It´s time to face the facts: Having established cross-functional agile teams is only half of the truth. If an organization has more than one cross-functional team (and that´s pretty likely) it starts to become tricky. Different prioritizations and KPIs, roadmaps that are not aligned and dependencies that nobody is aware of, weakens every organizations´ business agility. In fact, having an agile team established does not mean, that the whole company works in an agile manner. The lack of transparency about current and planned initiatives across teams slows the organization down due to the inability to react fast to potential blockers. Insufficient interaction and collaboration across teams, lead to the inevitable: cross-functional silos.
On top of that we have agile teams that did their best to create value for customers – for their particular part of the product. However, we need to send them “on a mission” to achieve a certain overarching goal to make an impact. It´s harmful to keep them working within in their “cross-functional silo”, instead it´s crucial to define a clear mission that a team is commonly working towards.
Take a Bird´s Eye Perspective
Once we understood that product value works like an orchestra, we can dedicate our energy to spark off the greatest symphony. The best philharmonic orchestra won´t sound as great if only violins play. Every piece of the orchestra has to come together and play in the same rhythm to provide you with an unforgettable firework of classic music. In our product world that means to take a step back and look at the bits and pieces that need to be connected to create a holistic customer experience. We need to understand that our end customers do not care about internal structures and team set ups. However, they will (unconsciously) notice when they use a product that was built by teams that do not work closely together. You can solve this by overlooking your product portfolio from a higher level. Product portfolio management is a great way to ensure that teams are able to remove impediments through direct communication. Strong connections and focus increases productivity. And through better coordination, transparency is created over the whole value chain.