Leading Cross-Functional Projects: 7 Tips to Unleash Project Synergy

Nicole Ellis
3 min readOct 23, 2023

The article was originally published at betterwithkick.com.

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Cross-functional projects require skilled leadership to bring together individuals from diverse backgrounds and expertise. No two projects are exactly alike, but they tend to share key characteristics, like snowflakes.

Encouraging collaboration, open communication, and working together can make a massive difference in how well your cross-functional team performs. Here are some of my favorite project management tips and tricks that will help deliver outstanding results and unleash your project strategy.

1. Establish a Clear Vision.

Define the project’s purpose, objectives, and expected outcomes. This is essential for establishing a vision that resonates with team members and inspires their commitment. Then, communicate the vision consistently to align everyone’s efforts towards a shared goal.

2. Build a Strong Team.

Now it’s time to assemble project stakeholders. Ideally, this is a diverse group of individuals with complementary skills and perspectives. As a bonus, when working cross-functionally, these project teams tend to foster a culture of trust, respect, and open communication within the company.

3. Develop a Solid Project Plan.

Create a detailed project plan with clear milestones, timelines, and deliverables. For larger initiatives, define roles and responsibilities, ensuring each team member understands their contribution. Then establish the most effective project management methodology to keep the team on track — will you be implementing an Agile, Waterfall or Hybrid approach?

4. Foster Collaboration and Communication.

Encourage open dialogue, active listening, and constructive feedback among team members. Providing opportunities for knowledge sharing and learning, and leveraging technology, help to facilitate seamless communication and collaboration.

5. Lead with Influence.

Inspire and motivate team members by being a role model of commitment and dedication. Having a strong relationship with stakeholders and senior leaders will help you gain support and resources, more easily overcome conflicts and drive alignment.

6. Manage Change Effectively.

Anticipate and address potential resistance to change by engaging stakeholders early on. Communicate the benefits of the project and how it aligns with the organization’s goals. Then, provide training and support to help team members adapt to new processes or technologies.

7. Monitor Progress and Adjust.

Regularly assess project progress against set milestones and objectives. Encourage transparency and accountability within the team for timely issue identification and resolution. And finally, be prepared to adjust the project plan when necessary, ensuring flexibility without compromising the end goal.

Being in charge of cross-functional projects requires exceptional leadership skills, excellent communication, and the capability to encourage teamwork. By setting a precise direction, forming a competent team, and encouraging cooperation, you can steer your cross-functional project toward achievement. Embrace the obstacles, motivate your team, and relish the experience of accomplishing remarkable results.

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Nicole Ellis

Starting conversations about bettering business in a post-pandemic world. Providing resources to help improve business, work-life balance, parenting and more.