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Turn Your TEAM ALIGNMENT Into A High Performing Machine

Updated: Aug 1, 2022

Per Atlassian, employees spend 31 hours a month in unproductive meetings, and the salary of unnecessary meetings for the United States is $37 Billion! Imagine how much time and money you could save by reducing unnecessary meetings.


If I were to present one component that influences the product team's success, it would definitely be good communication between the team and stakeholders.


And while a lot of material is devoted to communication with stakeholders and users, not much is said about communication in the team and why it is so important. So let's dive deep into what team alignment is and what tools can help you increase one.


What is Team alignment?


Team alignment is all about your product team or individual team members working towards the same goals and vision and having a shared understanding of objectives.


Team alignment helps to understand team members contribution, risks, or communication approaches. If your team is not aligned, most probably they are working towards different goals and outcomes.


This means that to achieve a high-performing and productive team - having team alignment is a must.


Product or project team alignment


Alignment is critical for the product or project teams to ensure efficient work. Failing in team alignment might cause development delays, misalignment of requirements, or poor quality work.


There are 3 key areas where team alignment is necessary:

  1. Organization setup: Each team member will have a different experience and organizational culture background. Ensure your team understands your organization's vision, culture, and teamwork principles.

  2. Goals: Align scope and expectations, as well as the definition of success.

  3. Process: Product and project teams must align on delivery processes. Some of the key areas to align on:

    1. Roles and Responsibilities

    2. Workflow & Methodology

    3. Deadlines and timelines (incl. measurement units)

    4. Communication & Reporting flow


Let's review tools that will support team alignment.


Tools for team alignment

Team Alignment Map (TAM):

Team Alignment Map or TAM is a tool by Stefano Mastrogiacomo that helps teams increase alignment, shared understanding, and trust. RAM is extremely useful for planning and assessing how well team members understand goals and commitments.


Let's review key components and steps to properly held Team Alignment Session:


  1. Open a TAM template - Stefano Mastrogiacomo created a great TAM template on Miro, so you are free to start the alignment of your team.

  2. Add Mission - explain the purpose of the Team Alignment session (e.g. Onboard project management tool for product delivery).

  3. Provide Period - deadline or timeframe for a mission to be achieved (within 2 months)

  4. Fill Joint Objectives - together with your team, break down into action points what needs to happen in order to achieve the mission within a given period.


5. Identify Joint Commitments - simply put specify who is doing what.

6. Joint Resources - help the team to understand what they need to achieve the mission.

7. Joint Risks - now is the moment to sit down with your team and understand what possible risks you might face as a team. Once risks are identified, they are moved to joint objectives as action points to be solved.

Ideally, there should be no risks in the last column by the end of this session. However, this might not always be possible. If this is the case, make sure we align with your team often to ensure you won't run into a ribbit hole.


By the end of the session, ask your team for a confidence score on how well they are aligned and confident about Joint objectives, commitments, resources, and risks.


The Fact FINDER:

The Fact Finder is another great tool introduced by Strategyzer and, thanks to the dialog based on facts, helps build clarity and understanding between the team. This tool introduces 5 communication traps - Assumptions, Generalizations, Limitations, Judgments, and finally, Incomplete Facts or Experiences. Each of these areas would have clarification questions that will help participants go away from personal interpretation toward shared understanding.


You can find a template here.


Objectives and key results (OKR):

So-called OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) is an amazing tool that helps put ideas and visions into real action points. OKRs can increase team alignment by setting them on 3 levels:

  • Team OKRs -

  • Department OKRs

  • Company OKRs


A key focus of setting OKRs on these 3 levels is:

  • Setting proper focus to make sure that teams concentrate on what is the most important

  • Enable transparency and ensure better communication flow

  • Better track of progress

  • Increase productivity by making sure teams and organizations spend time on what matters the most


Open-ended questions:

Open-ended questions (those that are not finishing with a yes or no answer) are very efficient while holding conversations with your team members. See the difference:


Yes or No: Are you happy with provided designs?

Open-ended: What do you like and dislike about provided designs?


Yes or No: Can we deliver this by next month?

Open-ended: What could be feasible to be delivered for next month?



ROLES & RESPONSIBILITIES or RACI matrix:

After years of project management, I came to the conclusion that the most common problem of project failure is a lack of clarity around roles and responsibilities within a team.

Roles and Responsibilities Matrix or RACI Matrix will save you and your team from confusion about a key component of projects - people.


If you don't want to make it too complex or your team is small and doesn't require RACI, just make sure you are aligned with the key responsibilities of your team members. I had often seen situations when Product Owners or Stakeholders did not fulfill their duties because they did not know they were among them.


It never hurts to set expectations with your team!



single source of truth (SSOT):

And last but not least, a single source of truth (SSOT) - is usually a platform or document that stores general, vital, and essential information about your team, product, or project. Remember that if something is clear for you, it doesn't mean clear to everyone. Having SSOT will help onboard new team members and avoid unnecessary meetings with an existing ones since there is always a place to search for answers.


If you decide to move on with SSOT, secure each section with owner to ensure that sources are up to date.



Share how you reduce the number of meetings and increase team alignment.

Have you got any questions? Contact me at contact@scandido.com

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