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Topics: Communications Management, IT Project Management, Strategy
Working with "Silos"
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In past jobs I've run into issues with silos, where departments do things their own way and refuse to change\adapt or work together with the other departments. This would usually increase the workload and cause delays in the project timeline.

Has anyone had any success dealing with this scenario? Any help or suggestions would be appreciated for this aspiring PM.

Thank you.
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As a PM, you may not have the influence to break down the silos. You can point them out and explain the detriment they bring to the organization, but it's probably up to others to guide any re-organization efforts.

In the meantime, you can be a bridge builder between those silos by pro-actively creating and maintaining communication channels.
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There is not companies without siloes based architecture. Putting this is terms of roles that you can find inside the PMI, that is because the business analyst role has been experimented sustained and hihger growth in the last 5 years. Business Analyst duties is to integrate silos behind the solution.
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Jeffrey,

I have a saying: Projects without accountability and aligned objectives render their own economy, whose currency is avoidance.

For siloed departments to get on board a given project, upper management needs to pass down “aligned objectives,” otherwise, you will continue to get the “avoidance factor.” You can help management accomplish this task, by using formal methods and practices like the “Project Charter” and have executive management and department heads be signatories on the document. Although not guaranteeing full cooperation, this is a practical step you can make.

If you are using a formal methodology and are still having problems, then that’s a different situation. If that’s the case for you, then you can look at the contributions section of my profile and you will find content that relates to this type of concern.
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I feel that when we say SILOS in a department it is more like comfort zone and the set of practices department is following for the years. Probably conducting a session with key members from different departments and understanding their view points on adoptability to change may work.
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As always communication is the key. Also when working with silos, flexibility can help avoid frictions. You have to understand their constraints and also be clear on yours, then you start to negotiate an agreement and a framework of your cooperation. The first time is always difficult, then it becomes easier.
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1 reply by Sultana Khan
May 17, 2019 1:08 AM
Sultana Khan
...
But here there is a catch, the BA or PM needs to understand what is the cost of waiting for the SILOS to actually start communicating, because the major risk here is indeed communication. The major risks would be that they may either avoid or misguide. Avoidance is still convertible and serviceable. But misguidance is a blunder and not good for the health of any project.
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Jeffrey -

Welcome to PM in the matrix! Building strong relationships with the functional managers within the siloes and finding ways to connect the project's goals to the department's goals can help, but breaking down siloes will usually take a fair bit of commitment and effort on the part of leadership.

Kiron
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Your project sponsor should be breaking the walls for you. She should be championing your project's mission with the C-suite.

In the meantime, the best you can do is to "contain" the required work from the resisting unit. Document your dependencies and make sure they are highlighted in your project status reports.
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Some good feedback here and I would like to add that I agree with Sergio - it is the job of the analyst to help you align the silos. While you might probably not change the big picture thinking what you can do is to get people talking and agreeing about what direction they should be pulling. The phenomenon of shadow IT is a big culprit when it comes to ringfencing business requirements and from experience that getting business owners to co-operate across the fence is very achievable if you establish common goals.
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May 16, 2019 6:03 PM
Replying to Tarik Chougua
...
As always communication is the key. Also when working with silos, flexibility can help avoid frictions. You have to understand their constraints and also be clear on yours, then you start to negotiate an agreement and a framework of your cooperation. The first time is always difficult, then it becomes easier.
But here there is a catch, the BA or PM needs to understand what is the cost of waiting for the SILOS to actually start communicating, because the major risk here is indeed communication. The major risks would be that they may either avoid or misguide. Avoidance is still convertible and serviceable. But misguidance is a blunder and not good for the health of any project.
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Thank you everyone for the (very helpful) information.
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