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Org Design is (Largely) Information Architecture

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Given at the IA Conference in 2019, this talk connects the practices of org design with the practices, skills, and values from information architecture.

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Org Design is (Largely) Information Architecture

  1. 1. Org Design is (largely) an information architecture challenge Peter Merholz @peterme http://orgdesignfordesignorgs.com IN LARGE PART
  2. 2. information architecture applied to organization design
  3. 3. “Organization design is the deliberate process of configuring structures, processes, reward systems, and people practices to create an effective organization capable of achieving the business strategy.” jaygalbraith.com 🤔
  4. 4. 5 Stages of Organizational Evolution Software Products Hardware Products Environments Communications Interaction Design Information Architecture Visual Design Prototyping Industrial Design Wayfinding
 Interior Architecture Brand Identity Design Graphic Design Information Design Motion Graphics Packaging The Journey Service Design Content Copywriting
 Content Strategy Videography Photography Research Ethnographic research Usability testing Quantitative studies …Skills… …and conceptual levels 1 ft Surface 10,000 ft 1,000 ft The Big Picture 100 ft Strategy 10 ft Structure Foundation 1. Shared sense of purpose 2. Focused, empowered leadership 3. Authentic user empathy 4. Understand, articulate, and create value Management 9. Treat team members as people, not resources 10. Diversity of perspective and background 11. Foster a collaborative environment 12. Manage operations effectively Output 5. Support the entire journey 6. Delivers at all levels of scale 7. Establish and uphold standards of quality 8. Values delivery over perfection 12 Qualities of Effective Design Organizations Taxonomy of roles… Leadership Head of Design Design Manager/Director Creative Director Team Lead Director of Research Director of Design Program Management
 Staff Product Designer Communication Designer Content Strategist UX Researcher Service Designer Program Manager Creative Technologist
  5. 5. A specific case in point…
  6. 6. Skills Core Digital Design Skills User research Information architecture Interaction design Visual design Writing Service design Prototyping Front-end development Interpersonal Skills Professionalism Communication and presentation Facilitation Listening Leadership Strategy Empathy and compassion Confidence and swagger Planning Mentorship Information Architecture challenge • Uniqueness (aka splitting) • Clear, distinct labeling • Chunking (to make a point) • Rigorous and complete • Plugs into other components
  7. 7. Roles Leadership Head of Design Design Manager/Director Creative Director Team Lead Director of Research Director of Design Program Management
 Staff Product Designer Communication Designer Content Strategist UX Researcher Service Designer Program Manager Creative Technologist Information Architecture challenge • Balance between specificity and generality (between lumping and splitting) • Complete • Manageable
  8. 8. Levels Combines skills development, role definition into a framework that supports a career Are a “core service” that supports other org functions Levels Job postings Candidate assessment Training Performance reviews Recruiting 
 and hiring Professional
 Development Team composition Delivery
  9. 9. With an IA that’s too simplistic… • Overly deterministic • Linear • Doesn’t recognize growth in 
 different areas • No chunking — doesn’t tame complexity A not-great example
  10. 10. http://bit.ly/levelsframework
  11. 11. Information Architecture challenge • Specific enough that there’s certainty as to where someone fits • Open/general enough that it supports good conversations between a manager and their report • Trying to avoid making something that is too deterministic • Focuses on what is truly salient for thinking about growth — as few items as possible • Helps track growth along different vectors • Supports multiple paths for growth, including across roles Capable Strong Expert Product Designer Level 1 Interaction Design Prototyping Visual Design Level 2 Prototyping Front-end Development Visual Design Interaction Design Level 3 Front-end Development User Research Visual Design Prototyping Interaction Design UX Researcher Level 1 Writing Interaction Design User Research Level 2 Writing Service Design User Research Interaction Design Level 3 Writing Information Architecture Interaction Design Service Design User Research
  12. 12. Everywhere I’ve introduced this approach, someone from HR asked if they could use the model for the whole organization.
  13. 13. And now, thanks to my 
 IA-informed approaches…
  14. 14. Realize need for job Look for a job Apply for a job Be screened Interview for job Get hired Start job WorkWORKER JOURNEY EMPLOYER JOURNEY Looking to fill open position Research services Post a job Review applicants Communicate with applicants Interview applicants Hire candidate Onboard new hire Manage work Metrics of focus: Active Workers Active Locations Completed hires Hired the day I applied Completed Shifts WORKER ONLY JOINT EMPLOYER ONLY ACQUIRE FIND APPLY INTERVIEW HIRE WORK` Search Google Ask friends Search job sites Trawl Craigslist Fill out application Send application Call/Text/Message/Email Schedule interview In person interview Review Application Decline applicant Extend offer/accept or reject offer Review applications sent Write job description Post job description New hire paperwork Training/onboarding Pay for posting Go/no-go per applicant Decline applicant Phone screen Manage schedule across interviews Manage schedule Add new hire to schedule Read postings Save search Save job Fill out profile Follow up with hiring manager Walk in and ask for hiring manager Check status Post on other job boards (Indeed, Craigslist,FB) Reschedule interviewCancel interview Buy attired needed for uniform Check schedule Make adjustments to schedule Communicate start date Show upShow up Show upReferrals from “good” employees Walk in and ask for application EMPLOYER PLATFORM Communicate with workers/managers Manage shifts Get paid Pay staff Save applicant for future opening Search worker profiles (Recognize that there’s lots more to ‘work’ than what’s shown here.) Parents bug me Need money for activities Someone left Someone promoted Visit multiple job boards Conduct job search Referral from other bsiness owner Account mgmt Dashboards Location management Billing WORKER TOOLS (PLATFORM) Account mgmt Availability Profile Questions / Issues: - What all should go under acquisition - Can Find (Match) be worker-only (from an experience stand point)? - If so, does “Post a job” become part of Employer Platform? - Is Apply part of “Find”, “Interview” or its own thing? - Where does Worker Profile (and things like Availability) live? Is it in platform, and used by the other tribes? Does each tribe own a piece of it? Historically, it’s a lack of clear ownership of these shared items that have caused problems - How do we handle functionality (messaging, scheduling) that will need to be shared across tribes? - Who owns web and mobile (and email?) Oas channels? # visitors # ? # applications # Interviews scheduled % interview show # hires time to hire % First day show # WAU # shifts filled Principles of org structure: Teams as small as possible Durable - this should last Outcome-oriented High velocity/performance SCREEN % candidates reached Respond to screening questions
  15. 15. Realize need for job Look for a job Apply for a job Be screened Interview for job Get hired Start job WorkWORKER JOURNEY EMPLOYER JOURNEY Looking to fill open position Research services Post a job Review applicants Communicate with applicants Interview applicants Hire candidate Onboard new hire Manage work Metrics of focus: Active Workers Active Locations Completed hires Hired the day I applied Completed Shifts WORKER ONLY JOINT EMPLOYER ONLY ACQUIRE FIND APPLY INTERVIEW HIRE WORK` Search Google Ask friends Search job sites Trawl Craigslist Fill out application Send application Call/Text/Message/Email Schedule interview In person interview Review Application Decline applicant Extend offer/accept or reject offer Review applications sent Write job description Post job description New hire paperwork Training/onboarding Pay for posting Go/no-go per applicant Decline applicant Phone screen Manage schedule across interviews Manage schedule Add new hire to schedule Read postings Save search Save job Fill out profile Follow up with hiring manager Walk in and ask for hiring manager Check status Post on other job boards (Indeed, Craigslist,FB) Reschedule interviewCancel interview Buy attired needed for uniform Check schedule Make adjustments to schedule Communicate start date Show upShow up Show upReferrals from “good” employees Walk in and ask for application EMPLOYER PLATFORM Communicate with workers/managers Manage shifts Get paid Pay staff Save applicant for future opening Search worker profiles (Recognize that there’s lots more to ‘work’ than what’s shown here.) Parents bug me Need money for activities Someone left Someone promoted Visit multiple job boards Conduct job search Referral from other bsiness owner Account mgmt Dashboards Location management Billing WORKER TOOLS (PLATFORM) Account mgmt Availability Profile Questions / Issues: - What all should go under acquisition - Can Find (Match) be worker-only (from an experience stand point)? - If so, does “Post a job” become part of Employer Platform? - Is Apply part of “Find”, “Interview” or its own thing? - Where does Worker Profile (and things like Availability) live? Is it in platform, and used by the other tribes? Does each tribe own a piece of it? Historically, it’s a lack of clear ownership of these shared items that have caused problems - How do we handle functionality (messaging, scheduling) that will need to be shared across tribes? - Who owns web and mobile (and email?) Oas channels? # visitors # ? # applications # Interviews scheduled % interview show # hires time to hire % First day show # WAU # shifts filled Principles of org structure: Teams as small as possible Durable - this should last Outcome-oriented High velocity/performance SCREEN % candidates reached Respond to screening questions Acquire Find and Apply Recruit and Hire Work Worker Design Employer Design Worker Acquisition Employer Acquisition Match Sourcing and Postings Recruit Messaging Scheduling Onsite Experience no. visitors no. applications no. hired no. shifts
  16. 16. PIILLAR 1 Sponsor Full-time Leader Program S.M. Lead S.M. Lead S.M. Lead TOPIC TOPIC TOPIC WTD Lead SME General Worker WTD Lead SME General Worker WTD Lead SME General Worker PILLLAR 2 Sponsor Full-time Leader Program S.M. Lead S.M. Lead S.M. Lead TOPIC TOPIC TOPIC WTD Lead SME General Worker WTD Lead SME General Worker WTD Lead SME General Worker PILLAR 3 Sponsor Full-time Leader Program S.M. Lead S.M. Lead S.M. Lead WTD Lead SME General Worker WTD Lead SME General Worker WTD Lead SME General Worker SUBJECT MATTER PILLARS PROGRAM ORGANIZATION Leader 1 Leader 2 Leader 3 Leader 4 Accel Svcs Lead Ops Specialist S.A. Generalist Business AnalystInsights Program Integration Lead S.A. Generalist Comms ProgramProgram WTD Coach TOPIC TOPIC TOPIC Strategy Lead S.A. Generalist Comms Program WTD Specialist WTD Consultant WTD Consultant Facilitation Lead Facilitator Member Insights Expert Visual Designer PILLAR PILLAR
 OUTCOME TOPIC PROJECT PILLAR LEADERSHIP PILLAR LEADERSHIP PILLAR LEADERSHIP LEADERSHIP TEAM STRATEGY TEAM INTEGRATION TEAM ACCELERATION SERVICES WTD CONSULTING Theme Team (TBD) Theme Team (TBD) Theme Team (TBD) Leader 5 Admin Support Admin Support Admin Support “Team of Teams” diagram for a healthcare company WORK TEAMS (never underestimate the power of visualizing an abstraction)
  17. 17. The untapped opportunity
  18. 18. “IA Thinking” (Thanks ) Systems Thinking Exposing, embracing, and exploiting complexity Structure Pace layers, relationships between components Semantics Understanding, meaning, language, categorization Foundational / deepLevers Conceptual
  19. 19. “IA Thinking” Systems Thinking Structure Semantics “Information architecture is the deep state of any even moderately complex human interaction.” — Me, today Human Resources Organization Design Institutional Architecture Creative Production Public Policy Political Science Economics Law Product Management Sales and Marketing Business Administration Management Consulting Operations Program Management Education Retail Service Design Logistics Anthropology Sociology Finance Facilities Management Leadership Coaching Medicine and Care Delivery Planning Customer Service and Support Data Science Journalism Urban and Regional Planning Design and User Experience “IA Thinking” enhances any of these fields…
  20. 20. Thank you for your attention. Peter Merholz @peterme http://orgdesignfordesignorgs.com

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