How to Achieve Alignment across Diverse Teams and Cultures


How to Achieve Alignment across Diverse Teams and Cultures

Continuous Discovery

Many teams are globally distributed which can lead to alignment challenges. Differences in language, timezone, culture and norms can all lead to costly misunderstandings. In this talk, Phuc explains how teams can improve their understanding of the differences in teams and deliver better alignment.

Hi my name is Phuc, I work as senior product owner for online payments at live payments, which I will introduce you a bit later. For today contains the topic today we will be how to achieve alignment across diverse team and culture with some tips and tricks. So let's start with some information about my company live payments. So, you will see about the diversity in my company's culture.

About Live payments, Live payments established in 2006 in Australia, live payments view and provide payment solution for SME and the taxi industry. Just for your record, all the opinions and thought expressed in this material are solely marked and do not necessarily reflect the opinion and belief by company.

Some statistics about Live Payments, Live payments have his national presence and operation over 16 years. We process 1 million transactions per month and processing 1.5 million charges per annum. We operate in over 10,000 payment device like EPOS machines in Australian market. We also do some lending and we originated up to now at 200 millions for SME business. About our company club presents. We are Australian National presents operating in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. We also have a couple offices in Clark from the Philippines where we have the customer service team, the sales team finance and application team. We also have office in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam where our IT department teams wise. For me I am an SPO for online solution and I work 100% remotely in Hanoi Vietnam, 2000 kilometer from Ho Chi Minh City.

You know that remote working with diverse cultures can be very challenging. Why? Because you have a difference timezones, we have a different culture, we have a different market practice, and even the definition of success is different. That led to the very big question, how to make a good Corporation. Then here are some tips and tricks for you to quick onboarding to a new company.

Tip number one, know your partner culture. Let's start with some things that you should never miss number one the time zone, number two is the holidays I mean the public holidays of a country and number three is what to do and not to do in country. Like they just have something taboo or something you need to learn to avoid those things. That is to know and then what is to do, yes. Let us set up your calendar with all the timezone and holiday accordingly I will show you how.

Trick number one timezone, yeah, open up your Microsoft Outlook calendar apps, everyone's use that too and then try to book recurring meeting in advance so you can avoid the inability of your partner. For me, I had a timezone of Sydney and Manilla so I know that Oh, I shouldn't have booked a meeting somewhere now because it's lunchtime in Sydney so everyone tired at this time. That is a good example. For non recurring meeting and with so much differences in timezone you can do the same but there are some tools this is okay, you don't use Microsoft Office. Like you can google timezone meeting planning.

You can see that to my right hand, the red one is not the good one, right? So the green one, and the yellow one needs some time that fit to everyone. So those are my two, very helpful.

Let's go to trick number two holiday, okay? So just simply add your holidays for your own country related to your works into your Microsoft calendar. You go to the calendar, simply choose the country. And you'll see in my example. Oh, I can see, hey, this is the holiday in Australia and this is holiday in Vietnam, for example. So maybe people was not in the office, when we are at home, celebrating with the family, so do not book meeting on those day. The other thing is through modelling, you should remember to learn and share the meaning of a holiday to your colleges. So I learned about your culture. So that's a good start for the various, it's repeating.

Let's go to tip number two. Align the way of working Yeah, align the way working this is very big topic. So every contour every company has a difference. Why you're working? Number one, company vision and target customer. Why is it important company vision? Yeah, you should know where the market share that your company focused on and it is me customer or retail customer or seven priorities segments customer. So it's very important to because everyone should share the same reason and the same view on where to market share and targeted customer. So that leads to the same understanding. Otherwise, everyone thinks in very different ways and the way you make a decision on any source and these are varied.

Number two is roles and responsibility within the company. Yeah. So this mean what in organisation, this is very simple and seem not a big deal, right? However, in the roles and responsibilities are very high to increasing now, the company structure enroll responsibly becomes loosely and varied. For some other case, I see that as for very complex structure, it's very hard to remember who does what. So think very normal, like who I should talk to when I need, so why I need that person. So this is a no advice on a source. And yeah, it's like a lot of time when you first come to our company. And you should know and you should never forget because when your output your product doesn't go to market everyone will use your solution for example, you are an IT person, you make a solution and then some staff in the operation team when if that so without knowing that there's some advice from operation team. There are some very some defects on your solution and that you are not aware.
The third one is a success metric. Yeah, again, when after you know the company vision, you know who do what, in a company and the nice thing you should know is of understanding stakeholder expectations. So CEO might think about the market share, CFO might think about the incomes and costs or some one in like a COO cares about how to operate successfully and effectively. So its stakeholders have different expectation. And this varies from his company. So you had to know those things when you get some new solution.
The next one is about finalization of the project. Why I'm not talking about delivery because one of the reason why is because everyone talking about the delivering a project, how do we that the PMP or jazz so many methodology, but I see in practice the finalization of project like to reveal it. Why we success? Why we delay sometime and what is the key learning and how to share with other project team, is normally at the end of the project everyone is tired, and it's take less tension. So the learning of those projects is very helpful for the company to grow further. So finalization of the project or even some close of the previous because you can learn a lot from that like learning the exploitation cycle for example. Yeah, success metric meaning the KPI, and other important metric. So, it's a pain. So, for a start maybe at the very beginning, you cannot expect a big revenue, big income. So it's some way maybe the market share is big target. So, do now and to achieve this is very important to know.

What to do, okay? Live the way working meaning for me is number one is to listen, respect and share differences you cannot know anyone from different culture or country. They're from different country in one day, right? Because simply the that is not the environment you live.

So number one, try to listen to any differences that your colleagues share and respect for the differences and even after that we can share, this is my thinking. Why do this market, why assess my market and let's talk about how to gather close the differences and reach agreement. To do that, number one, you should have some room, you should have some room. Align the way we came meaning that you have some basic rules, don't create complicated rules. So for example, very simple rule like no meeting during lunchtime or holiday of course, right? The second one is trying to keep the meeting short and maximum 60 minute typically 30 minutes like everyone rush and it's a very good meeting, 30 minutes I feel very good meeting.

And the last one is for agile working we have a retrospective session. So anything you together agree on those stress and I call it a grief rules like any other agree rule following the retrospective session advice to follow.
So let's go to trick number three, organises and tracks this is an illustration of my extended screen where I take a screenshot of the very big structure. So this is yes for your information. This is of course not my real company structure. So this is just a picture. But this is so we show you how convenient it is. For example, you can work in one computer for the standard you can just put in the background so it will not take you time to find that photo in your document. So that is my choice. And I feel it's very useful to remember everyone and even someone you seldom talk to.

Next, okay. As the world’s agile adoption is increasing, company structure and role and responsibility become unique. For this I mean for my experience, I see that it's commonly have a very unique role and responsibility. Even we call it the same title like work owner, but the definition of product owner in each company is a little bit different from the other. Yeah, the following case in my current company, and it is 100% different from my previous place. Even though we adopt the agile approach even we both adopt the agile approach.

Yeah, just for your information’s I'm looking for live payment now, and my previous position is in three other binaries with my 15 years earlier so, I see so many differences. So, this is the introduction and suggestions for Product Management, okay? Other top you can have Product Director, P. So, what the director would be in charge of business objectives. That means, all the activities that facilitate alignment, a priority and goals. So, some highlight is overarching goals, high level priority and initiate the roadmap. The second role is product manager, Product Manager PM is not project managers just for your information. Product manager will be in charge for product strategy and when he or she will provide clear plain for live payment to my company to reach people. Product Manager will be the owner product B. Personnel costs, personnel should be based on your target customer or the personnel of the whole world and the whole market what the product may check like for example, the success metric and the product roadmap.

The third role is product owner, the product owner is someone focused on the delivery. There is a meanings to try and support in delivering values to customer. You can ask me this is more of management. So, why is not delivering the product to your customer? Right? Yeah, that should be a very good question. Because now, in the new modern world, what we want to do is not selling what we have, we're selling what meaningful to customer. So, what the most meaningful to customer, we call it the value. The product owner time equally managing the product backlog, design experience feature roadmap, release planning and agile delivery. So, you can see this is the whole product management lifecycle. We're framing create a vision, identify a problem and define success. Research design to pilot launch and measure. So, this is where the classic products measuring lifecycle.

You can see to the left either some of the detail work for the product manager, on the right is some detail work for the product owner. For example product manager when they do the orientation product roadmap by this one, the name load feature matrix and do some SWOT analysis, some FBV is analytic which I will talk about to see detail later. To right is you will see the roadmap for example this is a giant map you can go up and down do some enhancements or new feature, yeah, put up on a year everyone talking about screen and yes it's a product on the road to monitoring the window chat. For example my window chat look very good way. So product owner can be the one who manage all the relays matching with the product roadmap in terms of the timeline, anything priorities with the bite lab with less than three months for to the product owner. Anything for maybe three or maybe not typical or six months for six months half a year's priority for six months and longer won't be the role of product manager.

The other question I often being asked by my colleagues is how the PO and PM work together. Yeah, so the product director often have a schedule synced up with the PM and PO. But PM and PO are often what's my two buttons, screen and iteration. Some commonly use iteration. So one can concerting to screen or some with a larger screen, typically two weeks. So product manager should know what to do and what costs we focus on the role. Hey, after the two weeks work, and the goal is reached, we need to wait for six weeks, meaning three sprint, for example. Product Owner will be the one who make sure the delivery will be on time and the outcome ratio for the value that desire for.
Okay, that's in general information. So, let's go to trick number four, I hope you can apply this. So setup rules and agreement. Yeah, before doing that, please keep in mind that this agreement naturally confers until your team reach agreement and it often takes a lot of time to reach an agreements. Across all the company I work for this agreement Yeah, naturally converse. I see it all the time. So, the trick is instead of trying to protect you, to protect your idea, so trick is to try your team to share and agree on any principle and common rule first, because if you are not in the same criteria, there is no top, okay? Then the whole team use the principle rules to reveal this agreement and all the answers in it together, okay. With the note that instead of trying to prevent your idea or your solution or try to find a weakness of others option only. And do not try to allow one specialists to ignore the wisdom of team.

Just to bring up okay, what is the principle? What is a common rule? We should set up those things, otherwise very, very hard to reach an agreement. I don't want to ask you a question to for thinkings. Number one, have you ever heard a question like it within your team? Some might say, why would we do this? Or some might say, well, it's so urgent or why so high priority? I don't think so. I think the other thing is our high priority. Yeah, let me say why not? Another word around this is also hard to achieve something like that. And the other say, Hey, can we make it on time? Somebody say, Oh, I think I can develop it. But the other said, maybe you can do but the testing is longer. So a lot of these agreements from X person's view. So there should be some condition for example, maybe they will say hey, it's easy, I can make it a five day work. This wouldn't be finished. But the tester might say hey, if you finish after Friday, I cannot finish the test saying you've drilled we need in for a only that's the maximum time I can afford for example.

So, number one is to not protect your idea only to say the principle and common rule. You will ask me how? Okay. So, to make rule and agreement, I mean to make rules and agreement will be easily applied to save discussing times. And here are some suggestions on how to do this.

In my product owner life, I see the define the product priority is something that a lot of arguments. So, today I bring this to the discussion, defining product priority. So, number one, you should agree on a set of criteria and priority based on the impact or output, it is backlog about the legal and compliance, we should be number one, why the company should not be fired for some incomplete things. Number two is business continuity. So, for example, if you don't do this, the whole business stop, for example, so I'm going to go and try a spy, you need to replace this with new one, usual ocean when take over the one so that was the backlog we should be number two priority.

Number three, yes, we leaving in the modern world of the customer at the center of all the plan. So the customer satisfaction should be number three, very high level. Yeah, the thing is about this technical enhancement and stability. For example, without upgrade some your customer may not be able to use the source anymore. For example, you have some minimum requirements from Google or Apple, why you need to update it otherwise your app will not be posted on the app store for example. So that is something you should be mindful, sometimes you see that there's an outage with your system stability, so you should not let it happen for so long.

Number five, this is go plan or something considering. Yeah, when we satisfy the customer, of course, we never leave the company business plan. That's a very important. Number six is by all the data enhancement. This is my advice to everyone because now it's very easy to copy a product or feature of a sub solution. But it's never you can never copy the knowledge of someone can have a copy your knowledge on your own customer. So, the trick is you need to do the data enhancement to have more insight on your customer, what is the most value to your customer segment? In your company you target in this segment, the other company targeting another segment. So someone tried to copy your feature might not work with their different segments. So how to know your customer? That should be based on data, data can do to the customer review, some collection with data tracking tool like Google Analytics hit that takes that adopt so many tools in the world now helping you to do the data enhancement.

So, that should be some category and some priority order. So, when you apply the backlog, you'll see hey, I do 30% for business continuity, 40% for customer satisfaction. So, it's a lot much easier to align on the priority of the backlog. So, the next thing is with flow to easily, that is the basic criteria. Now I can lead you to the next advanced variation. So after having that, whatever your criteria you should go back and align with your company product vision. For example, business continuity. So, if you cannot sell product because your supplier or something contract will expire and you select Go some customer. So you will say that maybe your company visa needs to focus most on something else and do not wish to continue that visits by. So, that is the level of the company or product region. So, you should know, the priority of the business continuity and maybe do the customer satisfaction up with, I mean, the higher priority.

Number two is a set apart to a criteria category, for example, customer satisfaction, but not all the backlog at the same level why some based on a score a grade 100. For example, some maybe 80% impact or the other maybe 20% the customer so, you can say at some point to those categories, so later you saw everything by points only falling or maybe you said a 200 or 300. So that make sure that it always be on top, for example.

Number three allow data to drive your decision. That drive and is now industry will practice. You can use some free tools like Google Analytics to track gain, how your customer, maybe your mobile application, for example. So you can see the drop rate, hey, so this allow the customer login and do this, maybe it dropped to 80% of the people who do the first feature and may drop to 50% of the people of the customer who make the successful transaction. So what happened with that 30% Why you make some analysis and see, hey, this would be the big priority on this stage, for example.

Another high level analysis is FDV analysis to make a decisions must advise in this because it's a simple and it's balanced everything, FDV we have a viability. Yeah, that is the business requirements to make sure that by law we have the company where our desirability so you can translate it as a quantity the needs of the customer. We also have the one need the feasibility. So, what are you the soldier in and do you have enough resource to achieve this thing, there should be a sweet spot of the three circle. So, viability is a business desirability represent the customers need and visibility's will represent the technology in operation human resource meaning the project team, for example, try to balance.

Another example of the use of this model is viability. Okay. Legal compliance or a CFO might set some target for viability. Somehow you find that it's not visible. So in this area, but somehow you find that desirability, the customer want it, that's its market very popular in the market feature, a very popular feature in the market. So you see it now feasibility and might get close to this so maybe the next thing is to purchase some new solutions for example, okay. When your team knows , when we decide the next solution, we should consider a does this satisfy the business, the resources that bring some value to customer. And yeah, yes, we possible to do it so it's a little bit more easy to reach the agreement on this sweet spot.

Times up, let's go to the summary on how to achieve alignment across diverse team and culture. To her my presentations. I have some notes here. Number one, he tried to book some recurring meeting when it's before the iteration your iteration of the sprint. So everyone will not have duplicate meeting. Number two is to review the screen work and success metric on a very regular basis and should be in a separate meeting. The review sprint and the success metric been meaning, you see the very short term, it might be two weeks this assessment should be in review in another meeting like hey, after we do in this format, is this we reach our goal?

Number three is to practice more constantly listen to your teammates is see you and make adjustments during the retrospective session. Like what I have mentioned, the very last day of the sprint or last day of the project, people feeling tired and only feeling reluctant to do the retrospective. So you cannot learn from each other and cannot do the enhancement. Well your team and so, this is very important to do it constantly.

The last one now to focus to you is a regular sparring session. This is an important item in sprint planning. So typically a project team often do the research and developments, maybe the go to production that is typical, but let's team remember to do the same thing. So number one is you cannot learn from each other. Number two is a team's grows as well. So sharing session maybe once a sprint should be in the recommendation. Thank you for your time.