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Teamwork in a Cross-functional team.

by Ibukunoluwa Ogundare
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In a typical football team, 11 players perform different roles based on their position on the football pitch. There is the goalkeeper, the defenders, the midfielders, and the forwards. Everyone knows what they are responsible for and how to do their part. However, you will agree that if the defenders do a terrible job of defending, it does not just affect the defenders, it affects the whole team. This is a perfect example of Teamwork. We all win or no one wins. As a product manager, you will always be involved in a cross-functional team. A typical product team consists of UI/UX designers, Front end developers, back-end developers, Quality assurance, Product marketing managers, and Customer support. 

Working In a product team can be really difficult if one does not understand how to collaborate to be a team player. This might even seem a bit more difficult because you are not the leader of the team, you are only leading by influence. This means you do not have direct authority over the team members as the product manager. In fact, most of the team members have team leads that they do report to which in most cases is not you. However, remembering your role as a product manager is to represent the users and defend their interests, makes it easier. 

Your aim will be to bring the user’s perspective to the conversation with the team. It will also be to influence the team to achieve the set goal or solve the need. You must always remember that teamwork is the only way to fully satisfy your clients.

Teamwork gets easier when the purpose is clear.

Everyone on a football team knows the purpose is to win the game and must contribute to achieving this. As a product manager, your first goal is ensuring that everyone understands the end goal which is ensuring user satisfaction.  

Everyone wins when we all win should also be a mantra you go by. Sometimes it might require you to be available to pick up the pieces when someone slacks or needs help. It might require you to be empathetic when a goal will not be possible within a time frame. 

Whatever it requires, you just have to ensure everyone in the product team believes and knows you have their back. 

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