“No Silos” is one of the basic principles of agile management, and probably one of the hardest to implement. This concept contradicted current management theories like scientific management, bureaucracy, and administration. We can find the concept of “no-silos” both in Chaos Theory and Complex Adaptive System.

One of the primary elements of chaos theory is fractals. Fractals are simple rules and parts that are repeating one another to create complex and chaos structure. Fractal thinking is based on the concept of fractals, and it different from analytic thinking. While analytical thinking views elements in the system are distinct, unique and not repetitive; Fractal thinking sees items within the system as repeating one each other and as interlinked. No-Silos principle expects an organization to follow fractal thinking and replace current departments (silos) with repetitive and interlinked hybrid groups that composed of people with different expertise and experience. No more IT group or the Marketing department or HR. Easy to say, hard to do.

From Complex adaptive system point of view, emergence and self-organize are the main attributes that explain why there shouldn’t be any silos in systems that need to deal with complexity and be adaptive. The best example is our body. We have several subs-systems in our bodies like the blood sub-system, bone sub-system, and nervous subsystem. If you take any part of your body, you’ll find those three subsystems working together. Not as silos but as interlinked sub-systems. You can’t compare your body systems to the marketing department working with the production department.

Successful organisms and eco-systems succeeded in being agile and survive for many years. Their life span compared to a modern organization in the last 100 years should be a warning sign. A sign that specialization and silos were a perfect fit for the linear business world, but they are not working for a complex business world.

Although it is hard to implement, No-Silos are essential for your business. We started to see No-Silos in Agile development and DevOps implementation (even temporary in matrix structures), but those are limited to IT/Development departments.

What you need to do is to break those departments.


1 Comment

Galaxies - Using non-deterministic management systems to become industry leader · March 11, 2019 at 1:21 pm

[…] No Silos (CT- fractal): Instead of departments of expertise, a hybrid group builds from all needed experience to reach a purpose and fulfill a given function. […]

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