DOWNLOAD the template to your desktop before filling it in.
The purpose behind the Team Alignment Template is to compile all the things that bring clarity to an engagement. The completed template can deliver the project direction to the whole team identifying the following as it relates to the project:
What will be the basis for decision-making and interactions amongst team members and stakeholders.
What long-term goals the team has
What specific targets need to be accomplished
An understanding of who the team is intended to serve.
- What themes of delivering business quality will be prioritized in what order
Teams utilize the completed template in various was, such as:
- Give a printed copy to each team member (laminate it, print on cardstock....anything to make it "stand out")
- Print it and post it in high traffic areas of your office
- Include it in onboarding materials for new team members
- Refer back to it throughout the engagement when posed with big questions to determine if the team is still "on the right track"
WHEN TO USE
- Create the Team Alignment Template as your team assembles to tackle a new project
- If your team's work has already begun, take the time to pause and complete the Team Alignment Template. Going through this exercise will bring all team members back on the same page.
- Regularly reference the Team Alignment Template when establishing any "next steps" that the team might be taking.
- Revisit the Team Alignment Template annually to reestablish any areas that might need to be modified and bring everyone back on the same page.
Download the template and populate the fields using the guidelines below.
Having a team name gives your team an identity with shared purpose and expectations. Team names provide a sense of camaraderie across team members. When individuals come together under a team, they strive to push the entire team to perform and thus drive accountability. Because each team member understands that the entire team is striving towards a common purpose, the team members will typically make more effort to communicate better, share knowledge and feedback, and support each other to accomplish the shared goal.
Take the time to name your team.
Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing are a team's stages of development that were developed by Bruce W. Tuckman in the mid-1960's. Being able to identify the stage your team is in creates opportunity for team leaders to identify and understand a teams behavior in order to maximize process and productivity - helping your team to move faster. When a project is getting started, it is possible that the first 3 stages can happen extremely quickly. However, don't be surprised if the team jumps back to different stages at different times.
- Forming - Putting the team together. Team members feel excited, ambiguous and conflict is typically avoided at all costs due to the desire to be accepted by the whole group.
- Storming - People start to push against established boundaries. Friction or conflict can arise between team members as they become more comfortable with each other and their preferred ways of working surface and potentially clash with others.
- Norming - People are creating new ways of working together as the team develops cohesion. The need to trust each other becomes evident.
- Performing - Personal needs are now second to the team's needs. The team begins to focus on a shared goal and find ways to solve any problem that comes up.
Identify your team’s purpose. It states WHY your team exists. It states what your team will be doing for the company in a clear and concise fashion that provides guidance around what is in scope for your team to execute. The purpose should provide your team with guidelines of what is included in the scope, specifically defining who.
- Will the team be putting out an entirely new software system?
- Are the team be modernizing antiquated systems?
- Is the team stabilizing existing systems?
- Will the team be learning new technology?
- How is this team prioritizing moving fast, delivering quality, or providing stability?
- The purpose reveals what business objectives will be met.
- The purpose clearly describes what will be delivered and in what time frame
- The purpose specifically describes what objectives are intended to be accomplished
- The purpose indicates the teams main focus on speed, quality or stability (without sacrificing the others)
- Maximize fundraising and minimize work for the staff of county fairs.
Values establish a compass for how the team will make decisions. Values should be evident in the communications and character of each of the team members and be the expectation for team engagement.
Questions to Ask:
- What character traits resonate with our core purpose?
- What characteristics should be applied when establishing the "rules of engagement" for communications?
- Describes the characteristics that should be portrayed by every team member
- Details the standards to which team members will be held accountable in all aspects of engagement
- Unites behavior across the team
As much as you can envision at this point in time, where do you think your team should be in a three-year timespan? Make your goal a SMART goal.
- What does the team plan to achieve in three years?
- How will these goals be measured?
- How does the team plan to achieve it?
- What does the team look like in 3 years?
- How many users will be using the system in 3 years?
- How much business will be flowing through the system in 3 years?
- What technology will be implemented and used at the end of 3 years?
- What operational efficiencies will the team have achieved?
- What is the "people make-up" of the team?
- The entire leadership team believes in the 3-year goal
- Have measurable fundraising improvements with minimal help desk support required
A target is a specific mark to aim at. It is established as the expectation and the purpose of each team leader to equip and guide their team to reach the target in the most effective manner. The target should associate with aligning the team around the business objective being achieved. 1-Year Targets are short enough to allow leaders to get specific so that team members can visualize how their workload fits into the big picture. Every person should take ownership to align their work with the target. Every person should take ownership to align their work with the target. A 1-Year Target allows team members to rally together - all moving in the same direction. Targets identified should be SMART: Strategic. Measurable. Attainable. Realistic. and Time-Bound.
What objectives do we need to achieve this year to make progress towards our 3-Year Goals?
What features do you intend the team to have in production at the end of 1-year?
At what rate does the team need to be pushing features to production?
What is an acceptable number of bugs identified during each reporting period?
The target is specific enough to allow for more effective planning
The target is measurable and trackable
The target is challenging but possible
- Increase self-service capabilities dropping help tickets per customer by 50%
Stakeholders are the individuals that are defining the business objectives to be met and paying for the software delivery.
- Who is the main stakeholder of the system?
- Who is investing in the system and why?
- What value do they seek?
- What expectations do they have?
- Stakeholders are identified
- Reporting to Stakeholders through a regular communication cadence has been setup
- Executive Sponsors
"Customer" is best defined as the individuals that the team is serving. A customer is defined as the "end user" for whom the hardware or software product is designed. The customer is the individual(s) or business(es) that will utilize the product being created.
What value do they seek?
What expectations do they have?
What does the customer want?
How will they access the system?
How many customers will be accessing the system in a given time-frame?
Will the customers be accessing the system one time or multiple times?
- Customer acceptance has been described in a way that team members know what defines success
All themes should be about the features being delivered to the customer. Strategy is identified by the Software Architect bringing clarity to what features will be rolled out in a designated order. Helping the team understand what will be done next, the progression of the engagement and when it will be appropriate to tackle specific features and issues, helps to empower each member of the team and properly prioritize work. Each theme should have an estimated completion date provide a high level overview of goals. It should be noted that the estimated completion dates are only estimates.
The backlog of work to be completed will consist of the specific ways each theme will be completed. Each issue / card that sits in the backlog can be tagged with the appropriate theme to assist in the prioritization of cards. Forecasts generated from the weekly scorecards combined with the work done during a backlog review can assist in honing in on actual completion dates as the engagement continues.
Each week - a scorecard will be reviewed to assess where the engagement is in the process. Compare the scorecard to where you want to be. If a metric is not where it should be in order to meet the 1-year target, then work needs to be done to meet that target. Themes can be used to narrow down the plan.
- What will we do in order to drive towards hitting the 1-year target?
- When we complete one theme, what theme will the team work on next?
- What are the goal completion dates to consider?
- Does one phrase or sentence capture the intent of feature rollouts?
The list only has a handful of themes.
Each theme consists of one phrase or a concise sentence to capture the intent of the feature rollouts.
The themes have been listed in the chronological order that they need to be completed.
- Each theme has an estimated completion date.
- Revenue generation
- Loss prevention
- Support minimization
- User experience
- Self-sustaining product