Matrix Teams And Cross-Functional Collaboration – Do They Work Well In The Public Sector?
Public agencies all over the world have woken up to the immense potential of matrix teams. Such structures work well because they are composed of people from a variety of departments and, therefore, boast of a rich amalgamation of several skills that work together brilliantly. It is this unique feature that makes it easier for matrix teams to solve problems and achieve organisational goals more effectively than any other standard uni-functional team.
In the early 1960s, NASA decided to try out a new team structure to help unravel complex problems that required horizontal flow of knowledge and information. Teams built on this new philosophy cut across vertical organizational units and brought together people from different departments to work on special projects. The concept worked exceptionally well and there was no looking back for NASA after that. What was so great about this strategy that made it such a hit? The most prominent aspect of a cross-functional resource design is the fact that it enables the effective utilisation of all the skills present within an organisation. Project teams formed in this way have an edge over standard uni-discipline teams and, therefore, are faster and much more efficient than them. Public sector organisations can gain a lot if they explore this avenue. The following points support this sentiment:
- Matrix Teams Can Improve The Efficiency And Speed Of Complex Projects – The biggest advantage of cross-functional teams is that they can quickly and effectively complete complicated projects. By working around traditionally established hierarchies and bringing together employees who possess varied skills, such teams can deliver quality results with lightening speed.
- Matrix Teams Help Develop Leaders – Working in a multi-discipline team can teach an individual a lot. Those employees who are being groomed for leadership positions can gain an insight on how to manage a group of people with diverse backgrounds and skill sets and encourage them to work together to achieve the desired goals.
- Matrix Teams Foster Innovativeness – When people with different mindsets and capabilities come together to work on a common problem, they often come up with the most out-of-the-box solutions. A team that consists of people from different disciplines can, therefore, contribute greatly to the improvement of an organisation’s innovation quotient.
- Matrix Teams Help Break Toxic Cliques – In most public agencies where people have been employed for years, the existence of cliques is a given. Some of these groups are helpful and inclusive while others have an exclusionary attitude. The latter are toxic cliques and can be loosened and eventually disabled by giving people an opportunity to work in cross-discipline project teams.
- Matrix Teams Allow Flexible And Efficient Use Of Resources – Many problems plague our world today. Public organisations can become better at addressing each individual issue by creating multi-discipline project teams for tackling each problem parallelly. The same employees can contribute to multiple projects if such a strategy is adopted.
The one thing that can make or break a matrix team is its communication plan. Only through effective internal communication can a cross-functional team function at its full potential. Mobile-based communication apps like the one offered by Office Curry are excellent at facilitating communication between team members. Their easy-to-use features and real time functionalities are a blessing especially for those who work in different departments but are a part of special multi-disciplinary project teams.