Burn down your silo

Sometimes the only way to tear down a silo is with fire.

Sometimes your silos need to be burned down.

I was recently talking to a Scrum Master in a tough spot.

“Only one person on the team has significant domain knowledge, making him a serious bottleneck for the entire team has he is needed to explain everything to everyone, do all the code reviews, etc.”

Sound typical?

“And he’s quitting.”


My response?

“That sounds like great news.”

“I mean, I know it sounds like terrible news. But that domain knowledge that only he holds is a silo. Sometimes the only way to tear down a silo is with fire.”

I’ve been in this “one person knows all the things” situation at many companies. And I’ve seen that person quit in virtually all of them.

And you know what?

As soon as the team is no longer leaning on that person, they inevitably find the will to learn what they need to know about the system. And the entire team and company benefited as a result.

I’ve always seen this sort of “bad news” turn out to be very good news indeed.

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