A few weeks ago I wrote about the value creation plan (VCP), which helps teams keep aligned around what the fundamental value is that your product is creating for users. The VCP helps clarify the lines between what the different purpose is for your business and product, allowing the business to focus on business growth while the product focuses on continuous value creation.
Creating a VCP isn’t enough though. You can create endless documents on strategy, vision, concepts - even roadmaps - but how can you make sure people understand them?
Today I’d like to focus on more practical advice and talk about how to communicate and socialize your plans internally.
Open up information flows
The main purpose behind the VCP, much like your roadmap, vision, and mission - is to make sure that people are making decisions aligned on common value. It’s important, however, to note that just because you created the necessary document and ran an excellent presentation about it, that your job is somehow “done.”
Creating the document isn’t enough. The first step in truly socializing any piece of information in your organization is to ensure the document doesn’t get lost or locked up in some random Google drive folder.
Presenting it is a great first step. Now make sure it is accessible, easy to find, and anyone can refer back to it as needed.
A few things you can try:
- Add it to your company’s wiki
- Include it as part of the company’s onboarding process
- Print it out and put it on an office wall
The important thing here is there are ways to continuously communicate this outside that first presentation meeting.
I’ve heard this argument before: nobody cares.
Is that really the case though? Or is it that we’re simply expecting that ticking the box means the job is done?
It is the responsibility of the product leader to continuously refer back to these strategic documents as often as possible.
You simply cannot expect a document in it of itself to do the whole job for you. Writing words down on a page doesn’t mean the work is done - it means you're only just starting.
Keep sharing. Keep socializing. Keep bringing it up every time you have the chance to do so.
Letting go of assumptions
And this leads us to our last point on assumptions. The biggest assumption we often make is that because the document was presented or referred to a few times, everyone somehow just “gets it” (or at least should get it.)
Different members of your organization have a lot going on within their roles and responsibilities. There’s a lot of context switching and information to take in during the work day. We cannot realistically expect that a presentation, or reading things once or twice, means that everyone is suddenly aligned.
To truly instill the VCP in your organization, repeat yourself over and over again. And once you're done, do it once more!
Open the floor up for questions, comments, and provide a safe space for your team to share their thoughts. Alignment comes from transparency and honesty, not the creation of a document that was never to be seen again.
Most importantly, remember that it is not that you aren’t being heard, it’s that reinforcement of these values are necessary to ensure alignment.