No Wrong Channels

I really like this No Wrong Doors approach, and I think we can learn a lot from it in modern knowledge organizations:

Some governmental agencies have started to adopt No Wrong Door policies, which aim to provide help–often health or mental health services–to individuals even if they show up to the wrong agency to request help. The core insight is that the employees at those agencies are far better equipped to navigate their own bureaucracies than an individual who knows nothing about the bureaucracy’s internal function. […]

Something I’ve been thinking about recently is how engineering organizations can adopt a variant of the No Wrong Doors policy to directly connect folks with problems with the right team and information. Then the first contact point becomes a support system for navigating the bureaucracy successfully.

The Slackification of the workplace has, among other things, resulted in too many different places someone might be able to go for help. It’s frustrating to be sent from team to team, with no one really taking the time to understand and assist with the problem. What if we took a “No Wrong Channel” approach instead? I know it takes a bit of extra time, but I think it’s a worthy goal to become “a support system for navigating the bureaucracy successfully” when someone wanders into our team channel with a question that is not necessarily in our direct sphere of influence.