They are telling me how to do my job!
I’m sure many of you have heard that before from someone in your organization. The role you entrusted them with is being infringed upon by someone else. This may be due to the role not being properly filled, a change in the needs of the role, or someone else taking the initiative to gain more responsibility. This can be used as an opportunity to grow but the solution should take into account the principle of encapsulation.
What is encapsulation?
Encapsulation is a software engineering principle that states all of the actions and information related to a particular area of a system should be self-contained in that area. It is designed to provide simplicity and a clear understanding of what code is responsible for each piece of functionality.
Similarly in an organization, each role is created to handle a specific function. That role alone should handle the related tasks and information of that function. An organization should trust and empower each role to execute its responsibility. This does not mean that you are creating silos that do not communicate effectively but instead roles that are confident in their place and communicate their value clearly to others. Organizations that follow the principle of encapsulation have an unambiguous structure and a well-organized flow of information.
[ en-kap-suh-ley-shuhn ]
the placement of all tasks and information related to a function inside of a single role
Encapsulation requires trust and ownership. If a role does not take full ownership over its responsibilities then some of that responsibility falls to others. This failure breaks encapsulation and scatters the previously tidy role across the organization. Instead of distributing responsibility haphazardly, it is best to understand why the breakdown in encapsulation has occurred and address the issue in that context.
Encapsulation may be a software engineering principle but it has value when applied to the business world as well.
Let me know on Twitter how you define encapsulation in a business context. 🙏
Warning Signs / Code Smells
What are the signs of a potential breakdown in encapsulation?
You hear people complaining that an area of the organization is telling them how to do their job
Why: This could mean one role feels the need to handle part of another role
You receive versions of the same data from two different parts of the organization
Why: This could mean that two or more departments are taking ownership of the same data set