Teams work in a variety of different styles depending on the type of goal and the method of meeting. It is certainly possible for teams to combine a number of different work styles for optimum productivity, and it is increasingly common for teams of various types to be virtual.
Functional teams are the traditional concept of teams; a group of people from the same work unit gathered together to focus on a shared goal. Functional teams can be either time limited--created for a specific purpose, to be dissolved when the task is completed--or permanent.
Cross-functional teams work differently from traditional teams in that they are not assigned to tasks or projects of a single type, but are assigned to over-arching projects, such as managing every aspect of a client's profile--this eliminates the need for a client's file to be shuffled through different departments. Members of such teams are often from roughly the same hierarchical level, but from different, specialized work areas. Cross-functional teams are typically permanent.
Virtual teams use computer technology to meet and reconnoiter--though physically dispersed--to achieve a common goal. Online and long-distance communication methods allow them to collaborate in real time, often through video conferencing, email and closed forums. Members may be from within one organization or be from a variety of organizations, such as suppliers or joint partners. The absence of nonverbal cues, limited social context and ability to overcome time constraints are the main qualities that differentiate virtual teams from real teams.
Developmental teams are often individuals from different backgrounds who are not assigned a particular problem, but instead tasked simply with creating new products or systems. Developmental teams frequently have less constraints than other types of teams and require access to a wide variety of resources.
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