Get everyone on the same page

by | Mar 8, 2016

How can you get everyone in your team to see the solution?

They say a picture paints a thousand words, but how can we create a picture that gets everyone in your team seeing the solution in the same way?

The answer is by using different perspectives on the same picture. Since people will relate to and understand different perspectives based upon their own points of view. As well as providing what different individuals need to see and where they fit in, it’s also important to make it easy for everyone to see everyone else’s point of view at a high level. By getting each ‘high level picture’ on a single page and in a format everyone can relate to, we purposefully avoid domain specific terminology or notations that can easily create barriers between team members.

If domain specific details are required then your tool of choice for that role can be used. But be very careful as role specific diagrams can create barriers to collaboration if that’s all there is available. Finally, and most importantly it’s very important to know when to stop, just enough is usually good enough. When the wider team are impressed by the simplicity of the model but ask for more detail then tell them that, “it’s not just good, it’s good enough!”

The Roles Team Members Play

So, who exactly is in your team, what part do they play and what are they interested in? You might think these answers differ wildly between projects but at a high level I suggest not, as fundamentally only three types of people exist.

  • The ‘stakeholders’, who are the people fund the project and own everything after the project team disappears. They will want to ensure they are getting value for money and that the solution is delivering to their requirements, and if not why not with a sound explanation of any risks and opportunities.
  • The ‘business’, which includes business analysts, subject matter experts and industry experts. They will know the business or the opportunity to re-engineer the business well and will tell you everything given the right set of questions.
  • The ‘techies’, which includes everyone involved in technical selection, design, building software, installing hardware and gluing everything together. Architects, Developers, Testers, Nerds and Geeks all sit in this group and this includes delivery and operations.

There are mysterious figures able to drift between the above roles, sometimes this is a good thing, sometimes not so good. This will vary widely between projects so I’m going to steer clear of this subject as we’re getting into people management and politics. For example, a good CIO will have one foot placed firmly on the business side and the other on the technical side.

Matching perspectives to roles

My previous blog post introduced the different Hubscope perspectives (Who, Why, How, What and All.)


Which perspectives are most useful to which roles?

  • Sponsors are interested in everything, never assume anything less because they are paying for it.
  • Business people are interested in requirements and the services that will be provided to meet those requirements.
  • Technical people are interested in services and how they can be delivered using the software, data and hardware.
  • Everyone should be interested in the stakeholders, so they always keep who will “own” the solution front of mind.
  • Everyone should be interested in everyone else’s point of view with full transparency at this high level.

It’s better to get everyone on the same page and keep them there as things evolve so as to avoid nasty surprises at go live.

The Starting Point

A very important feature of this multi-perspective approach is that you can start anywhere. It may be there is an existing solution that is being extended or migrated, in which case start by detailing the current technical state. There may be a business case stating the key objectives and critical requirements, so start with the requirements are services. It may be so early that only the stakeholders are known at this stage, so just map out an organisation chart.

Try it yourself

In an upcoming blog post I’ll give you a real world example that I think everyone will be able to relate to and one which you can use to get yourself started once you have downloaded your Hubscope evaluation. Click the button below to register and download.

Happy Hubscoping!

Multiple Perspectives
Is it really wise to follow the wisdom of the crowd?
Encouraging Diversity of Contribution