Is Your Project Team Cross Functional Enough?
The term “cross functional” does not mean that all the team members should obligatory know everything.
Cross functional team supposes that the whole team should have the necessary set of skills which are vital for the successful creation of software product.
And each member of such team wants to do as much as possible for the whole project without limitation within his own task and function. In other words, if a tester is absent at work, somebody of the project team will be able to carry out the functions of the tester for the period of his absence.
So, the absence of this or that specialist will almost not influence the tempo and quality of development of this or that software product. And, of course, utilization of modern issue tracking software solutions is also required in order to coordinate the work of a project team optimally.
If you are a project manager and you are not confident that your project team is cross functional enough, you can utilize the following helpful method which might assist you to check the level of cross functionality of a project team. Such method is also helpful in team building.
Gather the team together and take backlog. Ask your project team the following question: “Skills in which areas are necessary for you to develop a qualitative product?”
Then just arrange a list of such areas on the board or just on the sheet of paper. Then give a pencil to each member of your project team and ask him to evaluate his skills in each area: testing, the required programming languages, business analysis and some other significant spheres.
The skills of each member can be evaluated with the help of the following symbols.
A Star – such symbol means that a specialist has a perfect knowledge in the area, and it is his main job.
A Dot – A person has some knowledge in the sphere which is enough for participating in the project. Or he wants and is able to study the required skills.
Empty Space – A member is not able to perform activity in this area and does not want to be engaged in this activity.
Such kind of analysis usually causes productive discussion and helps to generate new ideas. And even it can appear that this certain team is badly selected to create a product. It is better to realize this fact as early as it is possible.
There is a perfect thumb rule about correct selection of effective project team according to the above described exercise. There should be at least two stars or one star and one dot in each area in the table.
This means that there is at least one specialist who is a real expert in each field and one additional specialist which will be ready to insure the team in case if the main professional will be absent for some time.
So a project team becomes really strong and independent, and team cohesion can be also increased by convenient progressive tools such as comindware which will assist to coordinate the work of a project team.