Composed of people who accumulate knowledge and skills in different areas, the multidisciplinary team is a training capable of overcoming the common barriers in the organization by departments, where a discipline unifies the work of all involved.
You squads they are a reference model in the construction of multidisciplinary teams. Teams formed with a clear objective in mind, squads unite professionals from various backgrounds and face challenges where a knowledge area alone would have difficulty in acting.
Its mode of action allows to decentralize the decisions in the company, stimulating a consistent innovation and capable of spreading through the different areas of an enterprise.
What are the advantages of working with a multidisciplinary team?
The great strength of a multidisciplinary team is the agility in making and executing decisions. This speed allows a considerable gain on several fronts for organizations that adopt the model:
Increased productivity and efficiency
The multidisciplinary team does not have to wait for information to pass through the company to act, and can adapt almost immediately to a new problem or opportunity. This prevents the team from wasting hours, or even days, while waiting for processes to unfold.
Think of a technology team responsible for fixing software bugs. In the middle of the day the platform gives a problem that needs to be solved immediately. Within the squad, the leader will designate a person in charge to complete such action, without the need to check the possibility of relocating a team member with the sector manager. The squad has this autonomy, which differs from traditional teams.
The work of the multidisciplinary team is not usually guided by years of planning, but by almost daily adjustments in its performance, a dynamic that favors the implementation of methods such as Kaizen – continuous improvement of tools, products, skills and so on.
A multidisciplinary team can be the foundation of an internal startup, the team responsible for managing innovation projects and bring to large companies the benefits of acting as a startup.
An internal startup is nothing more than a squad that operates within a startup, independently developing a secondary product, which may or may not become a spin off in the future. Usually they have different processes and even different budgets to act in the creation of a product.
The proximity to other areas of activity allows employees involved in a multidisciplinary team to develop new skills and become professionals of greater value to the organization.
In addition to gaining new knowledge, it is common for employees to feel motivated by the ideas of autonomy, purpose and constant challenge that a multidisciplinary team offers.
How to assemble and manage a multidisciplinary team?
Building multidisciplinary teams is an easy activity to implement, but difficult to exercise with mastery: it is not enough to gather one person from each department in the same room and wait for them to work magic.
1. Define a clear objective
From day one, the multidisciplinary team must know what is expected of them – develop a product, improve a certain process, implement an innovation program, and so on.
This objective must be outlined even before gathering professionals for the team, as he is the one who will determine what skills will be needed and direct the motivation of those involved.
It is also important to be clear about how the success of the multidisciplinary team will be measured, and to whom the group should respond.
2. Manage skills, resources and professionals
Based on the outlined objective, it is time to analyze which skills will be necessary to achieve success with the initiative. It is essential to take into account both technical and social skills – a team of stars can fail if they do not overcome internal conflicts or find flaws in communication.
The definition of skills and resources will be like the final image of a puzzle, and from then on the selected professionals must be the pieces that will form it.
The organization may not have the right parts. In this case, the most common solutions are to invest in training and to hire outside help (consultants, freelancers, agencies, etc.) to fill the gaps.
Also define the resources that the team will have access to – space, tools, capital, mentoring, and so on. It is important that, when formed, the team knows which cards they can play with.
3. Balancing rules and autonomy
Every multidisciplinary team must be guided by an objective and provide reports in a pre-defined period of time (every week or month, for example), but it must not be micro-managed in their daily activities.
The premise behind teams with this configuration is to allow them the autonomy to find the best paths and deal with their own challenges – if someone is giving orders about each step, they are limiting the team's innovative potential.
The same goes for each professional who joins the team – their responsibilities within the project must be clearly defined at the beginning, and from there it is possible to offer some freedom in decision making.
4. Stimulating situational leadership
As the project progresses, a particular professional will have greater knowledge of what needs to be done, and it is interesting that he or she manages the execution of this step.
Taking software development as an example, the leadership can start with someone with planning skills, who will coordinate the start of the job.
Then, it goes into the hands of a professional trained in programming during development, and can be taken over by a marketing specialist at the stages when the public will test the product.
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How do multidisciplinary teams stimulate innovation in the company?
Every innovative company needs to have an adequate structure to meet the demands imposed by constant change.
Facing the issue with a strategic approach, and not just a set of specific transformations, is the basis of organizational innovation – when the company provides the training, technology and culture necessary to instigate the intrapreneurship in its collaborators.
The multidisciplinary team is a central part of this restructuring.
It allows new hypotheses to be tested quickly and safely – the advantages of each success can be distributed throughout the company, and when there is a barrier, it is possible to redirect the team without the organization suffering a major impact.
In addition, multidisciplinary teams are innovative in nature. Each area involved will bring a different vision, and the debate between them may generate new ideas that may not have arisen in an environment of greater stability.
Its autonomy also allows the innovative potential to spread throughout the organization – instead of being subject to a set of executives, the implementation of new ideas occurs quickly in all parts of the company.
Adopting the multidisciplinary team model brings new challenges and opportunities. Companies and teams that overcome communication and management barriers will certainly reach levels of innovation that would not be possible in traditional groups
The key to success is in the definition of well-defined goals that are able to motivate those involved, making each piece on the team do its best and can contribute to the advancement of the entire team.
This article was written in partnership with AEVO – The largest Innovation Management Platform in Latin America. Did you like the theme? Share your opinion with us!