Align Product Vision Part 2: Features to Support Larger Teams

Written by: Joey Muething, Align Product Manager

This is Part Two of a Four-Part blog series I’m writing about Align’s product vision and roadmap for 2019.

In Part One I talked about the guiding principles of the Align product and design team. You can find it here.

The next three posts will dive into one of these three areas. This post focuses on the first:

  • Support For Larger Teams
  • Team Contribution and Transparency
  • Insights and Guidance

The More, The Merrier  

Every team member, from the founder to the frontline employee, is crucial to execute your growth successfully. The value you get from Align increases as more of your team is able to execute the same processes. We’ve listened hard to your ideas on how to make Align more useful within larger organizations. These are some of the features we’re looking to build that will allow teams with more complex organizational structures, that operate multiple physical locations, or have more in-the-field employees to use Align more naturally inline with their team’s processes.

Teams should be able to self-organize their planning, priorities and metrics.

Align advocates transparency and open communication. But we understand too that larger companies sometimes need to be able to operate their strategic planning and priority execution in smaller, private groups. This is one of the most common pieces of feedback we’ve received from users, about how we can make Align fit more naturally into their existing company structures.

To handle these cases, we’re developing a “Team Filters” feature. This feature will allow smaller groups to have their own set of strategic planning documents and priorities within the larger company.

These Team-level planning items can be made public and used simply to organize the team-specific work, or they can be made private so that only selected team members will have access to them.

We’re being mindful of keeping the definition of “team” as flexible as possible. You define them and use the filters in whatever way you decide. A few examples we’ve heard:

  • The leadership team can have their own One Page Plan that is private just to them.
  • Each regional office can have their own Critical Numbers set aside for revenue tracking, visible to everyone.
  • A temporary working group set up to explore a new sales opportunity can have its own set of priorities.

All of these are examples that we heard directly from you in conversations and in NPS feedback.

Managing these team-level strategies will be as simple as “tagging” your One Page Strategic Plans, Critical Numbers and Priorities with the appropriate team. You’ll then be able to filter all of your reporting and data at the team level.

As a team grows, they should be able to measure the effectiveness of Align in that growth.

We’ve heard a lot of requests recently asking for more objective measurements within Align to help evaluate how individual team members are contributing to their strategic goals, and collectively how the whole team’s performance improves as they institute better business habits through Align.

We often encourage teams to use Align’s features as the basis for 1:1 employee reviews. We’ve seen a lot of people use Huddles and Priority Progress reporting as the basis for a quarterly meeting between an employee and their manager. We’ve been asked a lot for a more standardized Report Card, that will help managers evaluate how their team members are performing against their assigned priorities.

We’re also going to be improving the Alignment Checklist feature. Team member will be able to provide their own anonymous scores for alignment categories such as “Information moves through the organization accurately and quickly” and “Employees can accurately articulate key components of the company’s strategy”.

Team leaders will see aggregate results over time, so that they can easily see where they can improve team alignment on their growth journey.

Employees should be able to enter relevant information and receive insights on-the-go.

Frontline team members should feel just as empowered to contribute to their team’s strategic growth as company leadership. But, as we keep hearing, these team members are often on the road and only have a short amount of time to make their updates and read up on the rest of the team’s progress. We’re looking at ways to improve the ease with which everyone can update their information and receive updates from Align.

Much of this focuses on improvements to our mobile app.

We recently added spellcheck and improved formatted text entry. We also plan on adding alerts, notifications and meeting summaries, so you’re always aware of what’s going on with your team wherever you are.

Want to Learn More?

Consider this overview just the beginning. If you’re particularly interested in any of the features I mentioned in this post, please let us know so that we can get you more involved. That engagement could take any number of forms:

  • We can have a one-on-one call to talk in more detail, so you can provide more feedback and ask more specific questions
  • I can include you in our update groups. That means when we have scheduling updates, design mockups, or any updated news on features, we’ll let you know first.
  • You could also join our testing groups in order to get early use of a beta version of features.

For our current Align users, any time you have questions, feedback or problems, don’t hesitate to reach out to me or your Align advisor.

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