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Illustrated treasure map on iterable light blue background with yellow magnifying glass in the foreground - cross team projects

Navigating Cross-Team Projects: 7 Steps to Success

Ahoy, fellow program and project managers! Brace yourselves for a thrilling adventure as we embark on a quest to master the art of managing cross-team projects. Leading a diverse crew of experts from various backgrounds may seem like sailing uncharted waters, but fear not. With the right approach and a sprinkle of creativity, we can navigate through the challenges and complexities and steer our teams towards triumphant success.

Through many moons of experience, I’ve navigated the high sea of program management, guiding teams comprising front end pirates, backend buccaneers, SDK privateers, savvy managers, crafty product managers, and many more brave souls. Together, we’ve faced treacherous challenges and emerged victorious, forging a bond as tight as a sailor’s knot.

So, hop aboard, and let’s explore the seven essential steps that will guide us on this epic journey to managing cross-team projects.

Step 1: Define the Magnificent Ship We’ll Build 🚢

Every great voyage begins with a clear destination in mind. Likewise, managing a cross-team project starts with defining a concept document, a treasure map that outlines what needs to be built.

The sharp product team leads the charge, crafting a document that sparkles with clarity, including a captivating press release, detailed use cases, scope, technical / non technical assessment, and risk analysis.

By engaging the entire team in the planning phase, we harness their collective expertise, setting the stage for a successful program.

Treasured Takeaway: Bring your whole crew into the planning stage to align in direction towards your ultimate goal.

Step 2: Break Down the Voyage into Exciting Milestones ⚓

Ahoy, landlubbers! As we navigate this treacherous sea, we must divide the journey into exciting milestones that align with our grand vision. Our trusty product manager initiates the journey by setting feature milestones that align with business objectives. The team then dissects these milestones together into actionable tasks, considering various aspects such as resource allocation, dependencies, and timelines.

With a well-structured plan and clear deadlines, we ensure a smooth progression towards our shared vision. Using the Engineering team as an example, the engineering experts then join in the fray, collaboratively breaking down the tasks for each milestone, dividing them into backend, frontend, and SDK requirements. Well-crafted timelines and specific deadlines ensure a harmonious journey towards our shared destination, carefully considering the dependencies between teams.

Treasured Takeaway: A well-structured plan, meticulously dissected into actionable tasks, ensures our shared vision sails smoothly. Collaboration, clear deadlines, and consideration of dependencies chart our course to success.

Step 3: Assemble the Dream Team and Raise the Colors 🏴‍☠️

Hoist the colors high! The next crucial step is to identify the key stakeholders and unite our diverse team in harmony.

We bring together a diverse group of professionals, including project managers, subject matter experts, developers, and external partners when necessary. But wait, that’s not all! We must also forge alliances with external dependency teams, ensuring everyone’s objectives align with the project’s timeline, scope, and goals.

Our crew becomes a formidable force, ready to conquer any obstacle that crosses our path. Employing the RACI framework to outline roles and responsibilities for various team members proves to be an invaluable strategy. This approach facilitates clear referencing of tasks and responsibilities, particularly in intricate situations.

Treasured Takeaway: Uniting diverse talents and forging alliances with external partners creates a formidable crew.

Step 4: Set Up Our Communication Rigging for Smooth Sailing 📜

Ahoy, me hearties! Effective communication is the wind in our sails! To ensure our journey remains on course, we set up robust communication channels, inspired by the navigational essentials of the high seas.

From regular Jira updates that serve as our weather forecasts, to team meetings acting as our navigational checkpoints, and dedicated project Slack channels fostering real-time ship-to-ship communication, we maintain an open line of communication among the crew. Just as mariners share position reports to avoid collisions, we provide timely progress updates to avoid bottlenecks or misdirection.

Arrr, there is a golden rule though! Much like how sailors rely on a single source of navigational truth, we too keep a single source of truth—a centralized repository of project documentation and decisions. This practice ensures there’s no fog of confusion and we chart a clear course for our voyage. As mariners heed the lighthouse’s warning, we keep our channels clear, our messages concise, and our intentions transparent.

So, with our communication rigging taut and true, we’re ready to navigate these digital waters with the same precision and teamwork as the most skilled seafarers. Onward we sail, forging a course toward successful horizons!

Treasured Takeaway: Clear communication channels and a centralized repository of project data serve as our navigational tools. Transparent, concise messages and consistent updates ensure a smooth voyage, avoiding confusion and keeping us on course.

Step 5: Keep an Eye on Progress and Chart a New Course When Needed 🌊

Forks! Just like sea captains watching the horizon, we monitor progress and adjust our course as needed. We use project management tools to track deliverables, milestones, and priorities. When unexpected challenges arise, we adapt and adjust our course, leveraging innovation and collaboration to overcome obstacles. Our tools and processes, like a skilled navigator, guide us toward program success.

The tool may vary from department to department. For the engineering team, our trusty companion, Jellyfish, helps us track deliverables, milestones, and priorities. But, as any sailor knows, plans can shift with Neptune’s whim.
When unexpected storms arise, fear not! We boldly take the helm, steering toward calmer waters.

A constellation of challenges? We plot a new course, harnessing innovation’s winds and collaboration’s currents. But that’s not all, shipmates! Our tool Jellyfish isn’t just along for the ride—it’s our trusty shipmate in tracking project risks, keeping an eye on the treasure of work in progress, tallying up the doubloons of lifetime spend, charting our meeting course, untangling the web of dependency work, and blasting through blockers like cannonballs. Just as a ship’s navigator steers her true, Jellyfish steers us toward the X that marks the spot of project triumph.

With positive spirits and solution-focused minds, we navigate each tempest. We ride waves of change, emerging stronger. Guided by Jellyfish and unwavering resolve, we sail forth, united and daring! 🌊⚓

Treasured Takeaway: Monitoring progress with tools like Jellyfish allows us to adapt swiftly to unforeseen challenges. Innovation and collaboration guide us through challenges, ensuring we navigate toward project triumph with unwavering resolve.

Step 6: Celebrate Victories and Learn From the Perils 🎉

Yo ho ho! When our crew conquers each milestone, we celebrate our victories with fervor! We raise a toast to their hard work and dedication, acknowledging their triumphs. And that’s not all—we’ve got a treasure trove of kudos ready to be plundered! Weekly, we bestow accolades upon those who have sailed above and beyond, filling their sails with praise and recognition.

But even when the sea of cross-team projects gets rough and we face setbacks, we don’t despair. Arrr, we conduct retrospectives, gleaning lessons from our failures, and charting a better course for future projects.

Just like a captain consulting the stars, we gather for a bi-weekly retro, scrutinizing every wave and navigating the choppy waters of our challenges. And rest assured, we don’t keep our swashbuckling strategies to ourselves—we share the booty of insights and improvements with leadership and stakeholders. It is all about gaining cross-board alignment, ensuring our compasses point in the same direction towards success!

So, my hearties, as we set sail upon these daring endeavors, we celebrate the wins, learn from the losses, and sail ever forward, guided by the North Star of continuous improvement and unyielding determination. Aye, the journey may be treacherous at times, but with our crew united and our spirits unshakeable, there’s no storm we can’t weather, and no horizon we can’t reach! 🏴‍☠️🌟

Treasured Takeaway: Celebrating triumphs and learning from setbacks is our compass for continuous improvement. Regular retrospectives, shared insights, and cross-board alignment steer us toward success, making every journey a valuable experience.

Step 7: Treasure the Bonds We Forged 🏴‍☠️🌟

As we approach the shores of project completion, we treasure the bonds we’ve forged along the way. Through transparent communication and shared victories, we’ve created a crew united in purpose. As we dock our magnificent ship, we bask in the glory of success, knowing that our teamwork and camaraderie made it all possible.

Treasured Takeaway: Transparent communication and shared victories create bonds essential for success.

Journeying Through Cross-Team Projects

So, me hearty program managers, there are the seven steps to navigate cross-team projects. Embrace the challenges, celebrate the victories, and remember, the journey itself is a treasure worth savoring. With these guiding principles, we can sail confidently towards project success, transforming our cross-functional team into a fearsome crew that conquers any sea that dares to stand in our way. Yo ho, yo ho, a program manager’s life for me!

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