Building a connected team before bringing your disparate products together can help create a lasting culture of compromise and collaboration that accelerates innovation post-convergence.
Companies that scale rapidly typically create ripples that inch their products and the teams that build them further away from one another. These companies might acquire other companies to garner features and functionality aligned to their business goals but then allow those teams to continue building with loose tethering to established tech stacks or design systems. Or they might “acqui-hire” droves of new talent to help accelerate roadmaps without providing them with the broader ecosystem view and open floodgates for tech debt and systems that don’t integrate well. They’ll move fast and break a few things, often resulting in the look, feel, and function across their ecosystem becoming less familial and less performant as disconnected product fiefdoms.

In time, these disparate products and disconnected teams might be asked to create a path of convergence.
As leaders, when the time comes to bring things together, we should start by helping our merging teams build rapport, trust, and shared ways of working (i.e., frameworks, systems, processes) between one another. This is the bridge on which future innovations will ride, and the more durable and predictable it’s built, the faster your commercialization process can run across it.

Tactics, like game plans and roadmaps for coming together that ladder into your convergence strategy, come later. And frankly, come easier when you have once-siloed teams speaking a shared language with mutual respect.

For Design organizations, getting your teams there might include the following:
→ Shared design crits: By inviting non-team members to your team crits, you’re opening a door to understanding better how your team operates and providing a look at how your culture feels to those currently outside of it.
→ Lunch and Learns: Knowledge transfer around skill and product areas with a recurring ritual that sheds light on the people and product areas you know will be valuable to converge.
→ Operating manuals: One-pagers that help those around your team better understand each individual on a more human level and the team at large from their stated vision, values, and success measures serve as a useful handshake experience ahead of workshop sessions.
→ Shared workspaces: Slack channels or Loom spaces where people across these teams can openly share project updates or voice-over walkthroughs of WIP decks, Figma files, or roadmaps. A clear “State of the State” across disconnected teams creates a shared understanding of where there are gaps and where there’s steady progress in need of support.
→ Ritual mapping exercise: Use a tool like Figma’s FigJam for disconnected teams to start listing their existing rituals and opMechs (meetings). Highlight the commonalities and start merging where it makes the most sense to share ideas and make decisions together
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