Recognizing where you are a One Deep Organization

I worked an a large company where many of our critical teams were One Deep.  There was basically one senior person or manager that really understood how that team operated. They had backup and other people but in the end the right decision or action only took place if that person was involved. The company struggled to thrive or thrive or maintain early mover advantages without them.

Organizational health requires continuous attention and adjustment. Skills and responsibility depth can be an important metric. Teams need to continually groom people to move into gaps in the existing organization or gaps resulting from individual staff changes. It is easy to see how this happens with small teams, 3-10, but you can seen it with groups as large as 30-40 people.


  • How many people understand the process?
  • How much impact would a 6 week sabbatical have?
  • How many people take the middle
  • of the night call?
  • Do many decisions depend on having one particular person?
  • How current"A" players are there?
  • How many future "A" players are there?


  • Plan for people leaving teams.
  • Adopt an Agile mentality that creates short cycle times that lets people step up in smaller increments.
  • Create a promotion path for the critical party so they want to level up others.
  • Create awareness and a plan with critical party.
  • Create paired teams.
  • Identify and groom candidates for additional responsibilities.

Quick Talk


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