This is one of the hardest issues to tackle and I am not sure I have an answer.
I coined a phrase after the particular engagement that brought me down to earth with a bump, the phrase is ‘ volume and frequency don’t make competence’
In all organisations there are people who voice an opinion, some speak loudly and some speak often. Some of these types are good and some not so. Some people have real expertise but for some reason don’t want to come forward.
I have come to realise that the proof is in the pudding.
Again Agile and DevOps can be your friends here. If you are working closely with the business to define, develop and deliver something in a small team there is no hiding place. The business owner will be interacting on a daily basis with everyone in the team and the real experts, the people with the ability to lead and the people with the ability to solve complex problems will come to the fore. Similarly, the day to day dynamic of the project will also expose those that are the true “team players” – those for whom the overall success of the project is of far greater importance than any personal kudos or reward. Rooting out those only in it for themselves becomes of even greater importance in an Agile and DevOps world.
In huge organisations I am not sure it will ever be possible to really appreciate the true experts, the ones you can rely on to deliver. I therefore look forward to more enterprises adopting Agile and DevOps, creating smaller teams within teams so that eventually the best will bubble to the top. With Agile and DevOps there is no Hiding Place for the Incompetent.