Silo Thinking Hurts Systematic Reuse

If you want to kill the potential for systematic reuse, all you have to do is think only about your silo and not about anything else. This silo could be many different things and in each case it inhibits reuse as well as the effectiveness of your team as a whole. Here are some specific examples:

  1. At the enterprise level, silo thinking can introduce very many inefficiencies and redundancies. Silo thinking will optimize solutions for a specific project at the expense of the overall firm. For example, say you have a reusable asset for calculating taxes and a new project re-implements the tax calculation business logic all over again. Or they ignore existing software infrastructure and introduce a new vendor product. This may help a specific project but adds cost and complexity to the enterprise.silos
  2. Silo thinking specific to an application means potentially reusable assets are not created and existing reusable assets are not leveraged. Think about the application’s needs to get reference data or connect with external systems or format data per a destination’s specific needs. Is your application using reusable assets? If not, is there an opportunity to create one by building or refactoring?
  3. Silo thinking specific to a team typically results in lack of reuse across projects that impact multiple teams. Do other teams in your department/division/organization know what reusable capabilities exist? do they know the overall reuse roadmap and how that aligns with business objectives? can they contribute towards growing the asset base?
  4. Silo thinking specific to a person typically results in solutions that don’t benefit other developers in the team. Maybe you have a neat utility that makes it easier to fetch correlated data across multiple data sources. Or you wrote a neat script that validates system variables or smoke tests key functionality. If they save you time and effort, why not share them with your team? Two immediate benefits will happen: other developers will start saving time as well increasing the team’s overall productivity. You will start getting constructive ideas on making these solutions better.

Have you noticed these? how do you encourage solutions that go beyond a specific silo’s needs?

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