Why is working in silos a problem in technology and how can the ITIL Practitioner guiding principle of “working iteratively” help?
In one service provider company, there were four silos operating very different service delivery models and different ITIL processes, therefore slowing each other down.
To cope with these differences, we developed a process model with global processes compatible with ITIL, plus a second level of processes that were relevant to each silo. This increased the complexity of the work and forced us to think differently about the relationships between the processes in different silos.
This was challenging as each silo had a different approach to reporting and timesheet models. For example, one silo measured the progress time of a field technician while another calculated project hours. The lack of a holistic approach meant using separate systems with different reporting results. This complexity meant that executives could not assess the companies' employee working capacity with any accuracy and If you don't measure, you can't manage.
The challenge of change and improvement
When we started to analyze the situation, we used a transparent approach to explain what we wanted to achieve. Naturally, many managers were resistant because of the different models being used by the different silos. Other people, simply, wanted to remain with the existing system.
Following the analysis, we began to design new systems, although it was difficult to get the input we needed from the relevant managers.
However, we kept it simple and, first, developed a tool with a minimum capability to deliver the main objectives of obtaining time data and reporting it. Then, through iteration, we got the different silos to adopt it. Users were engaging with it early in the process, therefore saving cost and cutting the implementation time.
This approach was also useful to show if the tool had any bugs or poor user experience. Using the iterative approach, we had the chance to fix them before the whole company started to use it. Also, every iteration was an opportunity for our project team to promote the project to other departments and get other silo managers on board without pressure.
Despite thinking, at first, that an iterative approach, would be a slow process, it actually isn’t: instead, project delivery is much more error and bug-free. It also means that you spend less effort coming up against change-resistant people and more time adding new features. With the iterative approach, the total cost of project delivery is cheaper and actually very fast.
Ultimately, our completed project was a success story, with all departments using a single timesheet report that shows what’s happening across the whole company. And now, executives can easily read it, trust the data and take the necessary actions.
See our ITIL Practitioner section for more information.
Read more blogs about ITIL Practitioner Guiding Principles in action
ITIL® Practitioner Guiding Principles in action: Focus on Value
ITIL® Practitioner Guiding Principles in action: Start Where You Are