How to Increase Cross-Team Collaboration in Your Web Development Projects

How to Increase Cross-Team Collaboration in Your Web Development Projects

In today’s world, collaboration is becoming a necessary skill for businesses of all sizes. Just look at how much collaboration goes into making a feature film vs. making an app – the process is completely different. In the film industry, you’ll see lots of people from different departments coming together to create something spectacular.

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Cross-team collaboration is a buzzword in today’s organizations. Inevitable given the increasing adoption of remote working and the need to stay connected regardless of location. It’s also a necessity when building complex systems given the increasing number of teams and individuals involved at every level of the product development process.

Businesses that can effectively collaborate have a distinct competitive advantage over those that cannot. The ability to bring different mindsets, perspectives, and skill sets together to solve complex problems is something that can only


If you’re looking to create a more collaborative atmosphere in your own business, here are a few ways that you can start.

Eliminate Silos

How to Increase Cross-Team Collaboration in Your Web Development Projects

The first step to effective collaboration is to dismantle the silos that exist between departments and teams within your company. These silos create barriers that stand in the way of interdisciplinary communication and cooperation. When developing software products, these barriers can take the form of language, cultural, or conceptual differences that arise between the various teams that are working on the project.

An information or knowledge silo is an isolated department or team that possesses unique expertise in a particular area. They might be the experts in computer science, or they could be the authorities on marketing analytics or CRM. Having a team that is specialized in just one aspect of your business allows you to maintain excellence while also enabling you to expand your expertise to other areas.

Teams and departments that are specialized in just one area make it difficult for them to understand or communicate with individuals from other areas. This lack of sharing knowledge and experience across different areas prevents organizations from realizing the benefits of collaboration.

To give an example, if you are developing a computer application for a university, you’ll need to have a clear idea of what the end product is supposed to look like and how it’s going to work when you’re finished. If another area of your business is responsible for delivering online degrees, but they don’t specialize in web design, your application’s aesthetics might not be up to par – things like skeuomorphic design or the use of pop-ups for interaction could potentially break the user’s experience.

You can’t anticipate every problem that might arise during the course of a project, but by breaking down silos and having a healthy amount of interdisciplinary communication, you can be sure that you’re going to have a much better chance of avoiding issues. These are just a few of the problems that might arise during the course of a project – dealing with them early on can make a dramatic difference in the final outcome.

Dealing with complexity is something that every business faces at some point. When you’re under a lot of pressure to ship, you might rush through the process without thinking everything through. This can lead to a number of problems that could have been avoided if you had taken the time to properly consider and address all the aspects of the project.

Apply The 80/20 Principle

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The 80/20 Principle stands for the rule that in any area of your business, you’ll devote 20% of your time and effort to enjoying the process and getting 80% of the results. This rule can be applied to any area of your business, from marketing to sales to production to post-production to follow-up.

The key to effective application of this principle is to focus on the fundamentals – you don’t need to become an expert in web design to accomplish that. Instead, you can outsource the design part of your project to expert designers that you work with directly rather than going through a sub-contractor or middleman. When you cut out the middleman, you can ensure that the people that you’re working with have the right skills to get the job done. If you want your application to look clean, modern, and functional, it’s best to work with a designer who specializes in that style rather than just using the style gallery on some off-the-shelf website.

The same way that you can apply the 80/20 Principle to getting results, you can apply it to your time – instead of spending most of your time doing things that don’t bring value, you can spend your time doing things that do. For example, if you know that you’re not a good listener, it’s better to spend your time doing the sound design for a film than trying to be the listener for the duration of the project.

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You can do the same for the production team – instead of having a conversation with the director at every single rehearsal, it’s better to spend your time doing the blocking and the camera work. Having a dedicated Scrum master who is an expert in agile management will help you apply the 80/20 Principle and get the most out of your employees while also ensuring that each team member’s expertise is being utilized to the full.

Once you’ve applied the 80/20 Principle to the results that you’re getting, it’s easy to start looking for the next section of the business to apply it to. The only way to improve your business’ performance is by continually evaluating what you’re doing and looking for ways to do it better. This is how you arrive at the ideal state – taking your time to find out what is working and what isn’t, then taking the time to make necessary adjustments and improvements. In today’s world, that is the only way to ensure that your business stays ahead of the competition.

When business owners and leaders think about collaboration, they often think about geographical locations – that is, teams in different places working remotely or offline – but that isn’t the most effective way to go about it. The best way to collaborate is by having teams in the same location, either in the same building or nearby it – this is the information and communications technology (ICT) revolution.

ICT allows us to be much more efficient at communicating and collaborating than ever before – imagine how much easier it is to have a video conference with someone in another country than it is to send them an email. The ability to work remotely is also much more convenient when you are collaborating with people in different time zones – imagine how much easier it is to coordinate a conversation with someone in the United States during US office hours than it is to do it during UK office hours. With video conferencing, you can also share documents, presentations, and other types of information in real time across different platforms – whether that’s a phone, tablet, or laptop.

By having teams in the same location, you can ensure that everyone is physically nearby and that there aren’t any digital barriers standing in the way of effective communication. These barriers might come in the form of technology pads, tablets, or laptops that aren’t connected to the internet or each other, or they could come in the form of individuals with mobile phones who aren’t allowed to connect to the internet during working hours for security reasons.

Having the right environment is important when it comes to collaboration. If you work in an area that is not conducive to collaboration, you are less likely to have the necessary output – whether that’s better working conditions or just better results – and that is a loss for everyone, including the individuals that are working together.

Create Virtual Offices

One of the most effective ways of increasing collaboration across different businesses is by creating virtual offices. A virtual office is a location where people can work together even though they are not in the same physical space. A virtual office can be a place on the internet where workers from different companies and different parts of the world can meet and collaborate.

Creating a virtual office allows you to have a corporate presence even if you don’t have one organically whether it’s for legal, financial, or technical reasons. The benefit of this is that you can have all the collaboration benefits of a traditional office space without occupying any physical real estate. Instead, you can use technology to create an office space that is available anywhere and at any time – this, in turn, makes it much easier to collaborate across different time zones and geographies.

While there are various methods and approaches to collaborating across teams, none of them are flawless. The benefits of cross-team collaboration are numerous and can provide value to any web development project. Let’s explore some of the key benefits of team collaboration in digital transformation projects.

Benefits Of Having Such A Setup

More Effective Working

One of the primary benefits of cross-team collaboration is to improve overall team effectiveness. Research indicates that a high degree of task ownership and job satisfaction among team members are associated with a more effective workflow and a higher output. These are some of the key findings from Dr. Harry Chen, as cited in his 2018 book, The New One Thing. Dr. Chen offers a useful framework for designing cross-team collaboration that promotes ownership and job satisfaction by giving team members ownership of the end product while also ensuring that tasks are completed on time.

Focused Effort

When teams collaborate, they have the ability to leverage the skills and knowledge of each other to achieve a greater whole. With focus and intent, cross-team collaboration can lead to increased productivity, higher quality output, and shorter development cycles. The more informed and involved you have across your various teams, the more you can expect to gain from this approach.

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More Mindful Decision Making

Mindfulness in work and life is increasing every year and has become a popular way of working and living. Decision-making that is focused and informed can lead to better decisions and more effective outcomes. Being mindful and open to new ideas is also essential as decision-making often involves considering a range of options and seeking input from others. This level of forethought can help to prevent hasty, poorly considered decisions and the resulting struggle to correct them afterward. Teams that make better decisions are more effective and satisfying to work with. The ability to take time to consider all aspects of a given problem or issue and work through them logically and methodically is the essence of mindful decision-making.

The Growth Of A Shared Understanding

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A major benefit of cross-team collaboration is that it allows team members to continually grow their understanding of the entire system, regardless of their roles in its construction. The more informed and connected your teams are, the better position you will be in to understand the functioning of your product, whether it is remote or online, or in a mobile app.

When individuals are brought together from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds, the ability to share a common understanding becomes much more challenging. The more your teams are integrated across various departments, the greater the opportunity to bring different perspectives to the table and create a shared understanding of the big picture. In the end, this is what truly unites the members of a team — creating value for the business and delight for their customers.

Overall Productivity

Productivity is highly dependent on the input and effort of the team members themselves. While team effectiveness can be improved by providing the right tools and training, at the end of the day, your team members must be willing to contribute and show up to work each day if you want to see an increased output. When teams are more engaged and productive, businesses experience an uptick in profitability and overall value.

Faster Time To Market

Time to market is an important consideration in any venture and can be an even bigger factor in the age of digital transformation. Your customers (and therefore your business) want the product or service as soon as possible to gain value and capacity. One way of delivering value sooner in the development process is by leveraging cross-team collaboration. The faster you can get feedback and incorporate changes, the better. This reduces the overall iteration time and can help to increase productivity. When teams speed up the process of getting a new product to market, businesses experience an uptick in productivity and customer satisfaction.

Different Stakeholders For Different Purposes

Stakeholders are individuals or groups that have an interest in the outcome of a project. Different teams and various groups of stakeholders can bring different skills and perspectives to the table which, when utilized effectively, can make a project stronger. Some stakeholders are more concerned with the functional requirements of the software or the device, others have a financial interest in its success, while some may have legal or regulatory requirements that need to be considered.

For instance, you may want to involve individuals from R&D, design, and marketing once the product is developed to help to drive its adoption. If you are developing a new product for the global market, then localization and customization will also be key considerations as the software needs to be tailored to the specific cultural and linguistic needs of the user groups in each country.

Higher Value

One of the best things about cross-team collaboration is that it allows you to create a higher value product. In the last couple of years, businesses have increasingly looked towards creating products and services that provide more value to the end user. This has manifested itself in many different ways such as:

  • Product simplicity
  • Flexibility
  • Improvements to existing features
  • Updates to meet the needs of today’s users
  • Responsive design that adjusts to different screen sizes and resolutions
  • Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) for added security
  • GDPR Compliance

These are just some of the ways in which higher-value products and services can be created through cross-team collaboration. Value is not only about the monetization of the product but also considers delight in use, innovation, and effectiveness. All of these are important factors in driving user adoption and business success.

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The growing benefits of cross-team collaboration make it a crucial element of any web development project. Whether you are just getting started or you are already well into your digital transformation, integrating and coordinating various teams and individuals in a single environment to create a single, beautiful product is the way forward.

About the Author

Tom Koh

Tom is the CEO and Principal Consultant of MediaOne, a leading digital marketing agency. He has consulted for MNCs like Canon, Maybank, Capitaland, SingTel, ST Engineering, WWF, Cambridge University, as well as Government organisations like Enterprise Singapore, Ministry of Law, National Galleries, NTUC, e2i, SingHealth. His articles are published and referenced in CNA, Straits Times, MoneyFM, Financial Times, Yahoo! Finance, Hubspot, Zendesk, CIO Advisor.


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