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The One-Person Silo

November 30th, 2017 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips

We all like to have something we can call our own. We like to work on something and say, “I did that!” We have to decide if one of us is smarter than all of us.

In Agile Development, somehow the team meets and decides on a new feature or fix for the system under consideration. Now we decide: who will work on that new feature? One of the choices is assign (a) the team or (b) one person.

When we choose (b) one person, we are creating the one-person silo or one-person stovepipe or whatever cliche you like to use. The one person contemplates, designs, builds, names, tests, and integrates the new feature. Someone else may do some other testing, but one person does 90% of the work.

When we choose (a) the team, several persons participate in all the steps.

(a) The team is not a popular choice. We all like to have something to call our own. I want to work on this by myself. I have a unique insight into this. I can do it! Those are all correct statements. Are they, however, the better statements? Is it better to say, “Each member of the team has unique insights to contribute?” And, “The team can do it!”

I guess we have to decide question zero: Who is smarter, me or everyone (including me)?

This is not one of those inspirational posters about synergy. And it isn’t one of those posters that poke fun at those inspirational posters (Synergy—all of us are dumber than each of us).

I don’t want to be bogged down by all those other people asking questions and offering suggestions. I want to just do it!

Fine, Mr; Genius. Go home after my paycheck-earning work. Do something at home by myself that I can call all my own. Perhaps that at-home, I-did-it-all-by-myself system will be better than anything the team did at that paycheck-earning job. Good for me.

But for now, while I am at that paycheck-earning job at work, I’ll just have to humor the rest of the team and let them work with me. Who knows, maybe I will learn something.

Tags: Adults · Respect · Synergy · Trust · Work

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