Flight of the Bumblebee

At a high level, this "Flight of the Bumblebee" diagram illustrates the beauty of the system working, when the blue team (tool optimizers) and the yellow team (tool users) work in harmony:

Let's say the yellow team person is a fundraiser, or a programs person. They're using the CRM or the website to accomplish parts of their work. Naturally this yellow teamer periodically gets ideas about ways the tool can be improved in order to help them execute on their work more efficiently, strategically, or impactfully.

With the distributed ownership model in place, instead of this yellow teamer having to try to figure out how to execute on this idea alone -- navigating the confusing world of developers and platforms and limitless technical options -- this yellow teamer now knows exactly who to go to for help: the product manager on the product team. The blue teamer.

They sit down and have a conversation. Questions are asked, clarifications are sought, objectives are explained. And then the real beauty of this system happens. The product manager heads off onto the various complex and looping paths required to work through technology complexities, and the yellow teamers go back to their work!!! They go back to fundraising, or communications, or programs. Which is exactly what they want to be doing, and what the organization wants them to do. They're spending their time working in their area of expertise.

At some point the parties come back together and discuss options. "Well," says the product manager, "we have 3 options. Let me explain the costs and benefits and let's figure out the best path from here." They have another productive meeting and decide on next steps. And then more magic: everyone goes back to focusing on their own area of expertise. The blue teamer problem geeks out on solving the technology problem and the yellow teamer goes back to fundraising or communications or programs. 

The blue teamer, of course, continues to pull in the yellow team colleague throughout the process, at each point where their subject matter domain knowledge is needed, and together they move the project forward hitting its strategic mark, each playing their essential part in the opera.

It's such a simple concept, but so profoundly helpful in practice. It's about putting everyone in a position where they know exactly where to go, can work together in service of the organization's objectives, and can spend their time focused on their areas of interest and expertise.

The Curriculum