How Resource Management and Scheduling Software Empowers Cross-Functional Teams

Resource Management and Scheduling Software

Project managers plan, allocate and schedule resources efficiently to optimize resource utilization, maximize productivity, and control costs effectively. This often requires resources from different functional teams to work together to meet the project goal. Working with cross-functional teams can get complicated. Using resource management software enables these cross-functional teams to work together more cohesively and successfully.

What is a Cross-Functional Team?

A cross-functional team has members from different departments. These resources bring a unique skill set to the table, and all collaborate to work towards a shared business goal. Some external team members may also be hired only for a particular project. Extensive knowledge-sharing and enhanced client satisfaction are the cornerstones of this operations model.

Cross-functional teams are common in small set-ups, though larger organizations also adopt this model increasingly. Each team member is assigned a task relevant to his area of expertise. Since project tasks are often co-dependent, resources often acquire a working knowledge of other tasks (thus enhancing their skills). They may also contribute to improving the entire process (leading to innovation).

Cross-functional teams enable organizations to leverage resources from a global talent pool. Digitalization and technological advances make it possible for managers to tap cost-effective resource skills from various geographies, thus increasing productivity and cutting costs.

Benefits of Cross-Functional Teams

Cross-functional teams are very goal-oriented, can be highly productive and offer myriad benefits.

Strategies For Developing a Cross-Functional Team

Having a team with diverse talents and experiences is certainly beneficial. But managing resources from different functional areas can be complicated and challenging for the project manager. There may be conflicts of interests, a clash of personalities and delays. Managers must use resource management tools and techniques to develop cross-functional teams that work together collaboratively and efficiently.

Here's what a project manager must keep in mind while forming a cross-functional team:

  1. Put the right team together: Each project requires a particular set of skills and expertise, and the team must have resources that bring these to the group. While each resource must be a self-starter and able to complete his assigned task independently, he must also collaborate with the other team members to overcome any bottlenecks that may arise during the project's lifecycle. The project manager must ensure that he assembles a team with specialized and shared skills.
  2. Have a designated team leader: While each team member is responsible and accountable for his assigned tasks, there needs to be a team leader to ensure that the project progresses on schedule and to monitor each team member. The leader is accountable for the entire team and would need to collaborate with the team members during the planning process.
  3. Define desired goals clearly: Based on the project goals and priorities, the team goals must be defined clearly and without ambiguity. The project manager must outline the task priorities, the expected outcome, the deadline and the budget. This gives resources greater clarity on what is expected of them and they can work towards those deliverables.
  4. Plan the project from start to end : The manager must visualize the entire project and use resource scheduling software to plan each stage of the project. The deadlines, expected outcomes and timeframes must be specified.
  5. Emphasize team success : Team members each have a set goal, and some may be more successful than others in achieving theirs. The team leader must recognize each team member's success, but at the same time ensure that the focus remains on achieving the common goal.
  6. Encourage team members to share ideas: The manager must include team members in task planning and listen to their ideas and opinions. This will make them feel included and motivate them to work more productively. It will also show that he has trust in them.
  7. Offer concrete solutions to resolve workplace conflicts and challenges: Different departments and teams may sometimes have varying goals and styles of working, for example, sales and marketing teams, or finance and research teams. The project manager must be able to resolve these conflicts amicably for the greater good of the organization.
  8. Enhanced internal communication: Two-way communication is key to the success of any project. Team members must be made aware of what is expected of them, and they should also feel free to air their concerns. Resource management software provides a common platform for accessible communication amongst team members.
  9. Revaluate goals and processes continuously: Cross-functional teams are flexible and able to adapt to changes more easily. They are ideal for adopting innovations. Team leaders must constantly monitor to see what is working and what must be changed. They must also review resource performances and make adjustments to the processes and resource scheduling tools being used.

How Does Resource Management Software Help Cross-Functional Teams?

Managing resources is a challenging process, requiring great skill and talent. Projects that employ cross-functional teams for greater efficiency and cost-effectiveness can prove even more challenging. Using a resource scheduling tool like eResource Scheduler streamlines the entire resource management, planning, allocation, and scheduling process for project managers while working with cross-functional teams.

Here's how a resource management software like eResource Scheduler with its various resource scheduling tools equips project managers to work more effectively with cross-functional teams.

Cross-functional teams are increasingly the norm for various organizations. Resource management software makes working with them more streamlined and efficient.

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