Breaking Down Silos

Breaking Down Silos

In this post, we are exploring the methods we can use to break down silos in your company. Successfully achieving this is a key requirement to success in DevOps.

In DevOps, culture is brought about by the need to break down silos in your organization between certain teams. Silo mentality is behavior driven and can be resolved using a number of techniques.

The danger of silos is the business world is that trust is destroyed, communication is cut off and complacency starts to set into what you do day to day. Teams which are siloed cannot react to change quickly of take advantages of opportunities that present themselves.

Worse of all is transparency, when data cannot be shared between teams freely, that impacts your ability to make data driven decisions about your team or business. Some of the things we are about to discuss, we have touched upon before.

  • Creating one vision for team collaboration
  • Work towards common goals with collaboration tools
  • Educate together, work together, and train together
  • Communicate often
  • Evaluate team compensation

We talked earlier about the importance of creating common goals for your teams, they should also share one vision. It’s no good having vision for one team over here and another over there for a different team.

All teams should share, buy into, and adopt that one vision. When goals are set that conflict with other teams, silo mentality begins, meaning silos are often created by management.

The leadership team must understand the long-term goals, department objectives, and key initiatives of the organization, before passing the unified vision down to the teams. The unified leadership team will thanks to this approach encourage trust, create a sense of empowerment, and break managers out of the my department mentality and into the our company mentality.

Using collaboration tooling

The biggest downside to the silo mentality is that people see things from their perspective, this of course is not always a bad thing, but when this happens, generally speaking, people will make choices towards their own team, rather than from the company perspective.

One of the simplest ways to keep everyone on point with common goals is to use a dashboard to highlight progress towards your common goals. This is a form of collaboration.

When organizations give their employees quality tools for collaboration, people will naturally share more information and because of that communicate better with each other.

Finally, when the entire organization looks to understand each department (sometimes each team) and the specific issue they face on a day to day basis, departmental goals can become the goals of the entire company.

Up next

In post 15 in the series, we look at Avoiding Cultural Anti-Patterns.

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