How do I align product decisions with all my different teams?

The hard thing about getting everyone aligned with your product decisions is that every team is biased towards its own objectives and worldview.

But that’s a strength too: You can pool insights from sales, marketing, design, etc. to understand what you really need from each of them to launch your plan successfully.

For example, if you decide to build rating system for your product, your dev team may pipe up and say, “Hey, if we’re going to make that happen, we need to build and test a prototype first.” Your marketing team may say, “We need to find a way to introduce it to users.” And so on and so forth.

What can you do?

  • Be the link that brings different teams together to collaborate on product discussions. When everyone is able to see the big picture – and the different viewpoints that come with it – part of your mediation work is done for you.
  • Make sure that all employee input is securely captured and traced. This way if a particular departmental concern can’t be satisfied by one project or development, you can point to how it is being actioned elsewhere.

How do I get buy-in from my exec team?

The role of your executive team in the minutiae of product decisions depends heavily on your business, its size, and the individuals involved.

Regardless of how interested your executives are in day-to-day product management, these are the people you ultimately have to convince of your vision and decisions to get there. So when they aren’t behind you, this is a product manager’s most crippling challenge.

What can you do?

  • Follow a rigorous and repeatable process to qualify new ideas, whether they come from a customer support rep or the CEO. You must be equipped with reasoned arguments for or against any product decision, and train your executive team to expect the same for their brainwaves too.
  • Make sure your product decisions are grounded in business value. If you’re finding yourself battling your senior team to push back on or push through a suggestion, are you sure you’re taking the right approach? Every product change should reflect a real value to the business – be it customer retention or competitive survival – and you should be collecting the evidence to prove it.
  • Again, be open and transparent on roadmapping. Once aligned with your executive team at the highest level of product strategy, the smaller decisions should be easier to support against this framework.

 

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