In my previous post I covered the phenomenon of Job Title Diffusion. That is the impact of a variety of job titles can have on a organisation.
Recently, I’ve had to examine this in more detail and found that a Causal Loop Diagram really helped to illustrate and understand the problem (see this post for more details about Causal Loop Diagrams). What I ended up with is the diagram below.
As a refresher, the S links move in the Same direction and the O links move in the Opposite direction. For example, as the
variety of job roles increase in a team also the
variety of technology and code increases in the team (S link). Also, as the
variety of job roles increases the
variety of work an individual can pick up decreases (O link).
There is a Reinforcement Loop going from
variety of job roles to
variety of work an individual can pick up to
pressure to recruit specialists and back to
variety of job roles. This often manifests itself in a vicious circle that drives the number of each type of specialist which reinforces the siloing of job role and
variety of technology and code in the team.
I’ve also recorded that having more individuals who can only pick up certain types of work can cause
pressure for more work in-progress which will negatively impact the
amount of work delivered (work takes longer to complete and is impacted by workers being unavailable). This in turn creates
pressure to recruit more specialists and fuels our Reinforcement Loop.
There are two output dangles from the system. The first of these is the
bus factor risk of the team, this is a rather macabre idea of how much the team would be impacted by an individual being hit by a bus (a bus factor of 1 would be only one person knows about this part of the system). Second, is the
pressure on team cost which is driven by the
pressure on small team size, which in turn is driven by
variety of job roles in the team.
Finally, I’ve added the intervention I suggested in my previous post as an input dangle. This is highlighted in yellow and named
encourage people to work outside their specialism. This impacts the
variety of work that an individual can pick up and starts to turn the Reinforcement Loop into a virtuous, rather than vicious, circle.