Approaching wicked problems

The goal is to not just solve problems within the constraints of departments, but rather to take a holistic approach.

Wicked problems

One of the principles of agile development is that teams self-organise and find the best way to solve problems, since they have the most context and understanding of what needs to happen. People will not self-organise around a system they do not understand. In large organisations there are very few people who know and fully understand the end-to-end value chain that a customer moves through when dealing with the organisation. There are common reasons for this with the first being how organisations are structured.

It is very easy for silos to form between different departments or business units within the organisation, with a lack of focus on integration and working together.

The second reason for this lack of understanding within the organisation is due to the knowledge distribution.

Knowledge changes over time and often the reference material is not kept up to date. The distribution of knowledge gets fragmented due to the silos highlighted above, and political circumstances in the business can lead to people creating knowledge empires in their own departments instead of distributing it to the larger organisation.

Churn in employees is a big risk to any organisation as they take years of knowledge and experience with them that you cannot easily replace by just hiring a new employee. Key person dependencies can compound the knowledge distribution risk within the organisation, so making an effort to create workshops like event storming is a good way to share that knowledge with more employees which lowers the risk of key man dependencies.

Event Storming

Event storming is a technique that is used to cross the boundaries between multiple departments within an organisation and bring people from various disciplines together to define and map out the things they do that add value to their customer.

This technique’s sole objective is to bring people from business, UX, development, marketing and other departments together to understand what everyone is doing on a day-to-day basis.

It is not constrained by any system boundaries and enables people to use a simple ubiquitous language to describe events within their specific business domain. Once the full picture is on a large canvas, the teams can collaborate around pain points or hand over points between departments to solve problems which at first appear to be seemingly complex in nature.  

You can learn more about event storming and how to utelise it within your organisation here.

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