How Cross-Functional Teams Increase Innovation

Micro frontends change the way organizations develop applications, including the way they structure their teams. Here are 4 ways cross-functional teams help your organization innovate more quickly.

Entando - Tuesday, February 11, 2020
Tags: Life Process Management

When we shape new technologies, they also begin to reshape us. Micro frontends are a tool that help change the way your organization develops applications. This is certainly true from a technology standpoint, but micro frontends can also change the way your organization itself runs, making it more efficient and removing barriers that keep your teams from innovating quickly.

Micro frontends represent the democratization of UX, enabling you to empower multiple teams to work on different aspects of one frontend experience. And since they can test, debug, and deploy independently from one another, they are able to move quickly and experiment constantly.

But in order for your enterprise to fully benefit from using micro frontends, you may need to restructure the way your teams are organized. Rather than assembling teams horizontally around particular skill sets at one level of the stack, micro frontends enable you to empower cross-functional teams that are arranged vertically around delivering a particular feature or functionality.

Once you spin up a cross-functional team, you can give them end-to-end autonomy in delivering a feature, from database all the way up to the end user’s experience. This autonomy will improve your organizational culture, as well as increase the quality of the applications you are able to deliver.

In short, reorganizing your teams in this way will enable you to increase the speed with which your organization is able to innovate. Here are 4 reasons why.

1. Cross-functionality decreases inter-team dependency

When a project needs to move from team to team in order to progress forward, it is likely to be halted (or at least slowed) at every step of the journey--particularly when dealing with a large monolithic architecture. Context needs to be shared across teams, and often one team has not thought through all the considerations necessary for the team to which they are handing the project off. This makes an organization sluggish, and often frustrates its employees.

This lack of communication and cohesiveness is solved by empowering a team to focus on one feature or functionality and take it from start to finish. A smaller team can communicate better, and they are able to move faster, since they don’t need to wait on other teams to pick up where they left off.

On the other hand, it’s important to make sure that the independence of teams doesn’t end up working against your organization at large. So in order to keep multiple teams from wasting energy with each solving a similar technology problem in isolation, maintaining communication horizontally across teams is still important.

As Michael Geers suggests, it may be beneficial for an organization to form “guilds” around certain skill sets such as Kubernetes deployment, frontend engineering, or security. Having these team members hold a brief weekly meeting to check in and update one another keeps your organization from duplicating effort across teams, while still empowering independent teams to complete their own given project.

2. Decrease in “us vs. them” mentality

When developers are divided into teams of other developers who only have the same passions and expertise to them, it’s easy for an organization to fall into a culture where an “us versus them” mentality begins to spread. Each team can begin to develop a mindset where they see the work they do as the “real” work, or at least the most important work. This hurts the overall momentum of the organization.

This is particularly true where communication is muddled and one team hands off a project without adequately anticipating the other team’s needs. These lapses are rarely if ever intentional, but arise from lack of communication.

Mutual understanding is vastly improved when a single team possesses members that can anticipate every consideration a project will require from start to finish--enabling team members to work together more cohesively. Cross-functional teams developing with micro frontends enable you to do just that.

This sense of corporate unity is also strengthened by clear development blueprints and brand standards that can be centrally accessed by any given team, which also improves the application overall. When everyone in your organization is on the same page and moving in a unified direction, you enable your efforts to be focused on solving the end consumer’s problems, rather than focusing on your own.

3. Multiple perspectives to working on one solution

When attacking a problem or thinking through how to deliver a new feature, teams benefit from multiple perspectives. These different perspectives often exist within an organization, but when an organization’s teams are structured horizontally, they are rarely communicated and integrated well--resulting in frustration and an inefficiency of effort.

Cross-functional teams are able to integrate these multiple perspectives into better applications that are delivered more quickly, because those different perspectives are working so closely together to achieve one solution.

4. Experimentation is faster when dealing with a smaller codebase

When your team is leaner and your codebase is smaller, you increase your ability to try new things more quickly. Cross-functional teams using micro frontends are able to test their updates in isolation from the rest of the application, rather than waiting for an update of the entire frontend monolith.

Additionally, when there are less people who need to be involved in any new experiment, communication and execution are much faster. Decisions can happen in a single conversation, rather than through a series of meetings and approvals. When teams are able to continuously experiment on their new ideas without being slowed by organizational minutiae, innovation is greatly accelerated.

Innovate faster with cross-functional teams using micro frontends on Entando.

When release cycles take months instead of weeks, your business is left unable to deliver modern online experiences. Development bottlenecks slow your ability to make application updates, keeping you from iterating and innovating. And outdated or clunky UX keeps you from winning customers over and retaining them.

So that’s why we created a platform to help you get your ideas to market faster.

Entando is the leading micro frontend platform for building enterprise web apps on Kubernetes. We want to change the way enterprises think about building their apps, sites, and portals in order to innovate more quickly.

With Entando, you can leverage customized blueprints to quickly create micro frontends and assemble them onto a single page. Then reuse UI/UX components across multiple projects via the Entando Component Repository, saving money and increasing development speed. Scale quickly and effectively with Entando’s custom Kubernetes operator, automating the deployment of scalable, self-healing applications.

Entando is open source with available enterprise support. Begin developing on the platform today, and get a quote to see how our Professional Services team can help your enterprise build better apps, sites, and portals--faster.

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Learn How To Create Better Apps, Portals, & Websites--Faster.

This white paper outlines how your organization can accelerate UX innovation by developing with micro frontends on Kubernetes, as well as how a micro frontend platform can help you execute this methodology more effectively.