Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Problem with specialization


I  saw the above poster on a closed restaurant near my apartment.

First thing that came to my mind seeing this poster was “Issue with Specialization”.   

Let me share this a bit in detail:

Looking at the poster, it is clear that Chef is unavailable for 4 weeks as he is flying abroad to visit family. Due to chef’s unavailability the entire restaurant is closed for 4 weeks (or until his return).

Since Chef is the only specialist available with no “Cross Functional” team in the restaurant, any issue related to Chef impacts the entire restaurant.

Using this analogy on software development, the projects are at high risk when we have specially skilled team members with no backups .

On a lighter note, while reading the poster, you might also feel that the restaurant is being run by a non-English speaking owner.


agileajay said...

You do need a chef to cook meals at a restaurant. Cannot be done by cross-functional team "waiters".

Venkatesh Krishnamurthy said...

Agreed, chef is needed but consider this case where in if one or more of the waiters were also trained on cooking few items. In the absence of chef, atleast they could cook something and continue running the restaurant rather than shutting it down. These waiters could have ended up becoming "Generalized Specialists" . Cross Functional team is the right ground for building such Gen Specialists.