Process silos get a bad rap. They’re blamed for process failures. In reality, silos happen naturally and organically as work volume grows. We have to specialize tasks for efficiency, as in “Joe, you focus on this task and hand your work off to Jane. She’ll focus on the next task.” And so on.
Eventually, Joe or Jane needs help so we add staff or technology, and a silo develops. Sometimes cross-training Joe and Jane helps the workflow. But silos — task-focused teams are inevitable and necessary. As some volume of growth, Marketing will partition from Sales, who will partition from Order Fulfillment, who will partition from Accounts Receivable, for example.
Silos require workflow design and oversight — process management by any other title. That means adding overhead labor. How work is handed off between silos must be deliberate and watched. The quality of work handed off must be fit for use, something best negotiated by experts from the giving and receiving silo, including how they’ll communicate the hand-off. In other words, silos without deliberate workflow management will fail to deliver the efficiencies they promise.
Silos that do not collaborate up and down stream fail.
Look for workflow design or oversight mistakes first.