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The best practices for cross-functional collaboration

Because they are active in two, previously separated realms (the backend and the frontend) of application development, full-stack engineers often find themselves at the intersection of various roles. They have to collaborate with front-end developers, back-end specialists, designers, product managers, and many more niche experts and stakeholders.

This means that cross-functional collaboration is a daily reality and top priority for full-stack engineers. In this article, we will show you how to make a big success out of cross-functional collaboration by using a proven set of best practices.

Clear communication

Given the breadth of their responsibilities and tasks, full-stack engineers need to be effective and good communicators. These communication skills include more than just conveying technical details. Full-stack engineers should also be able to understand, incorporate and pass along feedback from non-technical stakeholders, such as CEO’s, end users and department heads.

Shared understanding

If you want to streamline and perfect cross-functional collaboration, it’s crucial to establish a clear understanding of project goals, user needs (the end users are the people who have to work with the new technology), and technical or budgetary restraints. Shared understanding ensures that all team members are aligned and can work together efficiently. This shortens the time to market and improves the quality of the application that you are building.

Respect for expertise

While full-stack engineers are equipped with a broad knowledge base, it’s essential for them to respect the deep expertise of specialists in particular areas. Examples are design, front-end technologies, or specific back-end systems.

Create a transparent flow of information

Conflicts within cross-functional teams usually arise when there isn’t a transparent and continuous flow of information between the different experts and stakeholders. So be sure to get close to the people on your team and understand what they do. This will help you become a better full-stack engineer.

Know when to scale

When your product or project is scaling (extra features, downsizing the original product requirements), your cross-functional team has to scale accordingly. For example, if there are more requests coming in and a bigger demand to improve multiple features in a product arises, the number of cross-functional teams needs to grow too.

Conclusion: use everyone’s expertise in the best possible way

Cross-collaboration is all about sharing and optimally harnessing knowledge to achieve better end results and build superior applications. In the end, collaboration is at its most effective when everyone’s expertise is acknowledged and leveraged. The transparent flow of information and right communication styles and mechanisms allow full-stack engineers to bundle multiple sources of information and expertise. This leads to one universal source of the truth that is bound to perfect the overall development process.