Virtually every company we talk to today has just one thing on its mind: going faster! For many of them, this means shortening their time-to-market. The good news is that there is a simple and effective way to do this: break down the silos in your internal organization.
Today, projects are increasingly cross-functional. Yet teams from different departments still work on separate files, tools and data. The only time information is synchronized is at formal interdepartmental meetings, which are typically only held on a monthly basis. Many times the people you need to meet with may not have been told about the meeting, in addition, teams may have taken a different route due to lack of correspondence and collaboration from a different department. These frustrating situations can wipe out weeks or even months of work. As I’m sure we have all experienced all too often, 80% of the meeting time is wasted on collecting information from everybody and only 20% is spent making the necessary decisions.
Surefire signs that your teams are working in silos
If you work in Retail, you may like to read 5 true stories that are perfect examples of a silo organization (click to download).
Here are a few more general signs:
- The reporting data sent in by different departments cannot be consolidated because calculation methods vary from one department to another;
- You discover at a meeting that one of the teams used an outdated version of a document, effectively cancelling out the work done over the last few months;
- Projects have been on standby for 2 weeks or more because you’re waiting for someone else’s endorsement, or for information from another department that is too “busy” to reply.
This type of operation, which is also quite common, takes a heavy toll on finances, quality and deadlines.
When you work in silos, any action taken, warnings issued or decisions made are not shared in real time. This non-alignment of teams is the main reason projects fall behind schedule. Often it doesn’t occur to teams to pass their results on to other departments because they have no idea that these results might have an impact… and yet they usually do. It’s vitally important to break down silos to facilitate real-time collaboration within teams. Don’t let the miles, floors or even a 6 inches plasterboard wall between different departments or a head office and its subsidiaries prevent communication and collaboration.
Breaking down silos: is it Mission Impossible?
One2Team’s Help Desk teams (in charge of walking our customers through the implementation and “getting started” phases) often field this type of objection. Some prospective users get cold feet at the idea that other departments might know what they’re doing and what results they are getting, even though they suffer from this lack of collaboration. This is the way a rogue or cowboy project manager behaves. He or she doesn’t want to be upfront about issues for fear of being criticized, and only tells people about problems when it’s almost too late to do anything about them!
But once they start using the platform, they realize how collaboration can save so much time and how much easier their lives become. Once the frustration is gone, they also realize that not everything is available for others to see and that, even when it is, everyone is too busy with their own work to worry about what a colleague is doing. Meetings become more efficient. They are no longer spent establishing the project’s progress status or collecting information, but on making decisions and dealing with “show-stoppers”.
Collaborative platforms: the solution for breaking down silos
We all know that geographic distance – and this includes sitting across the corridor from your colleague – stops information from circulating. However it has become essential to streamline and speed up the flow of information about decisions made and results observed, for everyone’s benefit. This is possible today with the latest collaborative platforms, which use the power of Cloud computing to simplify communication and make important information and weak-signal warnings accessible in real time.
One2Team is one of these new-generation solutions. The One2Team platform simplifies actions and develops collaboration through easy-to-use tools co-developed with users. And because the platform is configurable, it reflects the organization’s business processes.