Category: People and Culture

Why can’t we all just get along? (again)

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Back in November last year I wrote up a talk I gave at Lean Agile Brighton called Why can’t we all just get along?

I’ve given the talk at a few more conferences and written it up as an article on InfoQ called Bridging Silos and Overcoming Collaboration Antipatterns in Multidisciplinary Organisations. The most recent time I spoke about it was at Seacon in London, and that 20-minute talk is here; enjoy!

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Why can’t we all just get along?

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I initially gave this talk at Lead Agile Brighton in October 2022, then updated and refined the slide deck for Agile Manchester in May 2023, so I’ve updated this post too.

I’ve noticed an increasingly worrying trend in the industry of focus on specialisms at the expense of collaboration, shared responsibility and valuable outcomes.

There might be many reasons for this, from organisational structures, changing workforces or uncertainty in the world. However, this trend can create silos across departments, between roles, and even in teams.

These silos mean that all the value from a multidisciplinary team is lost, people get pigeonholed, and we lose focus on creating valuable outcomes for our users.

In this post, I will explore this trend, some reasons we might be seeing it, and some approaches and techniques to break those silos down to work together.

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The Team Onion. How many pizzas does it really take to feed your team?

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The Team Onion now has a new home at teamonion.works

**UPDATE** The Agile Team Onion is now the Team Onion, same model slightly new name. Because you don’t need to be an agile team to use it.

I’ve recently been playing with ways of explaining the extended team for large and largeish organisations. I get frustrated when I see Agile teams that are essentially siloed off from the wider business (for many reasons). This causes dependency and communication issues and means they just aren’t able to deliver anything very quickly. I don’t think the answer is just to throw everyone in together as it’s not always that practical and can cause its own communication issues as the team gets really big. I’ve been using the team onion to describe a model of how it might work.

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