Facilitating and Leading Cross-Functional Collaboration (Coursera)

Facilitating and Leading Cross-Functional Collaboration is an online MOOC Course offered by University of Colorado Boulder via Coursera. This course is part of the Cross-Functional Collaboration Specialization.

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Facilitating and Leading Cross-Functional Collaboration
Facilitating and Leading Cross-Functional Collaboration (Coursera)

About Facilitating and Leading Cross-Functional Collaboration Online Course

In this course, you will learn the skills needed for effective cross-functional collaboration and practical tactics for applying them. Since understanding concepts intellectually is always easier than knowing how to apply them practically, you will be presented with an opportunity to practice in a low-stakes environment while being guided each step of the way. For this course, you will need a relative, friend, or colleague you could practice with. The best part? They don’t need to know they are a part of your training.

Facilitating and Leading Cross-Functional Collaboration Coursera Course Syllabus

Two key roles in cross functional collaboration

Leader and a facilitator roles set the tone of cross-functional collaboration. They either help the team do their best thinking or they hinder the progress. In this module, you will learn the difference between being a leader and a facilitator. You will also learn how you can help the cross-functional team overcome the most common collaboration anti-patterns depending on the role you play.

Facilitator crash course

Working with various leaders throughout the years, I have noticed that the skill of facilitation is grossly undervalued. Wouldn’t a leader want to know how to help a team do their best thinking or how to help the team get out of a gridlock of thoughts and ideas? A concept of servant leadership alludes to the idea that a leader is the one who helps unlock the talent, creativity and the potential of the team. Facilitation in that sense is a practical skill of serving others, helping teams find cohesion, come up with innovative solutions, challenge their own thinking and maximize customer value. In this module, you will learn how teams think so you can be prepared for the psychological depth and emotional range of working with groups of individuals. You will learn how to structure, organize, and facilitate three essential phases of any workshop: preparation, facilitation, and a follow-up.

Adding structure to collaboration

Collaboration exists for a specific purpose – to deliver desired business outcomes. Because of that, leadership always seeks to understand answers to the most common business questions – what the solution is, when it will be delivered, how much it will cost, and how much revenue it will generate. A cross-functional team must be aware of these questions and be ready to answer them or have a structured way of addressing them. In this module, you will learn ways of addressing these questions even early in the process when your team might not have an idea of what the solution will be yet. Collaboration without structure can quickly turn into chaos. To prevent this from happening, we need to address four things. First, remember what business outcomes we are trying to achieve. Second, add light structure and definition of roles and responsibilities. Third, understand how people inside and outside of the organization may impact your work, and lastly, be clear about the product vision, goal, and how we are going to deliver it. As you continue working though this module, you will learn how to address these four elements. By the end of the module, you will be equipped with tools and techniques for creating shared understanding and team alignment around the problem, vision, goals, success measures, and creating an objectives-based roadmap of the work ahead.

Turning a set of individuals into a team

Every team goes through a variation of Bruce Tuckman’s forming-storming-norming-performing journey. The pace with which people travel through that journey varies greatly, but most importantly, we can assist a set of individuals in becoming a true team. In this module, you will learn tools and techniques that will help expedite team bonding by cultivating empathy, proactively discussing common values, working agreements, bringing potential conflicts out in the open early in the collaboration process, creating collaboration space and enabling a culture of continuous improvement in co-located and distributed teams.

Process strategy for cross-functional product teams

So far we discussed interpersonal team dynamics, roles and team structure, and how to align team members around the product vision, goals and product delivery. The last topic of discussion is the team process. Or, in other words, how exactly the team will be delivering its work. By the end of the module, you will learn what key principles you should consider as you assist the team with finding the right process for them in the context of product development lifecycle.

Course Instructor

Facilitating and Leading Cross-Functional Collaboration coursera course offered by  is A.W. Lukens and Oxana Trotsenko.

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1-4 Hours/Week

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5-12 Weeks

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Flexible Learning


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