Cross-functional teams: A new strategy for business success

With business-IT collaboration key to digital transformation, forward-thinking IT leaders are breaking down silos to develop blended startup-like teams focused on key business initiatives.

Cross-functional teams: A new strategy for business success
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Executives at CarMax moved to cross-functional teams when it embarked on its transformation strategy four years ago, believing such teams could deliver better results more quickly than the siloed approach the used-car retailer had been taking.

To ensure success, CIO Shamim Mohammad says he and his colleagues established how these new teams needed to work: They had to have a product manager who would operate like the team’s CEO; the team must have a user experience person; and it needed a developer or engineer for the lead technical resource.

Mohammad and his C-suite peers went even further. They took down walls and moved people around so that they could sit together as teams. They also decided that success for these new teams wouldn’t be measured based on the number of products produced but rather on business objectives met.

The ROI? Mohammad says these teams are delivering better business results much faster, are more innovative and more focused on customer experience.

“For companies to be successful, they have to work like a startup company. That’s in essence what we’ve created with these teams: product teams that act like a small startup company and can innovate fast,” Mohammad says.

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