Multidisciplinary Teams & the Importance of Teamwork
Multidisciplinary teams contain two or more professions to provide integrated and coordinate services. If your business needs to develop complex products, building a cohesive team may enable you to generate them faster. A person working independently has certain strengths and weakness, and likely will not have all the answers. Teamwork fosters camaraderie and sharing. On an effective team, the members contribute their best work, support others, and enable high-quality, timely, and cost-effective project completion.
When you manage a multidisciplinary team, fostering teamwork enables you to achieve your goals. To ensure commitment from your team members, you need to establish a clear purpose. Project objectives must be meaningful to each group member. It’s important to allow the team to discuss and set specific and measurable goals. This doesn’t have to be a formal process, but but everyone needs to participate. Each team member, regardless of his background, must be free to express his opinions. Disagreement is permitted as long as it doesn’t derail the group.
Innovative solutions typically require multi-disciplinary teams to define, design and develop comprehensive solutions, although varied backgrounds may cause culture clashes that have to be resolved. Effective teamwork enables the group to make decisions, solve problems and communicate successfully. Involving each team member in the decision-making process typically results in better decisions. This results in job satisfaction, commitment and increased productivity.
Large multidisciplinary teams usually contain many team members with varying skills. Poorly defined roles and responsibilities may result in chaos, conflict and confusion. Effective project managers avert this disaster by generating a responsibility matrix. This spreadsheet lists the tasks in the left columns and the team members' names in cells across the first row. For each task and for each person, you indicate if the person is responsible, accountable, consulted or informed. It's important to establish this level of detail to set expectations for how the team will operate.
Improved productivity results when multidisciplinary teams function efficiently. It’s important that team members commit themselves to listen carefully, respect the opinions of others, and value other team members' skills and strengths. Multidisciplinary teams usually generate a wide range of ideas. To manage productivity, the project manager needs to establish clear procedures for assimilating new team members, and for transferring knowledge from one profession to another. The manager should always make an effort to create a collaborative atmosphere. Team members need to remember to withhold initial criticism, welcome unusual ideas, and consider how to combine and improve ideas. Removing personal bias and entertaining new ideas can solve problems.