Innovation in Cross-Functional Teams (Panel Discussion at ACP23)

This year, the central theme of the conference revolved around the concept of “Innovation in Agile” organized by Agile Pakistan. Typically, when we think of innovation, it conjures images of fresh, creative, out-of-the-box ideas. In my perspective, innovation signifies a novel approach or a new way of doing things, which may lead to transformative outcomes.

I actively participated on behalf of 31G Pvt Ltd in a panel discussion titled “Innovation in Cross-Functional Teams,” which aimed to delve into how we can foster innovation within teams to enhance their overall productivity. The panel featured an esteemed lineup, including myself, Adeel Ali, the CEO of ClickChain Inc., Sahar Bhutta, QA Lead at Arbi Soft in Lahore, and Greg Mester, who joined remotely from the USA. The discussion was moderated by Misam Abbas, Head of Business PMO & Innovations at a prominent Pakistan bank.

During the panel, I shared my insights and strategies on how to stimulate innovation within cross-functional teams. I emphasized the importance of providing ample room for team members to acclimatize themselves to the team’s environment, culture, workflows, and structure. This comfort and familiarity can serve as a catalyst for achieving maximum productivity. Instead of fixating on micromanagement, I suggested that we should focus on establishing clear checklists or definitions of task completion, regardless of the specific activity or set of tasks. The key is to prioritize productivity over micromanagement.

Another vital point I raised was the necessity of building trust within teams. It is crucial to treat team members as trustworthy individuals rather than starting with a default assumption of distrust. By doing so, we can create an environment where team members feel valued and are more likely to contribute positively.

In my closing statement, I reiterated the significance of providing team members with a comfortable and supportive workspace. This not only enhances their individual performance but also serves as an inspirational source for others within the team. In summary, innovation within cross-functional teams can be fostered by nurturing a culture of trust, providing a conducive environment, and focusing on productivity rather than micromanagement.