Working Smartly with Cross-Functional Teams
At Smartly.io, our values are the foundation of our success and guide us in our everyday work. We work smartly by making decisions nimbly, by automating manual work, and executing with speed as a habit. All decisions we make are made to provide long-term value to our customers and every Smartlie takes ownership of their own work because nothing is someone else’s problem. Working across teams and functions is crucial in order to achieve our goals and to solve even the trickiest of problems our customers may encounter.
Our recruiting process supports cross-functional work as we always hire to elevate, not to delegate. We embrace the diverse skill-sets, experiences, and fresh perspectives that new Smartlies bring. Equipped with different strengths and experiences, we all share a T-shaped mindset. It means, in practice, to have deep skills in one area accompanied with a drive and desire to work across disciplines and to learn from others.
The drive and desire to learn allows us to work in cross-functional teams when developing the product, solving customers’ problems, and innovating new features. This blog post details how our Creative Studio collaborates with the Managed Service team and why we believe in working across disciplines.
The Combination of Creative and Data
The Creative Studio helps our customers build creatives that stand out, catch the viewer’s attention, and lead to clicks and conversions. The team consists of graphic designers and art directors who are experts at creating visuals that inspire, evoke emotion, and resonate with the audience.
Managed Service team is dedicated to large-scale advertisers who prefer to outsource their ad operations to us. The team consists of account managers who know Facebook advertising better than their own pockets, eat data for breakfast, and who know how to execute winning strategies to reach the right audience at the right time.
One could assume that a highly technical and data-oriented team doesn’t have a lot in common with the creative work and that their paths never cross – our experiences have proved quite the contrary. Recently, we in Creative Studio found ourselves amidst a project with the Managed Services team that required input, knowledge share, and collaboration from both sides.
Collaborate to Maximize Learning
After running campaigns for our customers, the Managed Service team members began analyzing campaign data across the board to see how the performance of different ads varied depending on the creative. These findings lead to discussions between the two teams and based on the learnings and analyses, we could recommend iterations to the creative. Whether it was copy or graphics, we were able to test variations and see which ads lead to action.
The benefits of having the technical and creative experts under the same roof are copious; firstly, the information and communication flow is constant, and second, the risk of something getting lost in translation (or in cyberspace) decreases significantly. Our close collaboration has also resulted in lower barriers to ask for help, advice, or a second opinion from the other team members. Our teams have also learned new ways of approaching problems, acquiring different perspectives, and on top of that, we have gotten to know each other better on a personal level.
As we work across teams, functions, and offices and constantly share information and learnings, we can easily avoid siloes. We believe in transparency and information is always a few clicks away. As a result, redundant or repetitive information never makes its way to our customers, instead, they can enjoy the most accurate information from different areas – all provided by topic-specific professionals.
Top Tips for Creating a Cross-Functional Team Culture
Learn What The Other Team Does
The foundation for successful collaboration is a genuine understanding of what the other team does. At Smartly.io, all teams have created a document that lists out team members, core tasks, responsibilities, and initiatives. Teams also give company-wide updates on a regular basis. These knowledge shares keep every Smartlie up-to-date and allow them to look for the right team and person when needed. As teams start working together, 1-1 meetings or attending the other team’s meetings are an efficient way of giving more insights and deepening the understanding.
Build Genuine Relationships
“Being approachable is a skill to have, especially when working across teams.”
Remember that company-wide collaboration is built on mutual respect and everyone working towards the same goal. It is a give and take relationship; don’t approach only with needs but offer your help even when you don’t need anything in return. If you are a team lead, ask what your team members are interested in and in what areas they want to develop. When working on cross-functional projects, the learning opportunities are different and by knowing your team well, you can divide tasks and responsibilities accordingly.
Respect Each Others’ Time
As time has become one of the most valuable currencies in today’s fast-paced world, it is good to have an extra reminder to be mindful of each others’ time and work. Provide proper briefs and give plenty of time for your colleagues to organize their workload and schedules. Once your teams start working together on an actual project, they also learn how to accommodate and adjust to each others’ ways of working. A project gives a natural reason for constant communication, which enables smoother collaboration.