Remove duplication & bias

source: Simon Wardley

In any large organisation there are people building things that already exist somewhere else in the organisation. They’re not doing this because they’re evil or stupid. They’re doing this because they simply have no systematic way of knowing what other silos in the organisation are doing.

Left unchecked this situation creates a huge amount of waste in an organisation. And the sheer amount of duplication (repeated instances of the same technology or activity) in large organisations vastly exceeds anything most people expect. While the ‘general rule of thumb’ is that any technology, process or activity is duplicated six times across (ex, six CRM systems, six different project teams working on the same app, six providers supplying the same thing) to the horror of many duplicated efforts can run into the dozens or even hundreds (see table above).

To add insult to injury in every organisation there are also people building things they could easily buy as products, rent as services or outsource to experienced providers. Again, they’re not doing this because they’re evil or stupid. They’re doing this because organisations simply have no systematic way of challenging what people in silos are doing.

Left unchecked this situation also leads to a huge amount of waste in the organisation. But the worrying thing is that the sheer amount of bias (choosing to build, buy or outsource based on personal preferences rather than awareness of what users want or what the market lacks) in organisations is far more threatening than most people expect. You may think it’s great to build your own piece of technology rather than buying an expensive product from the market. But unless the market sees your offering as a better alternative you will make no money from it. And, when the person who built it finally moves on from your organisation, you’ll have trouble maintaining it. It’ll become part of your future toxic legacy that you’ll end up spending millions on some consultancy to clean up.

The best response is to dealing with the these issues is to stop doing this. The next step is then to start removing historical duplication & bias as this is eating up to 90% of your current IT budget. Cleaning up your IT jungle, aligning teams and re-directing resources to more productive areas will generate a solid ROI (return on investment). But to do this you first need to see the situation more clearly and that requires a map. So, visit powermaps.net to learn more and while there get in touch with us for our free workbook explaining more about ‘Removing Duplication & Bias’ in your organisation.

Govern the state by being straight-forward; wage war by being crafty. — Laozi