The baby-product analogy

What if a baby had each of his needs served by a different woman?

  • one woman to change his diapers;
  • another to feed him;
  • another to wash him;
  • another to dry him;
  • another to change him;
  • and so on…

And what if each of those women was specialized in just one thing and that each of them served many babies a day, not just one?

Assuming that babies are different, with different needs and different timings, how each baby would be in some arbitrary point in time? Hungry? Wet? Naked?

Well, this is the way most companies are organized today! You can see each product as if it were a baby, and each internal department/silo/team as a mother specialized in doing just one thing and serving many babies. How each product will be in some arbitrary point in time? Hungry? Wet? Naked?

I’m not talking just about multi-skilled teams, with testers, developers, webmasters etc, as this is well understood by all agile-be companies today, but also about multi-component and multi-department teams as well! Specially multi-department teams!

Have you ever seen a company with lots of “multi-skilled” teams where each one was working on a single component of a bigger system? Can a team be considered multi-skilled if it is unable to deliver a complete user feature?

Have you ever seen a company doing a “waterfall sandwich”, where a big spec was done before development and a big bang release was done after the development, even if the development per se was done iteratively? Was this company really agile?

Wouldn’t it be wiser to organize a company in cells, one cell for each product, with each cell containing every person needed and focused in making a product the most delightful of all as a mother does to take care of her baby, doing everything that he needs to grow healthy?

When will companies stop to optimize resource utilization and start to optimize value delivered?
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2 Responses to “The baby-product analogy”

  1. Aleksandar Pavić Says:

    Optimizing value delivered must be done trough resource utilization, or else companies end-up with death developers on their hand.

    So, the point is avoiding something like http://ea-spouse.livejournal.com/274.html?thread=49682

    The real trick of optimizing resource utilization, and having a great product is to have your team perform like orchestra, and provide great value for numerous users.

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