Why Your Startup Needs a Cross-functional Team to be Successful

cross functional team

The world is spinning around us on its own. The world does not need us. No one cares if you exist at all, until you start changing things all around. Only when your life and actions are changing the lives of other people does the world start noticing you and what you are doing.

I’ve always been curious about how different people with different backgrounds are approaching their problems and eventually changing things. Last time I thought about it was two weeks ago when I was writing the article about 3 types of software architecture for connected devices and was thinking about how one could design a smart light bulb from scratch.

Let’s take a look at how people with different background approach the task of designing a new connected device.

A different background leads to a different interpretation.

People with different backgrounds have different drives and ideas about how to use the advancement in technology.


Designers influence the world by removing complexity and making conscious shortcuts for transforming our desires into real life interactions as simply as possible. They are uncovering our true intentions and leveraging patterns deeply engraved in our brains.

Designers of light bulbs see big opportunities in precise manufacturing and new materials available on the market so they can create a more beautiful and durable design with an ecologically-sound and long-lasting LED inside. They are looking for a good design differentiator so the new bulb can go to market.

Electronics/Hardware Engineers

Electronics engineers can supercharge people and objects with the superpower of silicon logic and flowing electrons that are extending our senses and capabilities.

Electronics engineers always see a big opportunity in miniaturization and advancements in the component base of radio like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Such components give the ability to connect home appliances and control them without superfluous wires, monitor their health status remotely, and other smart integrations within your home. The definite and final goal of any hardware engineer is to make all electronics literally fit in a quarter size chip.

Software Engineers

Software engineers always work with logic, algorithms and systems that they can build for existing hardware platforms and the existing Internet infrastructure.

Software engineers look at smart connected devices from the perspective of how to connect them to the Internet and integrate through the APIs with everything around us. They know that when they rely on standards and interoperability of the systems, a great value could be unlocked from such connection for the users and businesses. Thats right, it is the echo of Software is eating the world thinking.


Entrepreneurs think about value they can provide through the connection of different businesses and people with all connected devices. They often strive for the digital disruption and ways of building unique business models with recurring revenue, overturning incumbents and reshaping markets.

Collaboration in a startup team

It is also dramatically difficult for any person to deliver the best results in all of these fields alone. Designers, engineers and entrepreneurs need each other to execute a great vision and idea.

Tight and close collaboration between every member in a cross-functional team is mandatory to build really interesting things and bring them to the market. While the complexity of things is growing, even with the broader availability of prototyping and manufacturing tools we need a great team with broad expertise and different perspectives to build awesome and scalable things.

A cross-functional team consisting of focused specialists, who are bold and broad thinkers challenging the existing state of the world, has a lot more chances for success and is able to change the world.

Or possibly even spin it in a different direction.

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