Every Cross-Functional Team at $Company works from a similar template, whether they are working on delivering:

Each team starts by defining the following roles, responsibilities, and artifacts:


Team Lead

The Team Lead is the person who is the Directly Responsible Individual for delivery of the objective, and for reporting on progress and issues to the company at large.

They are also known as “Project Lead”, “Rock Lead”, “Rock Owner” etc, depending on the nature of the deliverable/the team.

The Team Lead chairs and coordinates a cross-functional group of Team Members, who together are accountable for the delivery of the objective.

If the Cross-Functional Team is like a mini-company, then the Team Lead is the mini-CEO.

Team Members

The Team Members are helping to ensure the delivery of the objective on behalf of their functional department. They represent:

  1. their functional team (and their boss) within the Cross-Functional Team
  2. the Cross-Functional Team within their functional team

By appointing a Team Member, a functional executive provides them with the authority to make tactical decisions on behalf of the function.

The Team Lead may also represent their own functional team/function as a Team Member, as long as this responsibility comes second to the overall responsibility as Team Lead.

Team Sponsor

The Team Sponsor is the executive initiating and/or championing the project, providing executive oversight to the project team, and reporting progress at the executive level.

The team sponsor is almost always the executive whose (functional) area the project affects most.

Steering Panel

The Steering Panel (or steering committee) consists of the sponsor plus one or more other executives whose (functional) areas are also affected by the project.

The steering panel functions as a subset of the executive team: it takes decisions on behalf of the executive team without requiring the presence of executives whose areas are not affected by the project.

The steering panel also serves as a conflict resolution body, when the team experiences conflicts eg between functional areas that they cannot resolve themselves. It is preferable that the team owner escalates these conflicts openly to the steering panel at large, rather than each team member escalating the issue separately, 1-1, to their own executive. By escalating it to the steering panel, all executives can discuss the issue together and support a resolution that they can all live with.