November 21, 1960 was not a great day for NASA. Their first ever unmanned test flight launched a whole four inches off the ground before crashing. In the analysis afterwards, it was discovered that the capsule and the rocket were not integrated correctly.
From the book Team of Teams, it goes into more detail:
The interface failures, however, exposed an inherent problem: independent small groups were very effective at exploratory work, but trouble erupted when the projects of the disparate teams had to be integrated into the vehicle going into orbit.
I often work with organizations that are facing similar challenges. These are teams spread out across the globe, building different products, with separate reporting structures. Essentially, highly efficient silos that work well inside the team, but with little situational awareness of other teams.
So imagine you are gearing up to integrate your new app to a critical API when you get a warning “That code is on a need to know basis”. You may laugh, but that is often how we treat requests for help from other teams and fellow colleagues.
What is needed is a community to bring the organization together!
The disruptive power of internal community is that it becomes the pathway to enabling a culture of collaborative sharing across technical teams. Community does this by helping to break down the walls of organizational silos to allow teams to work together more effectively and solve ever more complex problems. This is critical given that the pace and complexity of technology change becoming faster and the need to deliver digital solutions to customers becomes more urgent.
We are awash in information but work in environments that are information starved. Every time we interrupt a co-worker, send out a blast email, or trawl wikis and portals, we create a bit more friction in the path of developers finding an answer.
Software may be eating the world, but information speed bumps are eating our productivity.
On a scale of 1 to 10, how easily do you share and collaborate across teams? Is your engineering culture one of open collaboration and transparency, or is it more “on a need to know basis”?
Why are so few foods blue?
Blueberries and blue Kool-Aid and what else???
We help IT leaders in enterprises solve the cultural challenges involved in digital transformation and move towards a community based culture that delivers innovation and customer value faster. Learn more about our work here.