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The cross-functional agile team playbook

How to avoid waterfall mishaps and build successful product teams

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Deliver results

Increasing digital throughput and building more effective products starts with changes to the organizational structure. From leadership culture to funding models to individual roles and working as cross-functional teams, incremental improvements to output are made with the successful adoption of each. When putting the pieces of the puzzle together, the model works by going from an ambiguous state to one with total clarity.

Establish a cross-functional team. An ideal team size is six to ten members. Any less implies the team is not covering all of the necessary skill sets. More than ten members reduce the team’s ability to communicate and collaborate effectively. Be sure the team remains aligned from start to finish, keeping the product at the center.

Understand the opportunity. Run a Lean Requirements workshop and activities to figure out what to do and why. Include service mapping, ideation, research, and benchmarking as part of this step. Involve the team and stakeholders throughout to build alignment.

Define the outcome. For clarity around the work ahead, create a service map. Establish metrics. Build a product roadmap. Look to the team tasked with building the product to shape the materials. Share findings with stakeholders. Having these elements in place further cements alignment with the cross-functional team building the product.

Build incrementally. Use the build-measure-learn loop. This helps the team remain agile. They can lean into what’s working or learn from and adjust based on what’s not. If necessary, re-workshop to reset. Be tolerant of failure. Build a product in small increments every 3-4 months.

Release to market. All products require ongoing oversight and maintenance. Turn to metrics and data for insight. Evaluate and monitor adoption and retention.

This white paper covered the initial steps necessary in the journey to a truly product-centric organization. For more information, check out our white papers: Five steps to agile transformation and Navigating beyond digital transformation. Both cover different stages of the change management process.

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