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Creating a People Centric Architecture: Part 1

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Posted by Jeff Scott on Sep 5, 2017 11:17:49 AM

Middle_Managers.pngMy previous two posts focused on why a people centric architectural view is important and what a people centric business architecture might include. Since I have never actually seen a people centric business architecture, nor created one, I decided to challenge myself by digging a little deeper into how one would go about actually creating one. This will be a multi-step process.

Step1 – The organizational chart

Almost every organization will have an organizational chart of some sort that reflects the current organizational structure, functions, and number of human resources in each function. But most organizations will not have a consistent or integrated view of the entire organization.

The first step to creating a people centric architecture is to collect the available organizational charts, rationalize them, and put them into one common structure. It should look very much like a hierarchical capability model but with organizational names for the components. You might have to fill in the gaps for organizations that do not have a chart.

Very large organizations might be too complex for one overarching organizational chart decomposed down to the lowest level. In that case, you should decide how to segment the organization and build multiple views.

Step 2 – The function model

The lowest level of your organizational chart should get you down to individually managed teams or small groups of teams. Many of these teams will provide one function with team names on the organizational view clearly indicating that function. However, most teams provide more than one function and the challenge at this step is identifying all the functions performed. As the number of teams at this level will be rather large for most organizations, a survey approach might prove to be the most efficient way to collect the data.

At this point you could aggregate the functions and create a new function model but I think there is more value in keeping the functions tied to the organization, perhaps by adding them as a lower level in the organizational chart. This view allows you to map other models to the organization through the functions that perform them.

Step 3 – Map functions to capabilities

With the model from step 2 complete, you can either create your capability model from the functions – i.e. the capabilities necessary to execute the function – or map your current capability model to the functions and thereby the organization. You can do the same with value streams if you like. Now you have tightly tied people to the functions they perform as well as the capabilities necessary to perform them.

While all the capability models I have created started at a high level, generally the organization’s value chain, and worked down; I suspect that building the capability model from the bottom up, based the organization’s functions, will result in a more accurate and complete model.

The bottom line: ______________________________________________________________


Starting your business architecture models from a better understanding of the organization will lead to better capability and value stream models.

Topics: The Business Architect