Project Management

Facilitating Cross-Functional Process Groups (Part 1 of 2)

Michael R. Wood is a Business Process Improvement & IT Strategist Independent Consultant. He is creator of the business process-improvement methodology called HELIX and founder of The Natural Intelligence Group, a strategy, process improvement and technology consulting company. He is also a CPA, has served as an Adjunct Professor in Pepperdine's Management MBA program, an Associate Professor at California Lutheran University, and on the boards of numerous professional organizations. Mr. Wood is a sought after presenter of HELIX workshops and seminars in both the U.S. and Europe.

 Part 1 of 2. Read Part 2, Facilitating Cross-Functional Process Groups.


If you are leading a process improvement project, then by definition you are having to navigate across functional boundaries within your organization. One of the most effective ways to break down defensiveness, build support, discover breakthrough solutions and accelerate the process is to create focus groups comprising representatives from each functional area involved in the value-added delivery system (VADS)--end-to-end process--being targeted for improvement. Members of the focus group would therefore have specific and detailed knowledge of the processes, policies and practices that their functional area engages in to support the VADS in question. Collectively then, the group would have a complete understanding of the VADS. Your job is now to facilitate their best thinking in order to discover ways to achieve the improvement objectives of the project. 

So how do you facilitate a cross-functional group of knowledge workers? Here are six basic steps to follow that will serve you well. This week we will review steps 1, 2 and 3. Next week, we will conclude with steps 4, 5 and 6. I highly recommend you follow them in the sequence provided, since each step builds on the next. As you perfect your facilitating techniques, you will find that a great deal can be done in…

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