4 - How to align stakeholders & product teams?

Set team goals and principles, then bring everyone together with written artifacts, frequent feedback, and communication.

Why It’s Important

An aligned organization goes further than a single team or individual ever can. Goals that lack a clear rationale, or are not communicated in a way that fosters alignment, will result in products that do not address the needs of users and stakeholders. 

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How to Use This Principle

Use artifacts and data to communicate goals and drive adoption of them. Listen to stakeholders as their perspectives may reveal issues that might have been overlooked. Develop your emotional intelligence to lead your stakeholders, team members, and partners to adopt your goals as if they were their own.

Real-life application by Bani Malhotra, Director of Product at Walmart

I had the opportunity to build and define a toolkit for stakeholder management for myself and my team when I joined Curology as Head of Product, where I oversaw the entire Product Management, Analytics & Lifecycle teams. The company had seen tremendous growth year on year and had expanded from a few hundred to close to seven hundred people, including new and expanded stakeholder groups. 

That meant that there was a clear and growing need to accommodate and align across various teams. I advocated for and introduced the Product Review process at Curology, which turned out to be a great way to collaborate, align, and enable quick & transparent decision-making. It helped our product teams build trust and support stakeholder needs better across the company. 

In addition to the product review format, I also initiated more intimate monthly stakeholder team meetings and one-on-ones with functional leads. They were both great ways for our team to build solid relationships and establish an excellent cadence with our stakeholders to understand their goals, pain points, etc. Lastly, never forget to advocate for your functional teams. Building empathy for your internal stakeholders (just as you do for your customers) will motivate you to create forums, build relationships, and establish processes that make them feel heard and drive effective collaboration!

How to prioritize and ensure tactical execution?

Work backward from goals, align on prioritization frameworks to support decision making, and set clear boundaries based on resourcing realities.

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Principle Five - Product Manifesto

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