Digital Transformation

Breaking down the barriers between operations and engineering teams

Headshot, Simone Timen
By Simone Timen

Technical and non-technical teams are often siloed from each other creating challenges in collaboration and communication, especially in large organizations. Learn how to foster a more collaborative environment through technology, relationship building, and project management.

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Traditionally, technical and non-technical teams have been siloed within companies and rarely crossed paths. This has especially been the case at large enterprises, stifling their ability to be agile.

Agility has proven to be a crucial part of innovation, something that startups have been particularly good at. In order to keep up with these industry disruptors, enterprises need to be willing to examine how they operate, namely re-imagining the relationship between their technical and non-technical teams.

Most industries are already implementing technology to increase the speed of innovation and could do more to increase collaboration between siloed teams. According to the State of Business Communication survey, poor communication alone (whether internal or external) costs US businesses an estimated $1.2 trillion each year. To put it in perspective, that’s about $6.25 million for a 500-person organization.

Here’s how to create better cross-functional collaboration and bridge the communication gap.

1. Build relationships between technical and non-technical teams

Developers know how to code, but they don’t necessarily understand the process that needs to be automated. And operations folks understand the process but may not have the ability to build the software themselves. They may as well be speaking different languages when it comes to the way they work and if there isn’t a dedicated product manager, a lot of things can get lost in translation.

In order to bridge that gap, it’s crucial to build meaningful relationships between teams and that starts with building trust. The Harvard Business Review found that a lack of familiarity and connection between team members results in a lower likelihood of engaging in collaborative behaviors.

So, before you even put engineers in a room with your operations team to start planning the next sprint, put them in a room together to get to know each other. Focus on creating opportunities for team building. In essence, your first line of defense is to minimize the business language barrier between teams to open the doors for more practical solutions.

2. Invest in accessible software

Collaboration between technical and non-technical teams can be tough when you have processes that require specialized knowledge. Oftentimes, building business-critical workflows requires an in-depth understanding of coding as does the software being used to build them.

It comes as no surprise that ease-of-use directly impacts the adoption of a tool. With a lower barrier to entry, accessible software enables non-technical folks to build out processes traditionally delegated to engineers. Take no-code tools as an example. With the availability of libraries and drag-and-drop features, anyone can build automated processes without writing a single line of code.

You can connect thousands of applications with a no-code platform like Zapier, quickly build a website with Wordpress, or automate your PDF processes with Anvil Workflows. The possibilities are endless. No-code tools abstract away the complexity of traditional development and empower operations and business teams to break down barriers.

3. Align on project management

Technical and non-technical teams usually experience a barrier when it comes to project management. This manifests in many ways including differing sprint cycles, lack of coordination for project handoffs, and utilizing different platforms.

It’s just as important to align on project management as it is to build meaningful connections between teams. Think of project management as the glue that keeps those work relationships on track and working toward the same goal. One of the most fundamental things you can do is ensure your teams are operating on similar cycles.

With that out of the way, you can schedule shared planning sessions at the beginning of each quarter, increasing visibility between teams early on. You can also schedule syncs throughout the quarter to give teams an opportunity to check in on their progress.

There’s also the option of investing in a software solution that can sync various project management tools. Rather than forcing teams to adopt tools that don’t really work for their use case, you can implement a platform like Unito. It automatically syncs all of your tools together providing a comprehensive view of all tasks and projects.

Building collaboration for innovation

When you address the most common barriers between your teams, not only are you creating an inclusive and collaborative company culture; you’re increasing the rate at which you can innovate. If you’re interested in learning more about empowering your teams with accessible software, reach out to us at sales@useanvil.com.