Think of managing a high quality project for a leading tech company like Google or Apple in the same way that leading soccer clubs like Bayern Munich or Real Madrid manage their teams.
As managers, we assign roles based on individual strengths and passions to bring out the best in our employees. Frank Ribery, one of the best players in the world, can play many positions, from winger, to striker, to center midfielder. Bayern Munich is loaded with terrific midfielders and forwards. Therefore, Ribery is most often used as a winger where his top skills (speed and creativity) can be best utilized. He is not asked to defend as much as generate goal scoring opportunities.
In soccer, same as in tech management, it is very important to allow people to grow into greater responsibilities or switch to different roles depending on the person's interests and the needs of a project. Real Madrid's top defender, Sergio Ramos, played as a central defender and even a defensive midfielder when it was required, but enjoyed and excelled at the right back position where he scored many goals. Similarly, Gareth Bale progressed from a defender to winger to striker as his goal scoring improved for his clubs.
Cross-functional projects are similar to balancing club and international soccer teams. Soccer managers try to balance the goals of both clubs and nations (e.g. keep players from playing too much and risking injury, or benching them for one game to be well rested before a more important one). It is exactly the same with a tech project when we try not to force too much overtime for an employee with a large commitment to another project. We strive to use that employee's time sparingly so that we can keep good relationships with other managers and not burn people out.
Tech employees and soccer players both benefit from their managers' support and belief in their success. Arjen Robben has had terrible few years by 2012. His club and national teams lost multiple finals with Robben playing well, but missing a golden chance in the World Cup 2010 Final against Spain and then a crucial penalty kick in the 2012 UEFA Champions League Final against Chelsea. Most soccer fanatics thought Robben was done then, his confidence shattered. Many had wondered why he'd been given so many chances already. Yet, Bayern Munich coach stuck with him and Robben was pivotal the following year, scoring the game-winning last-minute goal in the 2013 UEFA Champions League Final.
We need to do the same with talented tech employees - give them confidence to grow so that they strive to be the best they can be, not afraid to make mistakes. If people are afraid to err, they will always be subpar, thinking about not failing instead of succeeding. I was fortunate to have held the confidence of upper management throughout my career and I have done the same with my subordinates who always rewarded my trust by delivering amazing results.
Believe in your team and they will reward you!