How to use your team strategy document externally

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In my previous article, I describe a practical way to create a team strategy document using the input of the team.  I recommend the team strategy document (example here) have the following elements:

–The team name

–Who is on the team

–What the team is trying to accomplish/what it produces

–Guiding principles and expectations

–Metrics that rate the productivity and quality of the team

–Business metrics that the team could affect

–The plan for how to meet the metrics that rate the productivity of the team

Now that you have the document, here’s what you do with it.  In today’s post, I’ll focus on the external uses:

1.       Use it as a basis to share with your partner teams and customers

No team works in a vacuum, so if you are armed with a strategy, you can share your strategy with the teams you need to work with to be successful, either the partner teams you receive work from and hand off to, or customers that you provide deliverables to.  Of course you need to customize it for the team you’re meeting with.  Sharing your team strategy will help your partner teams understand what your priorities are, what you can do to help them, and what your team capabilities are.

2.       Use it as a basis for prioritizing work

Now that you have the team strategy in place, any work that comes or opportunities that present themselves should somehow fit within that strategy.  Evaluate the opportunities against the strategy, as well as the reactive or legacy work that comes in.  Many times a meeting invitation comes in where team members with legacy relationships naturally seem to require that they be involved.  So the team member feels compelled to attend the meeting, even if it has nothing to do with the team strategy.  As a manager, you have the ability to say, “No, you don’t have to attend that meeting and take on action items from it because I need you to work on the areas that are our team priorities.”  It gives you a basis to keep your team focused on the priorities that you and your team agreed to.

3.       Use it as a basis for identifying and negotiating work out of scope for your team

If the strategy is to consult with internal groups for new IT implementations, and your team receives troubleshooting calls for existing implementations, these troubleshooting calls don’t seem to be part of your team strategy.  Either make it part of your strategy, or identify where that work needs to go to.  If you are armed with a strategy document, you can better negotiate what your team ought to be doing.  In many organizations, the lack of strategy allows for the ad-hoc work to happen, which is usually reliant on individual relationships and legacy projects.

4.       Use it as a basis for promoting the team’s ability

The team strategy document also identifies what your team is trying to accomplish.  This implies what the team’s skill sets are, and what benefits they provide to your customers.  The strategy document makes an effort at articulating what it is that you can accomplish, and in what time frames.  It helps you create the marketing information about your team, even if your team doesn’t really need marketing.  Think of it as a form of public relations, or PR, for your team.  A great manager should be able to discuss what work you’re working on, and what the achievements of the team are, and the strategy document helps refine that message.  At the minimum, just having bios of the people on your team and what their role is can be an effective launching point for discussion with your partners, customers and upper management.

In my next article, I’ll provide more uses for the team strategy document.

What uses have you had for team strategy documents?  For you management designers out there, how do you encourage your managers to create strategy and execute to the strategy?

Related articles:

Think of managing a team as a set of deliverables

Teams should have a team strategy document. Here’s an example.

How to create a team strategy document—use the team

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About Walter Oelwein
Walter Oelwein, CMC, CPT, helps managers become better at managing. To do this, he founded Business Performance Consulting, LLC .


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