Bring in the expert

I’ve been involved in a few projects where an expert in a particular field was tasked with working on an aspect of the project. It was assumed that as they were experts that they should be able to figure what is required and come up with the best solution. Invariably they don’t. Being experts doesn’t make them mind readers.

Tabla Rasa doesn’t work.

There is no such thing as a blank slate. Briefing is important. Providing background and contextual information helps the expert to see where their contributions fit in, working in isolation with the barest of facts may seem like it helps the expert focus but it makes the work harder and means the results won’t be what was expected.

Self-organising shouldn’t mean isolated

With Agile adoption came the idea of self-organising teams that could be given a piece of a project and then left to figure out the best way to deliver that piece. The downside of taking this approach too far is that the teams of experts aren’t involved enough with the other aspects of the project, they work in isolation, and produce out-of-context and sometimes unusable results.