Sometimes it feel like the teams we work with speak different languages. You have Sales talking (very fast and quite loudly) about what they need built to close the deals that are in their pipeline. You have Product teams drooling over the advanced features they want to build. And you have Support who wants Product to fix the last three features they built and Sales to stop selling new customers on features that aren’t even built yet.
It’s very difficult to agree on priorities and it’t most often not because anyone is wrong. Even if everyone is right and using the correct framework to determine priorities from their point of view it still doesn’t easily translate into shared priorities. The problem is that every team is looking at the world through the lens of what they do as a team.
What’s needed to break out of this situation is a view that all teams can take part in.
The journey to a shared viewpoint can seem frustrating and long, but it’s not as hard as it may seem. A powerful way to develop a shared framework for what is important, is to start from a shared view of what the customer is experiencing. The customer is where it all comes together. The teams may have different ways to measure the impact of the work they do, but it all has to do with what the customer experiences. So, if we can get to a place where we have a shared outline to refer to, there is much less reason to point fingers at each other.
Journey mapping helps us get there by letting the team work together to understand things like:
- Who the customer is and what they’re trying to achieve.
- What they’re thinking and feeling throughout the experience.
- What else is important to them?
- What else is going on around them that will impact their experience?
The benefits are immeasurable. Frankly, a lot of the improvements in collaboration and alignment between teams comes from just participating in the journey mapping workshop. The conversations it prompts is often what teams cite as the main take-away from the work.
In addition to that, the journey map will serve as a frame of reference, explicitly or implicitly, for the teams going forward. Even in cases where the journey map doesn’t create a clear set of priorities for teams it provides the framework to discuss priorities against. It can help bring somewhat abstract discussions back to something more specific and tangible, linked to the customer. At the very least, even if your teams won’t fully agree on priorities, at least they agree on a framework for discussing what’s important.