All related (34)
Lindsey Weinig
Director of Product Marketing, TwilioMarch 15

In my experience, preferences need to be considered here. I personally have found success by adopting a variety of strategies across communication channels and with varied cadence in order to cater to others' varied preferences. 

First, we do a lot of writing; sharing plans, strategies, and agendas in advance of meetings allows for deeper engagment vs. a real-time discussion in the moment. Second, we schedule regular check-ins with key stakeholders, both 1:1 and cross-functionally to keep people informed and accountable for their participation (with key considerations for timezones). Depending on the newness of the material for the cross functional team we prepare presentations to educate stakeholders on the value and messaging of our launch/product/initiative to build shared ownership. In this time of attrition and growth, we welcome intro 1:1s and have a centralized document with our goals and training assets to help onboard new stakeholders to the cross-functional team. We also send quarterly team email updates with priorities + progress to all key stakeholders in which we also actively request feedback. And for real time engagement, we have several cross-team and project-specific slack channels where we share noteworthy updates. 

Leah Brite
Head of Product Marketing, Core Product, GustoApril 27

One of the most important things that PMM can do to drive cross-functional alignment (whether remote, hybrid, or in-person) is to keep the customer at the center of the conversation. By operating as a customer evangelist, we can bring data-driven, customer-centric stories to the forefront and get folks aligned on who our customer is, the most important problems to solve for them, and how to best serve their needs.

Having a shared vision for your target market helps create natural alignment that can reduce friction during strategic and operational planning.

Two more things I’d recommend include:

  1. Know who the real influencers and decision makers are in your org. There is always the formal RAPID, and oftentimes, less codified paths and people to influence. Build your understanding of that and use it to your advantage when anticipating or experiencing friction.
  2. If you are going into a meeting where you hold an opinion that might be contentious or expect to get pushback, pre-sell the idea with key stakeholders in 1:1 settings where you can tailor your delivery to your audience. Sales is going to naturally care about different things than product, so pitch your idea accordingly. This can ensure that when you enter the room, you’ve got some allies on your side that can help tell the story from multiple angles and get broader cross-functional alignment. This can be especially key in remote settings where it is naturally harder to read a room. Giving folks the ability to digest the information and provide input in advance can go a long way in not only building allies, but also up-leveling your thinking and recommendation with a diversity of perspectives.
Alina Fu
Director, MicrosoftDecember 1

To be successful in a remote working environment, leaders and employees must be willing to think and work differently.

Shared context: The most critical component to drive alignment cross-functionally, especially with a remote team, is to provide clear communications and establish shared understanding of expectations and goals. It is important that everyone is aligned on what the project is.

Project briefs: We use project briefs to provide an overview for the cross-functional teams to understand what is this project, status quo challenges, key deliverables and milestones, and most importantly, metrics for success. Then, in the kickoff meeting with the cross-functional groups, we discuss what is needed from each function using the brief as a working document to get buy-in from the other stakeholders.

Connect Asynchronously: We outline the critical information in several channels for asynchronous dissemination of information. It was frustrating when my team members could not find content/resources that seemed straightforward because they were buried under comments in an obscure Asana task under a hard-to-figure-out-unless-you-knew-the-exact-name board.

With a remote team, we needed to adapt on how we relay information and be patient with when to expect a response because of the distributed time zones and flexible work hours. It also requires open-mindedness on establishing new rituals and habits for the team. For instance, we established team norms and processes for when and how we communicate (an area I was personally actively engaged in defining) because information silos became problematic and pockets of people had very specific work styles that weren't conducive to the overall group needs.