Multidisciplinary teams

A multidisciplinary team is a team of digital specialists. It allows you to build services quickly and iteratively.

Why we use multidisciplinary teams

Building services in a multidisciplinary team gives users and stakeholders a voice from the start of the process.

Benefits of multidisciplinary teams are:

  • people that used to come in at the end (and often too late to do their best work) have input from the beginning
  • people with complementary capabilities work together at the same time on the same part of the service
  • the team is always responsible for delivery

A multidisciplinary team uses in-depth user research. This helps the team decide what to build and how to deliver it. This means services are:

  • built using user-centred design — developed in iterations and closely with users
  • guided by data and testing — they reflect the actual user journey
  • focused on the end-to-end experience — they are simpler, clearer and faster

Multidisciplinary teams are typically multi-skilled and can work across disciplines.

Meeting the Digital Service Standard

You must work as a multidisciplinary team to meet Criteria 2: Have a multidisciplinary team of the Digital Service Standard.

The Digital Service Standard guides teams to build services that are simpler, clearer and faster.

Multidisciplinary teams make it easier to build services

Traditionally government forms teams around agency structures. This usually works in a linear way. Many teams are responsible for different parts of the service. Specialists often don’t get the chance to work together on creative solutions.

Multidisciplinary teams change this by forming around a problem or service. The team starts with all the right skills to deliver value in increments to meet the user need.

A multidisciplinary team has the capability and skills to deliver the service and the authority to make decisions. The team works independently and minimises dependencies that delay delivery. It is usually small (fewer than 10 members). They are empowered to make decisions, and are often located together.

Finding the right capabilities

You will need to have specific roles and capabilities in your multidisciplinary team before you start Discovery. The same core roles should be in the team in all 4 stages of the service design and delivery process. You may need additional roles for some stages. The team may include Australian Public Service staff, secondees from other agencies and contractors.

A digitally capable team can start working together quickly to build momentum. Team members should have experience working in a multidisciplinary way, or the capability to work in this way. They will need to have the right mindset and skills. They should be open to new ways of thinking and working.

If your team is lacking certain capabilities, consider bringing in a specialist contractor and allowing a team member to shadow and learn from them. Cross-development of skills gives people the ability to work in other roles. For example, a delivery manager may learn how to develop user research plans.

Get in touch

For further information, please email capability@dta.gov.au