Maciek Noga

Maciek Noga

Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Grupa Pracuj, Co-Founder
Anita Zbieg

Anita Zbieg

CEO Network Perspective
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4 tips when organizing the company around teams

Alice is a young and talented UX specialist. She is working at a rapidly growing company made up of 300 people, making innovative products.

Alice is part of a cool team and builds user experience (UX) within a platform for small companies to share knowledge. She works there with Tommy, the team leader, and four other people: a programmer, a data analyst, a content writer, and a marketing specialist. The team gives Alice a lot of energy and motivation. She is also involved in 3 short-term projects with people from 2 other company locations and is a part of a UX team led by Carol, Alice’s UX guru.

Day by day, Alice’s enthusiasm for work is dwindling. She seems to be more and more overloaded, and her short-term projects have less and less impact. What’s wrong? asks Carol. I don’t know exactly, and I feel like there is chaos here. Finding the right people and getting things done has become more and more difficult. Carol understands Alice completely. She has just realized she feels the same. What’s wrong?

If you are not organizing around teams you will be

Like Spotify and many other companies, you probably work within small teams, sometimes called agile teams or a network of teams. Such teams are centered around a specific product, customer, feature, market or other focus. They are empowered with autonomy and connect people with different expertise (e.g. IT, marketing, customer service). Team-based work makes your company move faster, be more engaging and innovative.

Organic structure

Your old org chart will not keep up with changes

Complications occur when small tasks need to be organized in a broader context and the organizational structure gains many dimensions. To develop skills, people need to learn in groups with similar expertise. People periodically change teams and are in more than one at a time. More than one team and one leader is is assigned to one person. Good news - your company is more flexible. Bad news - things get complicated on your org chart and among people.

Matrix chart

So how do you plan chaos?

You can decide to not stick to an organizational chart and just ignore it. However, this plan can bring you severe chaos, as well as interpersonal and communication problems, just read about it on the Slack blog.

You can also go one step further and launch a bossless system, similar to a holacracy. This plan might also bring organizational chaos, even for world leading companies such as Medium or GitHub.

Here, you face flexibility vs a complexity of collaboration. Is it really a trade-off? Not if you think about collaboration networks and a networked org chart.

#1 Include collaboration in org chart or alternative

Outside the company, people communicate and collaborate in a very effective way. Social networks are making the world smaller. Outside companies, we all have close-knit groups in which everyone knows everyone else. But, we also have great skills when contacting people from distant groups using the common chains of “a friend of a friend” or “who knows who”. Wouldn’t you like to utilise this human superpower and scale it to work effectively for organization?

Collaboration included in org chart

Let everyone see the collaboration within and across teams. Team based work needs its backbone to remain strong and not to fall into chaos. These can be common cultural and technical standards but the main backbone of your company is the org chart, which illustrates for everybody the roads to use and places to go.

How to include collaboration in organizational chart?

Knowing how to properly work is as important as knowing who you work for. Network Perspective enriches your organizational chart by visualizing how your employees and teams collaborate, while keeping all the information and features of a traditional org chart intact.

Read more

Right now, you probably have a formal structure built into this chart: functional teams and formal relations. How about bringing collaboration to your org chart? How about depicting work done together during meetings and teleconferences, sharing documents and emails, all while working on a specific project or within one code repository?

Isn’t this the way to empower everyone in your company with proven work practices? It helps people in finding the right people, makes collaboration seamless, better organized and more efficient.

#2 Build profiles (not just names) of your teams

Most work is done in teams, but about half of the teams are invisible to companies. They are not on an org chart or in any other directory.

Team leaders are pulling team members onto new teams all the time. There are projects that last two weeks, some two months and others, two years. But very often, none of these teams are visible on the org chart or in any other system. Team leaders often don’t go to HR or other administrators to report that a new team has emerged.

These leaders are busy getting work done with meetings, emails, and productivity tools such as Asana, Trello or Jira. How about syncing this data and building it into the org chart too?

Team network

Picturing teams will not only decrease chaos in a company, but is also a fundamental step toward knowing what people are doing and what they are good at. Working in a team is one of the most powerful factors in engagement and most performances occur outside the box - inside goal-oriented teams rather than functional ones. That’s why understanding how teams operate would also mean an end to many of the issues that organizations face when addressing engagement and performance.

#3 Provide feedback on teams and employee collaboration

Have a look at a day in the life of a modern knowledge worker. He or she receives 60 emails, attends 2 meetings and is interrupted 50 times a day. Collaborative overload becomes more and more widespread.

Collaboration overload

What about an org chart that provides feedback about collaborations for people and teams? Knowing your network of collaboration (communication, document sharing, meetings and much more) will help you access your networks when you need to find a distant connection or a common friend. Not only that, but it will also keep you informed about your collaborative activities: the sources of your productivity and overload, as well as display the full extent of your network’s diversity.

#4 Bring data from systems your employees use

Digital technology can superpower your teams into working in new and innovative ways. And if teams have autonomy to get things done, they can also choose their own systems for work. This can lead to a company having too many systems, creating problems. How about an org chart which integrates data for collaboration from numerous sources?

Sync collaboration data from many company apps

Every company has collaboration data scattered across multiple systems and tools used by employees. Network Perspective syncs collaboration data from many apps and creates an integrated picture of how work is done.

Read more

This provides your company with knowledge about its various teams and connections between people, giving everyone access to actual and proven work practices.

Wouldn’t this help lighten the chaos?

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