In order to protect our agile teams from interruptions we have unintentionally created a bubble for ourselves. Disconnected from the rest of the organisation we sub-optimise doing things right but without effective collaboration with stakeholders and customers struggle to improve doing the right things. The difficulties in making the Product Owner role effective and being truly cross functional have accentuated the problem. My recent survey showed that almost everyone thought we need to be doing much more collaboration with people outside the team.
Developers purpose is to innovate, collaboration is a vital tool
To multiply the benefits of collaboration we need to be “Promiscuous”. Collaborating with someone new brings new perspectives and ideas. Everybody sees a bigger picture and understands a greater part of the value chain and how their actions can effect it.
But fixing this isn’t as easy as it might appear at first, there are many things that stand in the way of collaborating freely throughout the organisation
So what approaches can set us on the path to promiscuity?
You can try talking to managers, but many will be too busy sub-optimising their own departments and fear a loss of control.
You can just do it. If you approach offering help there won’t be many who refuse you. When the collaboration proves effective managers will have trouble stopping you.
Experiment – obvious candidates include Support Desks,Client Service Teams and of course Customers but what about accountants even HR? Is there anyone in your org you couldn’t learn from?
Not all the time, but a little collaboration can go a long way. People need to learn how to collaborate effectively so start slowly. Experiment