Haupz Blog

... still a totally disordered mix

Autonomy and Silos

2021-09-16 — Michael Haupt

Following up on a recent note on autonomy and accountability, here's an article with a provocative title saying that "autonomous, self-organizing teams don't work". Two key quotes:

In an organization guided by the concept of interrelatedness, when another team comes and asks for help, we say “Yes,” because we’re working for the same organization. Whereas the default answer in Scrum is, “No, put it in our backlog.”


Responsible teams make good decisions and function in a healthy way within the larger organizational ecosystem.

Indeed, no team works entirely on its own in a sufficiently large organisation. Teams insisting on doing that are silos, and that usually doesn't help the greater goal of the company they're part of. I'd even go one step further and scale the two quotes down to individual team members. No member of a team works in isolation, maximising their own productivity - it's always about maximising throughput for the team. Individuals can also be silos, and that's just as unhelpful as siloed teams or organisations.

In other words, "I just want to be left alone and do my work" isn't an acceptable stance - it's always your work in a greater context.

Tags: work