The most interesting part of a ouija board session is that results are generated. After the candles have been lit and the chants have been moaned, the ouija board actually creates words. The participants all pull and push in different directions, with none of them feeling in control. This chaos would seem wasteful, yet somehow words begin to emerge from the board. The ouija board is successful in producing results, but it is missing any real value.
When an engineering team does not have clear guidance and a strong focus, it begins to function like a ouija board. The different teams pull and push in different directions, none of the teams feel in control, and the results are random and lacking in any real value.
A roadmap can help to break the cycle of ouija board engineering. It is important that all of the teams and individuals working on a project dont just see the next quarter of work, but understand how value is going to be generated over the next 12-18 months.
The goal is to stop producing scattered work like the words spiraling out of a ouija board, and instead produce incremental work that is building towards common goals and themes. Your ouija board should be writing words that form sentences that tell a story, not creating random work that looks productive.