Case StudyEcosystem Team: Defining The Ecosystem Strategy - Balancing Direction and Autonomy in Teams

TV4, a prominent Finnish media company managing multiple streaming services like C More and TV4 Play alongside linear TV offerings, encountered difficulties in aligning their product teams with a cohesive strategic vision while maintaining the flexibility necessary for innovation. The design team at TV4, in particular, faced challenges in integrating with product teams and ensuring that the strategic direction was clear and actionable. This balance was crucial to deliver consistent and high-quality user experiences across their diverse range of products.

Balancing Direction and Autonomy in Teams

The Solution

TV4 adopted a multi-faceted strategy to address these challenges. The approach involved several key components:

  1. Inclusive Vision Setting:
    • Context: Ensuring that the strategic vision incorporated input from both internal teams and end-users was essential for alignment and relevance.
    • Activity: TV4 engaged in an iterative process of gathering feedback from team members and customers to shape their strategic vision. This involved collecting insights from various stakeholders within the company, including designers, developers, and product managers, as well as conducting user research to understand customer needs and preferences.
  2. Cross-Functional Team Integration:
    • Context: Effective collaboration between design, product, and engineering teams was critical to delivering a unified product experience.
    • Activity: TV4 restructured their teams to enhance cross-functional integration. Design teams were embedded within product teams to ensure that design considerations were integral to product development from the outset. This reorganization aimed to break down silos and foster a collaborative culture.
  3. Clear Strategic Guidelines:
    • Context: Providing clear guidelines helped teams make informed decisions that aligned with the company’s strategic objectives.
    • Activity: TV4 established clear strategic guidelines that defined the priorities and principles guiding product development. These guidelines included a focus on user-centric design, seamless integration across platforms, and maintaining high standards of content quality. The guidelines served as a reference for teams to ensure consistency and alignment in their work.
  4. Empowerment with Boundaries:
    • Context: Teams needed the freedom to innovate within a structured framework to avoid drifting from strategic goals.
    • Activity: TV4 empowered their teams by setting clear boundaries within which they could operate autonomously. This included defining the scope of their responsibilities, setting performance metrics, and providing the necessary resources and support. The aim was to enable teams to take ownership of their projects while staying aligned with the overall strategy.
  5. Regular Feedback Loops:
    • Context: Continuous improvement and alignment required regular reviews and adaptation based on feedback.
    • Activity: TV4 implemented regular feedback loops involving all stakeholders. This included frequent team meetings, retrospectives, and strategic reviews to assess progress, address challenges, and refine the approach as needed. These feedback loops ensured that the strategy remained dynamic and responsive to both internal and external changes.

Outcomes achieved

Implementing this strategy at TV4 resulted in several significant outcomes:

  1. Enhanced Team Collaboration:
    • Context: Improved integration between cross-functional teams led to more cohesive and innovative product development.
    • Outcome: The restructured teams at TV4 reported better collaboration and communication, leading to more efficient workflows and higher quality products. Embedding design within product teams ensured that user experience was prioritized from the beginning of the development process.
  2. Increased Alignment with Strategic Goals:
    • Context: Clear guidelines and regular reviews kept teams aligned with the company’s vision and objectives.
    • Outcome: Teams at TV4 were able to make decisions more confidently, knowing they were in line with the strategic priorities. This alignment facilitated a more focused approach to product development and helped avoid the pitfalls of misaligned efforts.
  3. Improved Product Quality and User Satisfaction:
    • Context: A user-centric approach and empowered teams led to products that better met customer needs.
    • Outcome: User feedback indicated higher satisfaction with TV4’s streaming and linear TV products. The strategic focus on user experience resulted in products that were not only innovative but also highly relevant and valuable to users.
  4. Dynamic and Responsive Strategy:
    • Context: Regular feedback loops allowed TV4 to adapt their strategy in response to changing conditions.
    • Outcome: TV4’s strategy remained flexible and responsive, enabling the company to quickly adapt to new market trends and customer preferences. This agility helped TV4 maintain its competitive edge in a rapidly evolving media landscape.

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