Silos: Part II — How not to handle increased workload.

Go fast or go far. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.

There is an African proverb I’ve heard often: “If you wish to go fast go alone. If you wish to go far go together.” You could argue that the Romans placed more value in travelling far than travelling fast, at the very least they truly understood how to utilise the power of the group and to exploit those who didn’t.

Consequences of valuing travelling fast over travelling far.

Ultimately this can be viewed as the difference between valuing the short-term rather than the long-term. As pressure builds to deliver more, and perhaps unplanned work creeps into the team, rather than critiquing priorities or analysing and addressing the cause, a knee-jerk (but short-term) reaction can be to allocate specific projects to specific team members in the hope work can be done in parallel. However by doing so you risk dividing the team and splitting its purpose, outcomes that will likely wreak havoc, especially further down the line.

Conclusion

Division and divergence of purpose can be seen as two key ingredients for the formation of silos, and although can sometimes happen in a more gradual fashion, are often intentional decisions that leaders make in response to pressure to move faster.

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Austin Mackesy-Buckley

Austin Mackesy-Buckley

An Agile Coach and dad who writes from time to time about his thoughts and experiences of work and life.