In large companies, organisational design may not reflect the product you’re building. As much as you try to align people to well-bounded problems, as soon as problems reach advanced maturity there will inexorably be distributed expertise and capability across the company. In such scenarios, teams working on the same domain from different angles may have different priorities, which is healthy, yet it may turn into a problem. People and capacity are finite, and planning cycles are time-bound, so it probably resonates how easy it may be to find yourself in a situation where the work you’re trying to prioritise depends on others but there’s a mismatch in appetite between you and the partner teams you work with.
In circumstances of low leverage, it may feel like it’s hard to get to the outcome you want, but doing so is an invaluable skill, especially for staff+ folks and managers. Not “shipping the org chart” is more than desirable, it’s a latent need.
What generates low leverage situations
When collaborating on priorities, some of the common issues are:
Lack of alignment on broader-level prioritisation. Teams have their own prioritisation which makes sense within the context, but can’t align with a partner team on what is more important (the work without a dependency or the one within the domain itself);
Mismatch in planning cycles or iterative discovery. Planning cycles may not align, e.g. quarterly vs bi-annual roadmapping. Or discovering a large opportunity as consequence of research/understand type-of-work during the half.
Increase in scope and lack of resources within the team. Requirements change either because of internal or external reasons and you no longer can meet timelines which incur into missing a deadline.
How you can prevent it
// How to influence partner team prioritisation through systems thinking: can you justify somehow how the work you do will improve their overall north star metrics, or benefits their vision?
- Team A: Increase adoption of businesses through web surfaces;
- Team B: Convert businesses derived from all surfaces;
- Team C: Retain businesses using the
What to do when you are on that situation
- Align on what matters
- Understand the blockers
- Fill the gaps
- Disagreeing without conflict (clean escalations)
Clean Escalations: people are afraid of disagreement. They should be worried with conflict which doesn’t reach conclusion. To be decisive, frame the problem, agree on the cleanest representation of reality with the partner team and push it up the reporting line. Easier under the same broader org, still feasible across orgs. __