Concern about turf wars is natural, especially when you're accustomed to pervasive technology dysfunction. Often, turf around tech systems like the website CMS or the CRM database has been grabbed because of the frustration of systems working poorly and making people's jobs harder. Someone gets fed up, leads a temporary reclamation project, and holds onto their new turf for dear life thereafter.
And yet, the frustrations persist. Why? Because it takes real expertise to do more than create stopgap solutions. Yes, you may ensure your contact list isn’t used by another team, but you don’t have the time to build a robust solution that gives you a 360 degree understanding of your contacts. So your contact is safe, but your understanding is incomplete. That would require coordination, collaboration, and trust, as well as an in depth understanding of the different technical options out there in the world and someone to wrangle all the data together. Who’s going to do all of that? Someone who’s already busy with another full-time job? Some external IT consultant clocking in every day with limited understanding and context about your organization?
When roles are well defined — when people get the support they need and digital products like the website and CMS start to hit a new trajectory of quality and utility — turfiness starts to dissipate. Give people a real ally who sits down and really listens to their key concerns… who understands their importance, and dedicates themselves protecting their data and their mission… who helps deliver better products for them to work with and improved processes for their team’s everyday use…. In that scenario people tend to happily come on board. Who wouldn't.
Better alignment is what the entire distributed ownership model is about, and what the entire product team approach is about. How can we find both larger structures and smaller interventions every day, where we can better align the structures and roles so that everyone has excitement and incentive about rowing in the same direction and making each other more effective?