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Silo Busting

A talk by at XP2011

About the Talk

May 13, 2011 5:00 AM



Organizational silos are the source of the most pernicious dysfunctions you can find within any company. These divisions serve to isolate people in the organization within hyper-specialized roles. Ostensibly, we do this in order to help people succeed. The Justification might be that no one can be equally good at everything. Therefore, we compartmentalize our lives and those around us in order to filter out the extraneous noise. Of course, it does not have to be this way. You can deliver a product successfully without compartmentalizing everyone and everything in an organization within an inch of its life. It requires a different mindset. One needs inter-disciplinary thinking that considers different skills and tries to synthesize a whole rather than divide. This requires a mindset that favors skill over roles and knowledge over assignment. As teams, we need to have the proper balance of skills, including development, quality assurance, customers, and delivery. Moreover, as an organization, we need to have the people in place to help support the teams and the people on the teams to develop themselves and to deliver the best products. In this tutorial, we explore the causes of organizational silos, their impacts, and the strategies that you can employ to help mitigate their impact on your teams and within your organization.

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