Insights · 3 min read

How product managers can improve cross-functional collaboration

At times, product management can get hyper-focused on building features and lose focus on establishing relationships across the company. 

Features are a huge part of what makes customers happy. But there are things that may fall through the cracks without a little teamwork. 

This is where cross-functional collaboration can become the glue that holds teams and products together. 

Today we ask the tough questions about cross-functional collaboration and reveal the power of building relationships. Here are the questions we’ll investigate: 

  • What does traditional product management look like?

  • What departmental skills work well cross-functionally?

  • What’s the best way to collaboratively communicate with teams?

  • How has data enabled cross-functional collaboration?

What does traditional product management look like?

Product management is a cross-functional role by nature. 

In many organizations, product managers (PM) don't have a full team reporting to them. They get tasks done through the influence of other people working together across the organization.  A PM typically owns a specific product, vertical, or line of products, and has a small cluster of team members as frequent collaborators. 

Working outside of these departments essentially forces product management to think beyond their core team of design and engineering, and more about sales and product marketing. 

What departmental skills work well cross-functionally?

There are a handful of skills to look for in a product manager that are needed to work well across the team:

  • A solid technical foundation. A product manager needs to be able to converse on a high level with engineers and functional designers—plus help explain technical nuance to non-technical stakeholders.

  • Influence-driven leadership. A skilled product manager has the ability to influence the organization without a ton of formal authority. 

  • A customer-driven mindset. A product manager has to have a “spidey sense” of what a well-designed and built product is from a customer standpoint. 

In product management, it can be a challenge to break out of the silo of your own group. Inevitably, you have to loop the entire team in on new features and functionalities rolling out. The marketing and sales teams need to be educated on what is being built and when it's going to roll out to customers. 

Accordingly, balancing time spent on the creation of features and building relationships around the organization is critical. 

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What’s the best way to collaboratively communicate with teams?

Product managers are constantly getting feedback from customer-facing teams about what's resonating with customers and ultimately what they want to see in the product. To collaboratively communicate with teams, it’s important to establish a clear product roadmap so teams can communicate with each other and with external parties.

There’s no doubt about it—collaborative communication is clear communication.

Here are some ways to break the mold with cross-functional peers, even across globally dispersed teams:

  • Jump into a sales call 

  • Read customer reviews

  • Join a product marketing exercise

  • Listen in on a design session

How has data enabled cross-functional collaboration?

Data is a common language among teams and can be a way to drive clear, effective decision-making. 

Instead of being a data-driven organization, it can be more of a data-informed organization—understanding how to use data to relate to customers.

When building products, a great democratizer is to have everybody clearly understand and articulate what the problem is. Most of the time, the problem can be solved with a set of data. 

With a Digital Experience Intelligence solution like Fullstory, you can view customer sessions with Session Replay, and product, engineering, and UX teams will get total visibility into why customers interact the way they do.

Turn up the volume on your user behavior data.

See Fullstory’s Digital Experience Intelligence solution for yourself. Try Fullstory for free — for as long as you'd like.


The Fullstory Team

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Our team of data and user experience experts shares tips and best practices. We are committed to introducing our audience to important topics surrounding analytics, behavioral data, user experience, product development, culture, engineering and more.