Why silos are not the enemy

Why silos are not the enemy

Blow up your organizational silos, agile enthusiasts insist. But that won’t save your business. Here’s the case for bridging silos instead of destroying them

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June 24, 2019

What you really need: Trust

Even though we are not hunting and gathering anymore for our survival, we still need to find trust in those we work with for the survival of our business.

In today’s digital age, consider how large, complex organizations drive the need for specialization: This, in turn, leads to different goals, different metrics, and different incentives – resulting in conflicting priorities and miscommunication. Blowing up silos is not the answer. Instead, consider bridging silos, with a focus on the end-to-end workflow of a product or service.

[ Read our related article: DevOps metrics: Are you measuring what matters? ]

Imagine an organization that brings the work to the people rather than bringing the people to the work. The anti-pattern of building up and re-assimilating teams into different ecosystems over and over again is neither efficient nor effective because domain knowledge is lost as individuals leave projects to ramp up on new and different projects.

Keeping product expertise within the same group allows for a smoother flow of work and fewer dependencies across different teams. It makes sense then to organize teams by product (not project) to reduce as many dependencies as possible.

Bolster places where people rely on each other

Today’s leaders face immense pressure to deliver results for their organizations, particularly when it comes to delighting their customers. When organizational silos begin to impact delivery and cause expensive delays, it can be tempting to run with popular opinion and blow the silos up.

More often than not, the answer lies in bridging silos rather than destroying them. When you organize groups along the paths where people naturally rely or depend on each other, you support systems that are already in place, which in turn can help you keep your business viable.

[ What do great agile leaders do differently? Read How to be a stronger DevOps leader: 9 tips. ]

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