effective organizations

Subject: effective organizations
From: Miki Magyar <MDM0857 -at- MCDATA -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 8 Mar 1999 15:02:06 -0700

Adding to the discussion prompted by Andrew's provocative query, I'd like to do my usual thing and step back
a bit to look at what we're talking about. Many things mooshed together, as usual:
What's an effective organization?
How much organization is optimum?
Is there a correlation between company size and good organization?
Is there a correlation between interpersonal relationships and good organization?
Do some kinds of communication (e-mail, face-to-face) hinder or help effective organization?
and probably some others I haven't abstracted yet.

I'd like to comment on the characteristics of an effective organization. I think Dawn-Marie Oliver and
Elna Tymes were pointing in the right direction when they talked about what I call 'task-oriented'
patterns. "The challenge is to use planning and guidelines as tools in the process of getting
something done right." (Elna) "The keys here are "necessary structure", and how the structure
is brought in." (Dawn-Marie) Small start-up companies are almost always minimalist in structure,
simply because everyone has to be able to do lots of different tasks, and the critical task is
getting enough done to keep it all afloat.

The crisis typically comes when someone realizes that there's too much variation in process or
product, and decides to have one right way to do it. If the powers that be can keep rules and regs
to a minimum, keep them as works in progress, and be ready to dump them as soon as possible,
then I think an organization can maintain the creativity and freedom to do good work fast.

And now for the TW connection to keep it on-topic - do what you can in your own domain. If you're
burdened with too much regulation, try to question it. See if you can dump irrelevant rules, or
at least simplify processes. Anything that minimizes paperwork will be welcomed, usually. Use a flow
chart instead of a tome for your review process documentation. ISO auditors like flow charts.
This is an ideal arena for practicing minimalist and structured documentation!

mikim -at- ieee -dot- org

From ??? -at- ??? Sun Jan 00 00:00:00 0000

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