other teams’ goals.

Outline the project to completion. Define success.

Make collaboration a shared value. State clearly that diversity is valued and that everyone’s voice is heard. Model these values.


The teams have to listen to each other. Listening builds trust and leads to better relationships.

When we listen to other people, we hear fresh ideas. Every team member is coming at the project with a different perspective based on their individual team role. Collaboration means using that varied knowledge to build the whole.

Use collaborative feedback. Individual work will improve through collaboration with peers and receiving constructive feedback during development.


Create a trustworthy, open, and comfortable environment.

Arrange only necessary meetings for all involved. Be aware of time zones and share the “uncomfortable” meeting times across time zones on rotation.

Regulate the meetings. Each meeting will have an agenda, a team member taking meeting minutes. That data will be collected, along with documentation, and will be posted for member use. 

Select a common tool such as Slack, Zoom, Teams or WEBEX to find the right venue for meetings.

Information needs to flow easily. Have a repository, the main collaboration space where all files are stored, goals are tracked, milestones are logged, and questions are asked (and possibly answered.)


There are many options for project management software. Find the one that works for your teams.

Examples: ClickUp, Wrike, Asana, Trello, Workzone, ProofHub, MeisterTask,, Teamwork, or Podio. To name a few.

All team members must use the tool and follow a standardized process for the collaboration. Following the process is essential for optimizing your team’s work, and successfully completing the project.

There are some collaboration skills that everyone should master so that the entire team works quickly and effectively. These skills are:

  • Communication skills,
  • Emotional intelligence, and
  • Respect for diversity.

Virtual collaboration and working with cross team members is becoming the standard for high impact projects. Be prepared and ready to work together.


Other Resources for Cross Team Collaboration

8 Ways to Build Collaborative Teams

9 Reasons Why Collaboration is Important to get Right

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