There are bottlenecks in your communication and it’s slowing your team down. Working in a large organization, there are two ways to share information collaboratively.

First, there is an open flow of information. For instance, a wiki. When I worked for the National Cancer Institute, we had a giant wiki all the technical staff used, updated and relied upon for information. It was a fantastic way to share information across teams and locations. Everyone was able to contribute to the knowledge of the group. Everyone was accountable for their changes.

Second, there is a collection of silos. This is Sharepoint. These are network drives. The silos prohibit the free-flow of information and limit it to pre-approved groups of people. Gatekeepers for those groups hold the reigns of their information tightly and in order for new people to access the information, they must be granted access.

Silos are slow.

When information is locked away inside a silo, it can take hours, or days for the information to be available to those who need it. When information is open, it can be accessed immediately and work can continue.

How many times has this happened to you? You’re at work and you need to do something for the first time. For me, that’s fairly often. When I had access to a well-manicured wiki, it was a matter of searching and finding the information I needed.

Now, I asked for where the information lived. It could be on the Intranet. It could be on Sharepoint. It could be locked away on a network drive somewhere.

I got a quick answer over email.

There are some user guides located at https://sharepointURL

Great. I clicked the link and read the guide. Now I am ready to complete the work!


Sharepoint Denied Access

I’m denied access because I am not on the pre-approved list of people who can access this how-to guide.

I replied to the email that I did not have access. I then clicked the Request access link and found this helpful page.

Sharepoint Request Access form

An anonymous form where I can Send Request. Where does it go? Who manages this access? Can I call them? Email them? No.

I completed the form with the information I needed to get access to and why. And I wait.

That was yesterday. Today, there is no answer. Nor is there any access.

I am not expecting it any time soon. There is no accountability with this system. There is no way to see where my request is or if it went anywhere.

Lip Service

Many organizations say things like we want to foster more communication and collaboration. And then they roll out tools which do precisely the opposite.

I’ve seen where a culture has grown around the open sharing of ideas and information and it’s a magical thing. But too many times information is stuck in silos.

Silos will always stifle communication and collaboration and put up unneeded road blocks. In order to foster communication and collaboration information must flow between teams seamlessly. If a person on another team needs a document, it shouldn’t involve a level of approval to make that document available.