Functional Teams

Some teams might be thought of as “horizontal” or “functional”, rather than project-based. Things like ops/finance, marketing/design, and developer relations. In certain cases it may make sense for a project team to have its own dedicated personnel in these functions on the teams, but often these functions will be provided generally/horizontally across the company.

We can consider each of these functions as a project in itself. It doesn’t quite have the same structure as other projects though, since they work horizontally across all other projects. All projects will need some ops/finance, marketing/design, and devrels support. Thus we have slightly more complicated Workflows here.

One model for understanding these “horizontals” is through a set of 4 kinds of Workflows. For instance:

Time HorizonCustomerPerformerObjective
1 yearCEOCOOGeneral availability of marketing for company
1 yearProduct OwnerCOOSpecific availability of marketing for product
3 monthCOOMarketerGeneral marketing needs for company
3 monthProduct OwnerMarketerSpecific marketing needs for product

First, the CEO has a 1 year Workflow as Customer with the COO as Performer to create a marketing function to support all teams in the company. This Workflow is concerned with the general availability of marketing in the company. The main result of this Workflow is that when product owners are asked if they feel well supported by and get what they need from marketing, they say yes.

Second, each product owner has say a 1 year Workflow as Customer with the COO as Performer to ensure the marketing function has the specific capabilities and capacities each product needs. Each product will have distinct needs, and it’s the COO’s responsibility, through her Workflow with each product owner, to ensure the company has a pool of marketing resources to meet those specific needs.

Third, the COO has a 3 month Workflow with each individual marketing employee, where the COO sets the general expectations of how they should interact with the rest of the company. The COO holds the same concern as the CEO, but holds it on the shorter time horizon with the individual members of the marketing team, while the CEO holds it on the 1 year time horizon just with the COO (and for more functions than marketing).

Finally, each product owner has a 3 month Workflow with the specific members of the marketing team for their specific needs. For instance, the Product Owner of Tendermint will have a 3 month Workflow with some individual marketing person for the marketing results needed for Tendermint that quarter.

Notice how the Workflow language helps decompose the role of the COO here. She is Customer for some, Performer for others. Workflow helps us be crystal clear about what different people are responsible for and to whom, and how to determine if they’re doing a good job.

Finally, while we've called out specific functional teams such as devrel, marketing, design, finance and operations, the Collaborative Web paper considers extending this to all functions in the company, enabling Customers and Performers from across the company to discover new ways to work together.