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Team Alignment board (TAB): Maximize team alignment in minimum time

Building digital products is complex. Research shows that one of the main reasons why product delivery fails is the lack of alignment in teams. This will be familiar to many working in product: we’ve probably all, at some point, been in projects where failing to identify dependencies or misalignments led to substantial time delays or increases in costs.


However, at the same time, we also often complain that we have too many meetings (research also shows how meetings impact employee productivity). It’s not uncommon to feel like you are jumping from meeting to meeting without having time to do “real work”.

What’s going on, exactly? We have schedules packed with meetings yet we still lack alignment. There could be a number of issues at play, but the best way to explore them is to ask this question: are we having the right conversations with our teams? 


To tackle these problems — and ensure we are having the right conversations with our teams — we created the Team Alignment Board (TAB).


What is the Team Alignment Board (TAB)?

The TAB is a digital whiteboard (using a tool such as Mural) that enables team conversations to:

  • Visually identify project misalignment between team members on the most relevant aspects of the project, to reduce blind spots and put together different and complementary perspectives

  • Better align team members taking as a starting point the misalignments identified

  • Identify risks, assumptions, issues and dependencies and agree on resolution or mitigation actions

  • Review and adapt the roadmap (if required)


This board is used in recurrent TAB meetings — these meetings should always be short. We don’t recommend extending this meeting for more than 30 minutes. If any issue or risk identified requires more analysis or discussion, this will be handled separately.The recurrence may vary depending on the audience as we will explain later.


Who is this board for?


Any team that needs alignment to progress towards some shared objectives or goals can use this board. This  alignment takes place by reviewing the team’s success factors. Success factors are the conditions that the team needs to meet to maximize their chances of achieving their objectives.

Any team in almost any industry can adapt and use this board. In the context of digital product development, some of the groups of people that can benefit from using this board include:




How often meetings should take place

Engineering team

Development team (Engineers, Business Analyst, Product Owner, Scrum Master)

Used as a retrospective template that creates awareness and operational alignment between team members and raises hidden issues

Ad-hoc when needed, as an additional resource or format for a retrospective. 

Team Leads

Tech Lead, Product Manager, Engineering Manager, Design Lead

The board will foster tactical alignment and ensure consistency between the team progress and the defined objectives

Weekly for teams in early stages or with a high level of scope uncertainty. Instead, if the team has been working well for some time and there is a low level of scope uncertainty, this meeting can take place fortnightly or monthly. 

Leadership Team

Heads of Department, VP level

Strategic alignment on KPIs



Which are the TAB components?


The TAB Board contains three main components:


  • The Success Factors Radar. This is a table that describes a set of four to five factors that are key to the success of the team. For each of these factors, the table defines three traffic lights: green (is fine), orange (needs attention) and red (is at risk).

Set-up tip: We recommend defining your relevant Success Factors collaboratively before the meeting takes place for the first time.


  • The RAIDs Map. We analyze and document the risks, assumptions, issues and dependencies identified for the different success factors, and the actions to mitigate, avoid or solve the RAIDs identified.


  • The Roadmap. The last component of the board is the team roadmap. We added it to the TAB to ensure attendees consider and discuss the impact that a RAID might have on the team’s roadmap. This can be discussed once all the RAIDs have been analyzed or while discussing individual RAIDs.


Facilitation tip: Instead of a roadmap, some teams prefer to use their objectives and key results to assess the RAIDs impact. Teams should use any artifact that facilitates their understanding of the RAIDs impact in their success.   


How does the TAB meeting work?


The TAB meeting dynamic is divided into two main phases:


Visualization phase 


Here, you set up a timer for four minutes. Attendees are then asked to place their picture on one traffic light per success factor. The result is that the group can visualize the success factors where they are not aligned.


Alignment phase


After the visualization phase, it is time to align on each of the success factors. One by one, participants will discuss each success factor, focusing more on those where more alignment is needed.


For each success factor, the group explores risks, assumptions, issues or dependencies using the color-coded post-its linked to the success factor. For each risk, issue or dependency identified, the group needs to agree on an action and assign them to an attendee. 


In the top left quadrant of the RAIDs map, risks are categorized based on impact and likelihood. Mitigation actions agreed for these risks are documented in the top right quadrant. Additionally, dependencies and issues are documented in the bottom left quadrant. The resolution actions agreed are documented in the bottom right quadrant.


The assumptions discussed (if any) are documented at the bottom of the RAIDs Map.

The group needs to also consider the impact these issues and risks might have on the team’s roadmap. If the impact is high, they might want to consider updating the roadmap or flag a potential delay. 


TAB set-up 


If you have read up to this point, you know what is the TAB meeting, which are the TAB board components and how to run the meeting. To help you with the set-up, we have prepared these two templates (Miro, Mural).    


You will have to build the TAB Board only once. For every TAB meeting, you will copy the different components of the TAB Board and place them below the previous ones with the date of the meeting.

Facilitation tip: The facilitator would initially be the person who organizes the meeting and is pushing for more aligned teams. This role is critical for the first sessions. Once the TAB meeting is established the role of the facilitator becomes less critical. You can rotate the facilitator role between the attendees to increase their ownership and implication in the TAB dynamic. 


To sum up


The TAB meeting promotes team alignment and efficiency. The attendees will be on the same page, identify risks and mitigation actions and review the roadmap in the time equivalent to a long coffee break (30 minutes). The outcome is more aligned teams, which at the end results in more time for the team to do what they do best.


The TAB has worked for us to deliver products better. Therefore, whether you are a Developer striving for more alignment, a Team Lead trying to meet a tight deadline or a C-level executive seeking for more effective meetings, we suggest you give it a try!

Disclaimer: The statements and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Thoughtworks.

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