The literature is full of suggestions to break down silos which build over time within large organizations.
I was wondering why they form in the first place. Is there maybe a benefit or a psychological reason for this tendency?
Project Management Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for project managers. It only takes a minute to sign up.Sign up to join this community
Silo's form due to local optimization of team or department goals over the goals of the whole organization. For a stark example, let's pretend I have a database team who is measured on database performance, up-time, and data integrity. Allowing others to make changes to the database can put all of these at risk, even if it means faster delivery of features or a more effective application overall. The team starts walling off their work and only focusing on their work - some time passes and you get silos.
This doesn't have to be technical concerns that create local optimization. I worked one place where a manager's bonus was based off of headcount, which in turn was based off of how much work a particular team had, so as a manager, I would be financially motivated to not let anyone do any of "our" work. This also led to extreme silo'ing. In all cases, it is reenforced by local optimization.