4 Types of Teams

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As a Six Sigma Black Belt, you will have to deal with teams. You will have a project team doing the project with you and you being the leader of that improvement project team. To perform that function of a team leader, you need to understand how teams work? What makes teams successful? How to motivate team members towards the common goal to help you in performing that role?

Let's learn about the team in this section. Here are four common team types - which are: Functional, Cross-Functional, Virtual, and Self-directed.


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The Functional team is something that is related to a function. For example, you have the design function, purchasing function, etc. People from these groups when they work together form a functional team.

On the other hand, Cross-Functional Team is a team where people from different functions work towards a common goal. The members of this team could be as subject-matter experts from different functions, say, for example, one person from maintenance, one person from design, one person from purchasing, one person from sales. Together they make a cross-functional team. This team is used when you're working on an improvement project which spans over a number of functions.

Virtual Team is a team that is not sitting together, which does not have a face-to-face interaction. Here we have people who were sitting in different time zones. These are people from different cultures, different languages, and they are working towards a common goal using the help of technology.

The next type of team is the Self-directed team. The self-directed team comes together on their own. These are not formally assigned to a particular project. The members of the self-directed team come together on their own with the minimum input from management. For example, they see a problem; they come together to form an informal team and work together towards that goal.

In addition to these four team types, there could be many other types of teams; for example:

  • Quality Circles (a kind of team where 5-6 people work towards a common goal of improvement)
  • Process Improvement Teams (Where the focus of team members is to improve a process)
  • Problem Solving Teams (Just like the Process Improvement Teams, here the focus of team members is to solve a specific problem)
  • Project Teams (Team members perform a specific project)
  • Self Managed Teams (This is similar to Self-directed Team)

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