I get into a lot of discussions that center around decoupling “problems” from “solutions”. The topic comes up most often when trying to define roles and responsibilities, and workflows (e.g. how early should Person-Team-Functional Group X get involved with Initiative Y).
It dawned on me the other day that these conversations are often missing the point…they’re avoiding the elephant in the room. It is easy to talk about handoffs and make broad “build the right thing” vs. “build the right thing right” proclamations, and much harder to ask:
Is it working?
Because when you boil the issue down, there is typically a lack of confidence regarding outcomes. The whole discussion is a proxy.
Yes, sometimes I do hear someone say:
You know, our company knocks it out of the park every frickin’ time. We’re doing amazing work. I see the value my work brings to humans every day. I just wish I had a little more say in how we solve the problems.
…but this is very, very rare, and most often in the healthy context of someone trying to craft (or advance in) their personal career.
So what happens is that you get into elaborate debates about frameworks, process change, methodologies, the org chart, and the history of certain roles (e.g. “well design has always been ….”). Instead of stating bluntly: