Feb 08, 2021
Human-centered team vs. Feature-centered team – Strategic relationship
It is doable to move from a feature-centered to a human-centered team, but it requires a lot of work. Your end goal here is to build strategic trust.
What is it like to get strategic trust? It’s when your team has enough space to solve the customer problems without anyone giving you a specific solution. The conversation could change from: “Can you add more entry points on the homepage?” into “Here’s the business target, go figure out how to achieve it.” You can solve the real customer needs and innovate.
But to get there, you need to shift the conversation to the outcome first.
The executives care about the business outcome. Yet, if you notice, in the feature-centered team, you don’t discuss the outcome with the exec. You talk about the solution. For example, you may often hear these: redesign a page, provide more payment options, or make the promotion banner bigger. Those are solutions. Try to dig the outcome they expect behind that solution.
Say the exec asks you to integrate more payment methods in the checkout. Don’t be naive and say you need to do user research first. Unfortunately, the exec doesn’t have much patience to wait for your 2 or 3 weeks of research.
In this situation, try to understand what’s the outcome of that request. Is the intention to increase the conversation during the checkout? If so, go ahead and execute that while keeping track of the conversion rate. Chances are, the business objective will not hit the target. At that moment, your goal is to help the exec realize their request doesn’t get them closer to the expected outcome. You have to make this clear when the business outcome of their solution is off-target.
When they started to realize that, you should do your homework, allocate proper time for your researcher to do user research. Next time, when that same conversation happens, you can start giving an alternative. This is where the strategic insights will be helpful – which we’ll discuss on the next post.
This is how I’d build the relationship in this situation: Help them understand their request is not getting us anywhere and suggest a better alternative by providing user insight that connected to their business objective.