Inspired by a friend of mine and his encounter with a Fenceless Gatekeeper.
You have coordinated a team and established a plan for your project. Your leaders are satisfied with your preparedness and approve your project. Like a band of adventurers, you and your team go forth on the journey laid out. As with all good adventure stories, you don’t get very far before trouble emerges. One of your teammates (we’ll call him Drake) raises a concern about the mountain you must climb. The unformed disquiet seems immune to reason as Drake continues to revisit the topic, refining his hypothetical pitfalls. Despite his fervor, the rest of the team decides the concerns aren’t relevant to the current state of the work. Drake digs in and demands each step up the mountain be planned out before he allows any further progress. He has now revealed himself as the Fenceless Gatekeeper.
Drake is a Fenceless Gatekeeper, because his demand for structured decisions is irrelevant to context. A gate without a fence is not only useless, it’s confusing. While the Fenceless Gatekeeper can be genuine in their demand for structure, they may also use this demand as an excuse subvert the final outcome.
Credit to : James Martin (@Pundamentalism) February 9, 2013
Of course, the Fenceless Gatekeeper doesn’t exercise control that would reasonably stop the team. There isn’t a fence around the gate, after all. However, the Fenceless Gatekeeper creates effort as the team tries to understand the contextless concerns with their current state. More importantly, Drake forces the team into deciding whether to comply with his irrelevant structure or leave him behind and risk not having the manpower to complete their project; just the kind of nonsense that will quickly make you as irrelevant as a Fenceless Gate in the middle of a prairie.