Apr 23

Musings on Organizational Structure

I was attempting to explain the principles for building a high-functioning IT department to one of my professors, and it led to the diagram below.  I thought it might be interesting to bring the thought process out in the open so that we may all learn from each other.  Too much is involved to discuss the entire structure in one blog entry, but this will serve as the foundation for further conversations on the topic.
Chart of Organizational Structure

Potential IT Org chart

To begin with, obviously this chart describes a significantly sized IT organization – at least 50 FTE, perhaps as many as 250.  Smaller organizations would, by necesity, have people performing multiple roles.  The smaller the organization, the more it will drift from this model – as the combination of tasks assigned to individuals will be based more on the inherent talents they bring to the table than on any view of “proper” roles.  Larger organizations will specialize even more than what is indicated here.

At a high level, you can see a division into two large organizational groupings: Development and Operations.  The “Governance” box demonstrates the cross-functional nature of the governance role – it represents all constituencies of IT.  Future blogs will focus on each organizational group and eventually get down to individual roles.  This split, however, represents the natural balance of tensions that is normal to an IT organization.  You begin with one organization whose main purpose is to generate and implement change (Development), then balance that with an organization dedicated to ensuring proper operations of necessary services.  One creates change, the other attempts to limit the risk of implementing that change.  The Governance role brings blended balance to the picture.

In my next blog, I will discuss the IT Operations organization.  In the mean time, please join in the conversation and toss in your two cents.