Welcome to Fusion Team
Organizing the workforce into fusion teams is one of the ways of ensuring that a firm continues to thrive long into the future. Fusion teams are considered a new method through which organizations manage their workforce by combining business expertise and technology.
According to Sutton, the effectiveness of fusion teams is tied to the agile culture it promotes. The rise of fusion teams in the modern-day workplace has been inspired by the need for organizations to adapt to the ever-changing work environment. Managing the changes happening in the workplace necessitates collaboration between multidisciplinary teams, which must work together to address organizational obstacles and develop real-time and effective solutions (Pattnaik and Rashmita, 231). A fusion team by definitions is a multidisciplinary team that combinations technology with analytics and business specific domain expertise. Within the fusion team accountability is shared to ensure business and technology outcomes. As an alternative of organizing work across functions or technology verticals, fusion teams are designed around the cross-cutting business capabilities, business outcomes and customer outcomes they are accountable for. The role played by fusion teams in the work environment is expected to persist long into the future.
Collaborations between teams within the workplace, characteristic of fusion teams, are expected to continue gaining popularity as more firms embrace the workplace’s digital transformation changes. According to Alli and Jenni, fusion teams operate like pirates where the employees try to work towards achieving a balance of power. This can best be achieved by ensuring a democratic approach towards decision-making. All the decisions taken in fusion teams mirror those taken on pirate ships where duties and responsibilities are well defined. Each member of the crew is expected to play their part to perfection and contribute to the overall success of the entire ship (Minister). Similarly, for fusion teams, successful collaboration within and across departments often lead to success that all the team members share.
The delay by some companies to go online during the lockdown period of the COVID-19 pandemic revealed a big gap in their operational efficiency. As stated above, some companies had never envisioned a scenario where their staff would have to work from home. Such companies had to wait for the emergence of an unfortunate or adverse event to embrace the work from home model. However, not many organizations managed to adapt, but those that adapted stayed afloat even as many others failed and were eventually forced to permanently close their businesses (Harel 93). A key characteristic of the firms that survived through the COVID-19 period is embracing digital transformation, and such firms are still on course with this paradigm and are using it as a guide into the future (Priyono et al. 104). Digital transformation has continued to play a key role pre, during, and post the pandemic period to ensure that businesses achieve a competitive technological advantage.
Aside from the pandemic, generally, firms need to find new ways of working. According to Gartner, efficiency and time are very important in the modern-day workplace. The importance of these two elements is informed by the fact that the workplace and the marketplace are very competitive- with hyper-competition rife between rival brands and firms. Therefore, products need to be developed in record time, and they must be delivered to the market ahead of competitors. Furthermore, customers’ demands can best be served when the company aligns its production processes with customers’ needs (Kumar et al. 163). Additionally, companies specializing in service provision can also benefit from going digital. Doing this would position them to address the needs of a portion of its customers who are digital natives.
Fusion teams can help future-focused teams serve their current and future customers better. According to Galli and Paola (69), fusion teams, just like pirates on a ship, often operate guided by agile culture. There is increased flexibility in the agile culture environment, which empowers employees to adapt to different changes in their working environment. The agility with which employees in fusion teams work is similar to the agile culture aboard a pirate ship. The crew has to change their way of operations depending on the different circumstances they encounter at sea. Agile practices are important as they tear down the bureaucratic practices that hinder workforce from responding to changes in their environments. Some marketplace and workplace changes are more important than any other culture, especially a bureaucratic culture, which would not allow stakeholders to respond fast enough (Rey 77). Consequently, organizations that fail to embrace agile culture will miss out on the opportunities provided by rapid changes in their operating environments.
The agile culture where fusion teams thrive is also an ideal environment for modern-day employees. Unlike traditional employees who thrived in bureaucratic workplaces, the modern-day employee thrives more in environments that promote greater opportunities to team members. Fusion teams do not have formal reporting structure and they come across quite fluid. Team leaders and team members alike could report to either to dedicated IT departments or business areas outside. Fusion teams are often incumbated within Agile project or scrum teams and progressively adopt product management discipline to manage a capability end-to-end, from strategy development to delivery and continuous improvements.
According to Sutton, fusion teams afford employees greater autonomy and ensure that they take personal responsibility and stay committed to the organization. Further, Aghina argues that, unlike the traditional reporting structures that employees were expected to follow when innovating products, fusion teams have the freedom to act without such bottlenecks and innovate following approaches they believe to work best. Additionally, unlike traditional structures where both successes and failures of projects could be traced and attributed to individuals in teams, no single team or individual can be blamed if the innovation fails (Galli and Paola 39). Therefore, the agile culture makes it possible for employees to innovate freely and without the fear of failure.
Fusion teams can help solve the knowledge transfer problem facing many modern organizations. According to Ranjbar and Narjes (232), most organizations suffer from the inability of some employees to share the tacit knowledge they have concerning the processes critical to the organizations’ success. Additionally, the speed at which explicit knowledge is distributed through the organization is slow. Pattnaik and Rashmita believe that the regular engagements and collaborations between employees from different departments within a firm that is seen in flow teams can aid in the transfer and distribution of both tacit and explicit knowledge for the benefit of both employees and the organization (231). Further, the information flow within fusion teams makes it possible for employees to access information that would otherwise be outside their reach.
Fusion teams will continue to contribute positively towards business and organizational success. Such teams operate in ways that are distinct from those of traditional teams. For example, fusion teams encourage employees to innovate while providing them with the space and resources needed. Additionally, employees are allowed to collaborate with their colleagues across departments, making it possible for both tacit and explicit knowledge to flow with ease both horizontally and vertically in an organization. Fusion teams will address the many challenges that employees in traditional teams face. These challenges are the bottleneck of bureaucratic structures that stifle innovation and delay the overall innovation process. By addressing such challenges, fusion teams will ensure that businesses innovate faster and succeed in bringing innovative products to the market before their competitors. Since fusion teams are agile and offer employees a high level of autonomy, it is expected that organizations that embrace them will experience higher employee retention than organizations that stick to traditional teams.
Aghina, Wouter et al. “The Five Trademarks Of Agile Organizations.” Mckinsey.Com, 2022, https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/people-and-organizational-performance/our-insights/the-five-trademarks-of-agile-organizations.
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Rey, Carlos, et al. “Agile purpose: Overcoming bureaucracy.” Purpose-driven organizations. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham, 2019. 75-86
Sutton, Ricky. “How Fusion Teams Will Define The Future Of Business.” Spryker, 2021, https://spryker.com/en/blog/how-fusion-teams-will-define-the-future-of-business/