Company Alignment

If someone asks you "What are you doing at the moment and why?" you should have an answer to this, but the answer shouldn’t be "because I have to" or "because someone told me." We believe it’s important that everyone in a company can see the full picture, a chain of purpose, a clear why. This is what we try to achieve through Clarifying Purpose and Identities and Setting Objectives.

alignment overview.drawio

Purpose and Identity - Domains

Everything that we do at VSHN should ultimately serve the purpose of VSHN - the reason why VSHN exists. This clear Chain of Purpose enables autonomy of accountable teams: We can give our teams the What and the Why and they can find out the How themselves.

  • The company owners and board (usually consulting the Management and any VSHNeers who want to contribute) define the overall Domain of VSHN.

  • Together with the Management they also define the Domain of Business Operations.

  • The Management (who is accountable for Business Operations) then breaks down the Key Responsibilities into different Purposes (Drivers) and with that delegates parts of their accountability to other groups and teams.

  • Through that these other teams and groups get their own Domain. They can then further delegate part of their accountability to sub-domains (other teams or roles) if useful.

Here you find the overview of all defined VSHN Domains.

Basically any combination of this is possible. The key concept here is that we’re always clear who delegated responsibilities to another person or group and that they together stay overall accountable. Whenever we invest time into something, this happens within the scope of a domain, that domain should be defined and directly or indirectly serve the higher purpose of VSHN.

Why this is important
  • Anyone in every team can see why they are doing, what they are doing - Chain of why.

  • Anyone can use this clarity to prioritize work - everything that does not serve our purpose can be seen as a waste of time, money or energy.

  • We can review any domain anytime, because we can always look at the parent domain and check if the purpose is still valid and accurately summarized and if the domain is the most effective way to account for that purpose.

Setting Objectives

Domains are long-lived areas of influence and activities within VSHN. In addition to that we have to somehow organize what we actually do within these domains besides the daily business. A Product Development team needs to know that Product or Features to develop next, a Customer Solution Team needs to know what Products or technologies to replace for all their customers, Sales and Marketing team needs to know what products to push, etc.

North star and 2-year-goals

VSHN has north star and 2-year-goals. These are abstract, long term, broad in nature and difficult to measure. Still they serve us as a point of orientation - where do we want to go (north star)?

Current goals

You find them here.

Most likely north star goals will be reviewed and merged into company beliefs and purpose, 2-year goals will be less specific and measurable and replaced by the Company Objectives - This is work in progress.

Company Objectives

They are S.M.A.R.T.: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-based. This means we can name what is needed, how we measure when we get there, that we can achieve them, that they are relevant (to our purpose and goals) and in what time frame we want to reach them.

Current Company Objectives

You find the current Company Objectives here - Work in progress.

Teams or Group Objectives

Every Team, Work Group and even Roles accountable for a domain have to come-up with objectives how they contribute to reaching the Company Objectives and what they have to do to fulfil the purpose of the team. This might be needed in every team or just on the Product Management, Customer Solutions, etc. level.

Examples

Organizing Work

Ultimately in Teams and Roles, the actual work has to be defined, prioritized, planned and done. For this, we can now look at a) the purpose of the domain of the team and b) the objectives.

  • Usually every team has incoming work to do, that does not directly serve their objectives, but is needed because it’s within their domain. For example in a Product Team, fixing bugs of existing products.

  • On the other hand, any work that can be planned has to be aligned to the objectives of the team.

Goals vs Objectives

The main difference between objectives and goals is that objectives are precise actions or measurable steps individuals and groups take to move closer to the goal. They are specific targets that typically have a time-bound schedule or timeline for completion.

That means we should try not to use the terms Goals and Objectives interchangeably and be careful when translating them into other languages.


This is part of and tracked as VIP-12