In this Lightning Cast, we explore whether or not business stakeholders and technology teams should stay on their own lanes and not cross over to other areas.


A Lightning Cast is a shorter form episode modeled after lightning talks.  You’ll get valuable content in 8 minutes or less.

I recently attended a dinner for conference advisory board meeting and a colleague of mine mentioned that people should stay in their lanes.  What exactly does that mean?

It means that stakeholders should stay out of the technology solution space and stick with defining the business problem.  Technology teams should also stay out of the business spaces and do what they do best; creating valuable technology solutions that meet the business needs.

That concept has some merit.  When stakeholders stay in their lane, they won’t dictate technology solutions.  That allows the technology teams and engineers to use their creativity, so the solution is technically feasible and we can explore multiple options.

If technology stays in their lane and out of the business lane, they stay focused on the scope of the problem or opportunity and avoid gold plating and unnecessary features that customers won’t use.

This also means that other teams such as Information Security should stick to what they do best; ensure that data is safe.  Legal should stick to what they do best; reviewing information to ensure compliance with the laws and provide input.

If everyone stays in their lanes, there is no crossover and in no accidents.  But I think there’s another way.

What if instead of everyone staying in their lane, we get the right people in the right seats on the same bus.  That way we are all headed to the same destination together.

There will be no finger-pointing that this person did not give me what I need or we’re waiting on that person.  We would work together as one cohesive unit.  We would have the alignment we need to get to the same destination together and the autonomy within our own seats to do what we do best.

Having alignment means that we’re all headed in the same direction will the same vision of the goal.   Autonomy means that we have the freedom and flexibility to be able to perform our jobs however we choose to perform them as long as we’re all reaching the same goal.

We need high alignment and high autonomy.  That allows us to create great solutions to the right problems while using our creativity to get things done our own way.

Instead of everyone staying in their lane, let’s get in the same lane . . . as long as we’re in the same vehicle heading towards the right destination together.

How can you create that sense of alignment, autonomy, and collaboration within the team so that everyone is open to sharing knowledge and working toward that same destination together?


Listen to the full episode to explore this tricky question.


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