Departmental silos cause problems for all kinds of organizations. In the book Silos, Politics and Turf Wars, Patrick Lencioni writes, “Silos – and the turf wars they enable – devastate organizations. They waste resources, kill productivity and jeopardize the achievement of goals.”
For organizations embracing the fast-paced Agile or DevOps development practices, silos can be particularly detrimental. In fact, they can be the very obstacle that prevents an organization from being able to adopt these methods.
“Silos do not fit well into Agile, where team members take on overlapping, cross-functional roles to design, develop, test and deploy, and where frequent collaboration is required,” explains Ritesh Kaul, senior VP of emids Client Solutions and Practices in the Integrating BA and QA in Healthcare IT whitepaper. “This workflow becomes more accelerated in DevOps, where extreme automation comes to play and weekly or daily releases are the norm. As a result, in healthcare and elsewhere, enterprises are struggling to make the leap to Agile. The organizational structure or its culture often seem at odds with the intent.”
One solution that can help break down these silos and improve efficiency in healthcare IT product development is BA/QA integration, where business analyst and quality assurance team members are co-located and, whenever possible, merged into the same role. Here are three ways BA/QA integration can break down communication barriers that cause the silo mentality.
The goal of any organization should be no silos. Until then, two silos are better than three. BA/QA integration consolidates deep product and process expertise into key individuals and reduces silos to just two groups: BA/QA and development.
In a past Forbes post “The Silo Mentality: How to Break Down the Barriers,” Brent Gleeson explains that there are four key factors in creating a productive team: knowledge, collaboration, creativity and confidence. “Without these four basic factors, any team is destined to fail,” he notes. “To encourage your teams to exhibit all four of these traits, it is recommended that management allows and fosters cross-departmental interaction. The exchange of knowledge and the collaboration that will inevitably take place between teams is absolutely priceless.” To do this, Gleeson adds, it’s important to implement a cross-departmental training and education program.
Speeds Up Workflow
With BA/QA integration, the BA/QA manager is in close touch with not only development, helping them work faster, but also with product managers and sales teams. This, according to Kaul, allows the team to “develop new requirements and validate them in a coordinated, streamlined fashion without the risk of incomplete knowledge transfer.”