I have to admit that collaboration is never easy for me. Back in graduate school, most of the projects needed teamwork. I was in a team that everyone had different opinions, and we could bounce ideas for an entire day without any conclusion in which direction to go for. The next day, we would circle back with the same directionless conversation. I was not sure what I could do to make progress, nor did I know what other teammates can contribute. All I knew was that everyone felt so dreaded after long-hour discussions day after day.
Luckily, at work, things are more structured. For every project, we generally understand every teammate’s responsibility based on his/her job function. In addition, we get support from roles such as program managers to help move things forward, which is much more streamlined than doing school projects. However, it is still not guaranteed that the team can function well by itself. Same as cooking, even when you have all the ingredients, it doesn’t mean that you can turn them into a delicious meal without a nice recipe. Then, what is the secret recipe to collaborate with a cross-functional team?
As a User Experience Designer, I’ve been recently working with a large cross-functional team of 30+ people, including Engineering, Product Marketing, Product Management, Product Operation, Business Opportunities, and Data Science, etc. It’s been a great journey so far, and I would love to share a few methods that work for me well in the world of collaboration.