Picture this: You’re preparing to launch a new digital product. The business team wants a speedy release. IT, however, needs more time for rigorous testing to ensure a stable, secure user experience.
It’s the age-old battle between “agility” and “stability,” and a source of tension between business and technical teams as old as technology itself.
A major cause of strife? Building and releasing enterprise digital experiences remains inherently complex, with no guarantee customers will love them – and plenty of risk that they could fall flat, or fail entirely.
Even though site and app outages are easily detectable with various tools, it’s the subtle, undetected issues that lead to user abandonment, a phenomenon often likened to “death by a thousand cuts.” These “unknown unknowns” can lead to discord between business and technical teams, since neither team fully understands whether and why customers are abandoning.
In this blog, we’ll get to the source of the tension and offer practical takeaways for mitigating it and fostering alignment between teams.
What causes organizational tension?
To understand how to navigate this tension, it’s essential to grasp common organizational drivers that put business and technical teams at odds.
- Competing priorities: Obtaining clarity from digital analytics is increasingly complex. Teams within a company use different, specialized analytics tools, leading to overlapping data and conflicting priorities. This hinders alignment across business and tech teams around what to prioritize.
- Unnecessary escalations: Teams constantly waiting and reacting to customer feedback and executive emails often rely on guesswork, which wastes valuable time. Many digital monitoring tools are reactive, noisy, and lack customer and business context. Static customer thresholds don’t adapt to seasonal changes, resulting in alert overload, false alarms, and delayed responses.
- Process bottlenecks: Teams often blame each other for inefficiencies in digital diagnosis, but technology is a significant part of the problem. Modern digital ecosystems, with multiple data sources like escalations, support calls, customer surveys, and analytics, create complex issues. When something goes wrong, such as a KPI shift or customer feedback, it triggers time-consuming processes like issue reproduction, causing challenges like delayed issue replication and wasted time on data management.
- Constant state of fixing: Many organizations are too focused on fixing what’s broken rather than planning for what’s next. This can lead to stagnation and missed opportunities for growth. Numerous tools promise to elevate and refine the digital experience, yet a significant portion of them operate in silos, lacking a clear connection to business outcomes. Moreover, they often rely on tagging, resulting in release delays.
The good news is that with commitment to the right strategies for alignment, the above organizational problems can be fixed and alleviated relatively quickly.
Key strategies for navigating business and technical team tension.
Finding the right strategies to alleviate cross-team tension and promote alignment can be the key to not just surviving, but thriving in a complex digital organization.
At the core is taking a proactive approach and being more nimble to detect and understand customer struggle tied to business impact, which helps business and tech teams agree on what to prioritize. Here are a few strategies to get your teams on the path to collaboration:
- Be proactive: You shouldn’t have to find out about issues by waiting for feedback or stakeholder escalation emails. Business and tech teams can both be in the know and get quickly aligned when something changes, whether it’s a KPI, payment error or behavioral anomaly. Get proactive monitoring, including ability to:
- Automatically and dynamically baseline and detect deviations from normal behavioral, business, or technical patterns in real-time, while also handling seasonal changes. This ensures baselines aren’t static or manual.
- Autocapture 100% of sessions without manual tagging, and make data accessible in pre-built dashboards with limitless depth—build any dimension on any metric in real-time. This improves efficiency and speed to insight.
- Alert on what matters to customers and the business without false positives, easily pivoting into segment analysis, opportunity analysis, and session replay to diagnose issues. This ensures there’s business context to alerts, which ensures business and tech teams can more accurately and easily align.
- Eliminate guesswork: Business and tech teams can overcome bottlenecks to diagnosing friction with a shared version of truth that helps them agree on where to focus, align and prioritize backlogs. Get fast diagnosis tied to business impact, including ability to:
- Quickly corroborate and reproduce a reported issue by visualizing customer struggle (session replay), making it easier to reproduce the issue. This also helps teams agree on where to focus.
- Automatically calculate the business impact (revenue, conversion, etc) of any change for fast, easy prioritization across teams—including KPI changes, funnel/task blockers, journey impediments and page performance—and see aggregate analytics for every customer who had the exact same experience. This helps agree on what to prioritize.
- Combine technical and behavioral data with rich context to quickly guide you to the root cause so you can take fast, confident action.
- Never stop iterating: You shouldn’t have to constantly fight fires, fix what’s broken, and point fingers. Business and tech teams can explore and improve digital experiences in harmony, with less discord around what to test or when to release. Optimize digital experiences ahead of customer expectations, including the ability to:
- Identify the unseen opportunities that delight customers in their digital experiences.
- Formulate evidence-based assumptions about how specific changes or improvements will impact user behavior, helping increase test velocity.
- View KPIs in real-time to measure whether you achieved your desired outcomes and/or met the predefined success criteria.
Agility and stability are no longer at odds.
What happens when business and tech work well together? Suddenly, you can seamlessly balance agility with stability. This leads to successful product launches, improved customer satisfaction, and sustained growth. However, when they don’t collaborate effectively, the consequences can result in missed opportunities, unhappy customers, and internal discord.
While the tension between business and technical teams is a challenge that many enterprises face, know that it’s not insurmountable. By acknowledging the common drivers of tension and following these strategies, leaders can bridge the gap and create a collaborative environment where both sides work together for the benefit of the business and its customers.