Goal Alignment and XFN Pilots Work Prioritization

Ash Wahi

Head of the Ads Platform at SnapCar



"What I have learned from my experience is that there are many frameworks for figuring out how to prioritize work. For example, in my current role in advertising, we have a few objectives that ultimately go after revenue. Meaning that users come to our platform, they create an ad, they run the ad, and that ultimately affects the revenue. But in each step of that process, various teams across the organization work together towards that goal. So how do we prioritize objectives and create alignment across all the different teams that we function alongside?"

Actions taken

First, we have an OKR process in place. Our team has goals that they are pursuing in the next quarter in order to achieve specified key results. These are initiatives that are prioritized and all other work then hangs off this branch. Everything the team does is directed towards that objective.

Next, we carry out a system of cross-functional (XFN) teams. Folks from different teams that come together and cross-functionally try to work on something - an objective. I've seen this work in some companies, but not all. For example, I've been in a situation where deadlines were compulsory so at no point could anyone contribute to another's goal or some other cross-functional task. Therefore, there should be a culture of working between horizontally organized teams, or create that culture, because not all companies are designed this way. Of course, there are different shades of XFN but in my current role, everyone benefits from working together.

Furthermore, we have a simple alignment on a goal. We gathered the leaders in a room, sat them down, and worked out the doubts and differences until an objective was agreed upon. Then it was much easier to put into action horizontal prioritization. You might hit some setbacks because each team has its own agenda, but the basic intention is alignment.

Finally, it was important that we had buy-in. We needed the support from stakeholders, upper management, fellow leaders, and from our team members in order to have alignment on the objective. The whole of the organization had to be on board with the goals so that work could be focused and prioritized toward achieving the necessary key results.

Lessons learned

  • "There doesn't have to be complete agreement across all the different teams on a particular goal. Aim for there to be at least less ambiguity so that everybody comprehends the fundamental goal. Then I think it is much easier to have people prioritize work that is directed at that objective."
  • "Cross-functioning is a horizontal team that operates parallel to the normal structures that are in place. So there will be an XFN team but also all of the regular team structures."
  • "In my experience, most problems with prioritization and alignment happen when people don't agree on the goals. Often times, too, they agree but the level of urgency is different in people's minds. This set of two conditions must be calibrated or else nothing else will work."

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Ash Wahi

Head of the Ads Platform at SnapCar

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