Product teams often become the mediator when company objectives conflict

By Jodie Hopperton


Los Angeles, California, United States


OKRs are used by many. And those that use them will say they are exceptionally effective. However, one struggle I often see is as they trickle down from company/CEO level objectives to departmental, and even individual, they can — unintentionally — conflict. 

As it is usually product that brings departments together to make decisions, it is often product that finds breakdowns between the objectives that have been set. It’s also product that needs to be the arbitrators of these conflicting wants and needs. 

VMing Chew, a senior product manager at SPH in Singapore, shared this cartoon with us in the December master class on product methodologies. It stuck with me because I think anyone who has worked in any organisation has come across this. Even with the most aligned objectives, sometimes it’s not enough to sway the opinions of people who matter.

This cartoon likely rings true to most of us.
This cartoon likely rings true to most of us.

Here are some questions I’ll be asking around conflicting objectives:

  • How do we determine objectives at both a company and departmental level? 

  • What formats and processes can we use to prioritise and make decisions? Which of these are best for both efficiency and effectiveness while protecting relationships?

  • How do we protect relationships? What are the soft skills our teams need and how do we acquire them? 

  • How do we manage conflicting revenue pillars? Is LTV (lifetime value) the best, only, solution? 

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About Jodie Hopperton

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