Before The Workshore, we worked as an outsourcing and a project management company through which we learned two very different ways to approach the company’s strategy.
Outsourcing was a very top-down approach. Here, our clients laid down a clear strategy. The company’s leaders made a narrower strategy based on the one given by the client. Then the project manager would pass down the project to the engineers. The strategy was simple to understand but contributing to the business individually became very difficult for the engineers.
Project management was a need-based approach. The team members themselves decided their individual responsibilities on the project. The PM picked out their favorite and passed them on to the company’s leaders as their strategy. The leader would further pick their favorite and make them the company strategy. The work would be completed, but it was difficult to connect it to the strategy. Each team member enjoyed a lot of autonomy. However, engineers outside the team thought that it was all planned out. It ultimately resulted in poor quality or delayed project delivery.
At The Workshore, we picked out the best out of both the approaches. A clear plan of action is laid down. Everyone on the team finds a connection between their daily tasks and the company’s mission. And, we also believe that having a team leader closest to the work would influence our direction.
We also feel that having a clear mind about the purpose, plan, and responsibilities guide everyone in the company towards higher productivity. We represent this in the form of a corporate planning cycle. This cycle brings together all aspects of planning into a logical, unified process.
The cycle revolves around our company’s mission and vision. It represents what the team is working towards. Our company’s mission stays consistent over time.
The cycle starts with strategic planning. It simplifies the company’s mission. It doesn’t change much and mostly revolves around developing a plan which makes teamwork effortless. It helps us look at the bigger picture and to know what we want and how we intend to achieve that.
The mission and the strategy mostly stay the same over the time, but the company’s objectives change every year. The Objectives are the goals which we think are strategically important for the company.
One of the most important processes we work on is the “Software prioritization process”. Each client comes up with their own list of expectations that they want from the software. Our team at The Workshore also comes up with a similar list. Both the lists are compared, and the top priority tasks are noted down on common grounds and only then we start working on the project.
We parallelly work on the business outcomes and product roadmaps. If there is a business outcome we think is really important, we consider what work to do to achieve it. The whole team discusses the outcomes together, whether it is a project manager, the engineer or the designer. But it is not an easy task. Many people in the company are not very open about sharing their ideas or thoughts, while others are inappropriately loud. However, we think that it is important to hear everyone’s ideas, but also develop a habit to bluntly say no.
Product roadmaps are set along-side the business outcomes. We consider the product roadmap as a portfolio and we use Trello for this. We create a board with tasks assigned to each member of the team to match it to the objectives. Clients are also added to the board so that there is transparency in how we are working on their project.
We have also integrated Slack to Trello to combine communication and collaboration. By using these tools, we have reduced a lot of clutter in our business.
Once the outcomes and roadmaps are settled, we get to the last phase of the cycle- “key results”. These are the goals that we set up for each project. Each KR has an assignee, a due date, and these are directly connected to the objectives. Everyone will decide their own work and KR and it will be checked to make sure that they match with achieving the objective.
Here’s an example of what all the dots connecting looks like. We were working on a product development for a client and the work was to increase the speed of the product. The work was in service of a KR to increase the speed of the product. And the KR was in service of the objective to make the client happy. The objective was in service of our strategy to make a successful product for the client. And that strategy was in service of our mission of helping mankind succeed by allowing the people in our company to work together effortlessly.
At the Workshore, we are very proud of our product roadmap. The team consistently tells that, because of this, everyone is able to work on the most important things. We have a clear mind as to what are the goals and objectives of the company and why. We always have clarity about what to do and what not to do.
We constantly try to make improvements in the process to make it better. The team tries to find ways to be inclined towards the problems rather than the solutions. We are also trying to find ways on how to incorporate a more long-running team to stay on a project. However, we also try to retain the flexibility to shift a person to the most important task.
How do you build product roadmaps in your business? We would love to know. Just drop us an e-mail at email@example.com.