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If you are a product team leader or a member, you know the challenges of managing and tracking your team goals, especially when they involve cross-team collaboration and alignment with the wider organizational strategy.
You may be using Azure Devops (ADO) to plan and execute your engineering work, but struggle with communicating business impact, progress, and dependencies of your work to your stakeholders and leaders. You may also have to deal with different tools, formats, and permissions to share your status and metrics, which can be time-consuming and inconsistent.
In our recent YouTube Live AMA "How to Improve Collaboration and Results on Your Product Team with Viva Goals and ADO," Mark Myers, Senior Program Manager in the Engineering Excellence team in Digital Security & Resilience (DSR) at Microsoft, and Johnny Jones Jr., Security Technical Program Manager in the Endpoint Protection Services team at Microsoft, shared their experiences using Viva Goals and ADO to solve these problems and drive success on their product teams.
ADO vs. Viva Goals?
ADO is a great tool for tracking individual contributions and showcasing granular work items on Product and Engineering teams, but it doesn't provide a holistic view of all work committed, and how that work aligns to the business goals of the organization.
Viva Goals, on the other hand, tracks work at the portfolio level, allowing users to see the overall progress towards the goals that matter most to your business. Viva Goals is meant to showcase the big picture, elevating conversations with leadership to the Objective and Key Results level, allowing teams to stay out of the weeds and stay focused during strategic conversations.
Both ADO and Viva Goals are critical tools for understanding if your Product and Engineering team is headed in the right direction.
Slow Is Smooth, and Smooth Is Fast
One of my favorite moments during our livestream was when Johnny talked about the prep necessary for successful ADO x Viva Goals rollout. He said it better than I ever could, so I will include the full quote here:
To successfully deploy Viva Goals, it's important to establish a pilot group and build a Viva Goals playbook from organizational principles. Keep stakeholders engaged throughout the pilot. Once the pilot is complete, host training sessions and office hours to ensure the organization knows how to use the tool. Finally, get leadership buy-in before going live, and require training to reduce support impact.
Connecting Product Work to the Metrics Which Drive Business Forward
One of the latest enhancements to the Viva Goals integration with Viva Goals is the ability to create custom metrics and data sources for your key results. This means that you can track any metric that is relevant to your goal, whether it is financial, operational, customer satisfaction, or anything else. You can also connect your key results to data sources such as Power BI, Excel, SharePoint, or custom APIs, and have them update automatically in Viva Goals.
This feature was very useful for the DSR team, as they were able to showcase metrics that were not available in ADO, such as budget savings, risk reduction, and compliance scores. By connecting their key results to Power BI dashboards, they were able to provide real-time updates to leadership and stakeholders and demonstrate the business impact of their work.
Providing Context for Progress and Results
Another enhancement that we recently announced is the ability to add comments and attachments to your key results in Viva Goals. This allows users to provide more context and information about progress, challenges, and achievements, eliminating the need for meetings with multiple stakeholders and enhancing productivity across teams. Users can attach documents, images, videos, and links to support key results.
This feature was very helpful for the DSR team, as they were able to add comments and attachments to their key results during their check-ins. They could explain the status of their key results, share feedback, ask questions, and celebrate wins. They could also attach reports, presentations, screenshots, or videos to show their work in action. This made their check-ins more interactive and engaging, and enabled better communication and collaboration across teams.
ADO and Viva Goals, Better Together
Viva Goals and ADO are powerful tools that can help teams track their goals, improve collaboration, and showcase their impact on the company. By following the tips and best practices outlined in this blog post, teams can successfully deploy Viva Goals and drive success on their product teams. To get started, check out the key resources below:
- Watch the live event recording here: For a full briefing on key benefits for using ADO and Viva Goals together, as well as how to communicate with leaders and employees around this topic
- Viva Goals x ADO Playbook: Use the exact same playbook which Mark and Johnny created and shared with their teams to equip your leadership and employees for using Viva Goals and ADO in perfect harmony.
- MS Learn Documentation for the Viva Goals x ADO Integration: Read through the documentation about how to set up the Viva Goals x ADO integration
- Read about our latest product announcements, including recent ADO integration enhancements