Death to Dependencies
We hurt ourselves, every day. We divide into teams, the teams become silos, the silos become overloaded, the overload makes us double-down on our silos.
This is extremely common, it is natural in a system built from the ground up to be divided. We divide into specialties, into projects, into geographic locations, into business units… So may ways to divide, but scant few ways to collaborate.
We see teams as a strength and have a great deal of rhetoric to show that they are important, but we don’t notice when our collaborative, cross-functional team has become an inward facing protectionist silo.
Every silo we build increases cost, decreases information flow, and impedes quality work. This is true wherever people are isolated.
We isolate so we can focus, but when we only focus we lose sight of the whole and suffer predictable penalties.
This video discusses a common anti-collaborative silo issue faced by nearly every agile or lean team I have worked with. Someone requests work in the “wrong” way or at the “wrong” time, but there is no definition anywhere of what “right” is because dependencies are seen as a necessary evil that no one person is responsible for. Responsibility is focused on the team, not the overall value stream.
In the end, almost all work is requested in a substandard way, people struggle valiantly to get their part of the work done, predictable defects from a disjointed work process ensue, and everyone is blessed by having someone else to blame. The fact is, the fault lies with no one and everyone. Because no one tried to plan the work…together.
About Jim Benson
Jim Benson is an award-winning Lean and Agile systems designer. He is the creator of Personal Kanban and Lean Coffee. He is the co-author (with Tonianne DeMaria) of the best seller: Personal Kanban. His other books include Why Limit WIP, Why Plans Fail, and Beyond Agile.
He is a winner of the Shingo Award for Excellence in Lean Thinking and the Brickell Key Award. He and Tonianne teach online at Modus Institute and consult regularly, helping clients in all verticals create working systems. He regularly keynotes conferences, focusing on making work rewarding and humane.