I was discussing my last post about capability maps with David Winders and we got into a discussion about the timing of work o organisation structure. David was explaining that one of the benefits of capability maps is that it keeps the analysis and discussion away from organisational structure. This makes it possible to engage all the senior people in the work without the inevitable posturing for power.
I pointed out that good value chain maps do the same job. They focus people’s attention on the work that needs to be done not the organisational units who will do the work.
But, David then said that he likes to leave work on organisational structure to last in his operating model projects, whereas I like to do this thinking straight after value chain thinking. So my model POLIST (son of PILOS) – has Processes first and Organisation second. Interestingly, David’s model CCPPOLDAT (Customer, Channel, Product, Process, Organisation, Location, Data, Application, Technology) also has organisation after process. But, in practice, he likes to leave work on organisation as late as possible to allow as much engagement as possible.
I am sharing this because I have not thought deeply about the order in which I do things. Hence David’s comments caused me to stand back and wonder whether he is right. I recognise the politics that surface as soon as you start talking about organisation. But I have usually found that my organisation modelling tool and the 9 tests of good design are powerful enough to cut through the politics. Also, “I” in POLIST, standing for IT and other Links, cannot be addressed fully without knowing what the organisation structure is: after all the links that need to be addressed are those that cut across the organisation structure. So, the value of doing structure early is that these linkage issues are exposed early.
However, I could do work on Location and Suppliers and People Model (a part of organisation) and some IT issues before focusing on structure. So I am interesting in trying this out.