About the Book
The traditional approach to organizational design has got it wrong, completely wrong.
The way we structure organizations, along with the accompanying management system, is based on concepts that are over 100 years old, and is built to meet the needs of the industrial age. The goal back then was to drive down the price of production, and eliminate scarcity. Organizations did this through the principles of division, standardization and control.
But we are no longer live in the industrial age. We live in an age of change, an age of uncertainty, an age of complexity.
From hierarchy to value network, from command and control to self-organization, from departments to teams, many organizations no longer create value the way they used to. But organizational design as not kept pace.
We need for a different approach to getting organized, one based on a new way of thinking about organizations.
This book provides a set of thinking tools and design skills to help your leaders grow structure that promotes, rather than inhibits, agility. Change agents all types can use this book to help them design their organization around value creation, rather than the familiar concepts of control, bureaucracy, and power.
Agile Organizational Design presents new methods guided by a very different mindset than the one that help up design organization for the industrial age. This book will present how to design organizing structure around the following principles.
Principles for Agile Organizational Design
Organize around Teams
Team matter more than departments. Teams that are cross-functional. Comprised of people who are both experts in their respective fields, but also able to pinch hit and swap roles. We need to design for teams that are both capable and empowered to get the job done with a minimum of interference. Key is the ability of people to team with each other. Another is putting the right support structures in place to enable those teams to be successful.
Organize Through Markets
Avoid adding a slew of mandated centralized services. Instead, connect teams through markets. Set up any enterprise services up as voluntary, and bring the benefit of market mechanics inside your organization; and avoid the cruft, senselessness, and even immorality that comes with command side decision making.
Organize For Change
The real world is not always so accommodating to the need for dedicated, stable teams, that have minimal handoffs with other teams, Change happens. And we will need to adapt. Team stability and no cross team hand-offs often counteract each other. The answer is to arm our knowledge workers with the insight and understanding required to form together into teams..
Organize Around Social and Domain Boundaries
Teams of 5 -8 is often the golden rule in most agile circles. But if we want to scale with agility we need to consider how to achieve social density are larger scales. Structuring people into groups of 5, 15, 35, 150 all have merit when we think about varying levels of social density. We can also take a page from Domain Drive Design and align our organization and solution architecture according to domains that can be delivered and managed by independent, full stack teams.
As I go through how to incorporate these principle into your organization, I'll share a set of *organizing constraints* we can use when thinking about our organizational design. Ignoring any one of these constraints means we are likely to have less organizational agility a a result.
Another key aspect of this book are team Collaboration patterns, used to discuss different ways a person can engage with teams to create value. They are especially helpful for people who provide support functions and want to understand their place in an increasingly agile world.
This book is written so that the reader is taken through simpler concepts that apply to smaller scales at first. These concepts are then elaborated and expanded upon as the book progresses, using real world examples to articulate these various concepts and practices
About the Author
My mission in life is to help technology knowledge workers be awesome at what they do. Having been in the market since 1994, I have transitioned my initial passion for agile software engineering to provide advisory services to clients that want to thrive in a world of uncertainty and learning.
Over the last several years I have been running an Agile/Lean transformation service to help clients move from command and control towards feedback and self organization.
Our team has a solid track record coaching teams on foundational agile practices, guiding end to end organizational transformation to embrace a more agile mindset, and focused coaching of product and operations teams on how to embrace design thinking and validated learning.
I admit to an unbridled enthusiasm for any method or practice that bring creativity and joy to the value creation process, and get a kick out of turning leading edge thinking into contextualized, practical tools.
I also love to supercharge complex workshops through a combination of crowd awareness, passion, and above all humour. I’ll often iterate over a vast array of models/workshops in real time to adapt to the crowd's thinking and evolving goal of the session.
My most important skill is growing the talent around me. I continue to provide passionate, motivated people with a suite of leading edge skills that take their leadership to the next level.
I have presented at numerous conferences, nominated for a Brickell Key award, and am a founding fellow of the Lean System Society. I have also wrote a book on agile organizational change, The Lean Change Method.