There are times, when every conversation you have with one of your colleagues or family member just brings up a myriad of potential posts for a blog. The latest discussion was around clean your own sandbox. We have written about this in the past, but from a prioritization perspective, that is, why solve a problem within your sandbox that is costing the company tens of thousands, when you have problems across the variety of sandboxes that cost the company millions of dollars. We coupled this with a Pareto discussion as the means to determine which of our sandbox problems is causing the costliest problem.
In my experience, sandboxes are associated with functional organizations. Each subset of the organization develops a specific focus area and skills allowing for specialization. However, there is more to this than fix your sandbox. For example, it would be a truly unusual company in which each sandbox is totally independent of another. In my experience, that is not the case. It may be that not all sandboxes or departments are interconnected, but in my experience, many of these departments are interdependent. Therefore, solving a problem within one sandbox may cause another problem in another. Treating a system, as a collection of individual or discrete and independent groups is not the best approach to system optimization or even adjustments and improvements. We end up looking too much at a tree and become unable to describe or create the forest.
Another form of Sandbox
It would be a very narrow focused department or company indeed, that did not have interactions between departments that would have an impact or implication on those other connected departments. One way around this would be to structure the organization by product, specifically, we structure the work teams in ways that include all of the people required for the work on that product contained within one group, essentially eliminating or greatly curtailing the silo effect that comes with functional organizations. In this way, the sandbox is no longer one of many steps along the way in a chain of inter depending sub-organizations.
The organization is a collection of subsystems that make up the entire entity. Those that think it is possible to just “fix” or adjust discrete subsystems without looking at the whole will only see so much improvement and likely will cause issues with the other subsystems that connected or depending upon the system being tampered.