Managing in the Whitespace    of an Organization    JeffreyGifford@gmail.com
What’s “whitespace” andwhere is it in my organization?
Typical “Top-Down” Hierarchy
Servant-Leaderstyle works well in   this structure Typical “Bottom-Up” Hierarchy
Typical Web-2.0 Hierarchy
What Web-2.0 can really look like
The opportunity to improve anorganization is frequently found   in the whitespace of the      organization chart.
Engineering Group One                  Operations GroupTelling Stories                  Engineering Group Two             ...
Any organization that designs a system (defined broadly) will   produce a design whose   structure is a copy of the organi...
ed   op  Corollary to Conway’s Law      osPr  Teams communicate the way      they’re organized??               (maybe)
Communication . . .Communication . . .Communication . . .                      Communication . . .Communication . . .     ...
Telling StoriesServer Deployment                    • 33 points of “touch”                    • 9 internal systems        ...
Organizational structures create artificial boundaries that may    introduce extra steps in processes, such as excessive  ...
Telling StoriesServer Deployment Transformation                    • 2 weeks duration                      (on average)   ...
Lessons Learned• Whitespace has different laws of gravity  – No staff, No budget, No authority  – Easy to be passed over  ...
Tools•   Servant-leadership•   Define the terms•   ITIL concept of Service Management•   Walking around•   Meeting people•...
Bibliography• Brooks, F. (1975). The Mythical Man-Month: essays on software  engineering. Addison-Wesley.• Conway, M. (196...
JeffreyGifford@gmail.com     For more thoughts on“Managing in the Whitespace” visit http://JeffreyGifford.com
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Managing in the whitespace of your organization

  1. 1. Managing in the Whitespace of an Organization JeffreyGifford@gmail.com
  2. 2. What’s “whitespace” andwhere is it in my organization?
  3. 3. Typical “Top-Down” Hierarchy
  4. 4. Servant-Leaderstyle works well in this structure Typical “Bottom-Up” Hierarchy
  5. 5. Typical Web-2.0 Hierarchy
  6. 6. What Web-2.0 can really look like
  7. 7. The opportunity to improve anorganization is frequently found in the whitespace of the organization chart.
  8. 8. Engineering Group One Operations GroupTelling Stories Engineering Group Two A Tale of Three Teams
  9. 9. Any organization that designs a system (defined broadly) will produce a design whose structure is a copy of the organizations communication structure. Conway’s Law
  10. 10. ed op Corollary to Conway’s Law osPr Teams communicate the way they’re organized?? (maybe)
  11. 11. Communication . . .Communication . . .Communication . . . Communication . . .Communication . . . Communication . . . Communication . . . If you’re organized in functional silos . . . you’ll . . . it is likely that waycommunicate
  12. 12. Telling StoriesServer Deployment • 33 points of “touch” • 9 internal systems • 8 functional units • 2 data centers • 16 weeks duration • $3.5MM (US) annually
  13. 13. Organizational structures create artificial boundaries that may introduce extra steps in processes, such as excessive handoffs between teams. Gartner
  14. 14. Telling StoriesServer Deployment Transformation • 2 weeks duration (on average) • 2 internal systems • 8 functional units • 2 data centers • 3.5MM annually
  15. 15. Lessons Learned• Whitespace has different laws of gravity – No staff, No budget, No authority – Easy to be passed over – Unofficial “projects” may be better• Elements of skunkworks – Stay hidden until ready to go supersonic• Take problems off people’s hands – Provide people’s payoff early• Know your numbers (financials & widgets)
  16. 16. Tools• Servant-leadership• Define the terms• ITIL concept of Service Management• Walking around• Meeting people• Connecting people (Radar O’Reilly)• Graphs and charts that tell stories• Think, think, think
  17. 17. Bibliography• Brooks, F. (1975). The Mythical Man-Month: essays on software engineering. Addison-Wesley.• Conway, M. (1968). How do committees invent? Available: http://www.melconway.com/research/committees.html. Last accessed 20 May 2008 (updated 12/2010).• DeMarco, T and Lister, T. Peopleware: productive projects and teams. (1987).• Maletz, M and Nitin, H. (February 2001). Managing in the Whitespace. Harvard Business Review. 102-111.• Office of Government Commerce (2007). ITIL Service Strategy. United Kingdom: The Stationary Office. 121-122.• Scott, D and Holub, E and Pultz J. (20 November 2006). Organizing for IT Infrastructure and Operations. Gartner Research. G00137083.• White, E. (2008). Art of Persuasion Becomes Key. Available: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121115784262002373.html. Last accessed 20 May 2008 (updates 12/2010).
  18. 18. JeffreyGifford@gmail.com For more thoughts on“Managing in the Whitespace” visit http://JeffreyGifford.com

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