I know that we have written a lot regarding the value of an organization chart. It’s one of those models that we use where everyone tends to nod their head in agreement that it is a good thing to do, but in reality, few people actually do it. It seems like such an easy thing to do, almost a silly thing to do, that it becomes one of the first things that falls off the list of things to do when time gets short the deliverable list gets long.
But I caution against not doing this model. I have found them very valuable. On a recent project that was small and fast, I had to search out and find many different people across a large organization. This project crossed a lot of boundaries, different divisions, different departments and different managers. Given the number of people I was speaking to and in the short time frame that I needed to pull everything together, I really needed to understand where everybody I had spoken to fell in the larger picture of the entire organization.
Here is what my org chart looked like. Everyone in a blue box is someone that I actually spoke to and got their input.
As you can see, I spoke with a lot of different people in different departments. Most of these people I had never met before, so using the org chart really helped understand the perspectives and interests of those people. Each has their own point of view, and understanding that point of view is important for understanding of the desired requirements and to move the project forward towards completion.
The other recommendation for the org chart is review it with your main project sponsors. It shows them who you are speaking to, and it’s a great way for them to see who included on your list of subject matter experts, and identify additional people that you have left off. Again, this review step is something that I see people leave out of their process, because again, it seems silly to many people. But when I showed it to my project sponsor, they were amazed at the people on the list and how they all related to each other. And they helped me find additional people that needed to be added to the list as well.
Org charts does a project good!