#21 – Silos

Authors’ comments:

The ambition of breaking down the organizational silos is a noble one and has existed forever. One way of approaching that is by adopting the concept of Agile Release Trains from SAFe. The idea of having a cross-organisational, long-living, agile team of teams that is centered around a Value Stream makes sense. Especially when it so clearly reflects the need for cross-functionality in a Scrum team on to the program level; together, all teams in an ART must be able to deliver end-to-end value within the Value Stream.

However, if one of the main motivations for launching ARTs is breaking down existing silos, we must be extra attentive to the risk of each ART, itself, becoming its own silo and adopting silo-like behaviour (e.g., only focusing on own goals, being inflexible to cooperate with for others, etc.). A couple of ways to mitigate this risk (besides joining the ARTs in a Solution Train if they’re related) is by clearly connecting the Strategic Themes of the enterprise to the Vision and Portfolio Backlog of the ART, and by properly training the Portfolio-level and Program-level roles to understand Systems Thinking, in order to realise that ARTs are inherently a part of a larger context.