Decentralized Decision Authority

30 Apr 2009 - 1:52pm
5 years ago
3 replies
1608 reads
Alan Cox
2009

I have been doing some thinking about how design decisions get made,
both at my company and at others. For the most part, we have a
hybrid (somewhat centralized, somewhat not) authority for making
design decisions: there is one team responsible for them all, but the
team members are assigned to other cross-functional teams.

I've been doing some brainstorming about whether it would be
appropriate to have a much more decentralized decision authority for
design decisions. I have reasons for exploring whether a
decentralized decision authority makes sense.

It seems like a decentralized authority comes hand-in-hand with other
aspects of an organic organizational structure. An organic structure
gives things like increased collaboration, more adaptable duties, low
formalization of processes, and increased communication in multiple
directions (e.g. not just down the organization chart). (I got this
information from Stephen Robbins' "Organizational Behavior" ... a
great book.)

I'm interested in an organic structure because Robbins argues that
such a structure is more conducive to supporting a strategy of
innovation and for dealing with non-routine, ill-defined work, which
in my experience, defines design work well.

If you made it this far, I have some questions I hope you can help
with:

If you've worked in an organization that decentralized design
decisions, what worked well and what didn't?

What did you (or your organization do) to make the organic structure
successful?

What challenges did you face in the organic structure, and what did
you do to manage those challenges?

Thanks!
Alan

Comments

30 Apr 2009 - 8:56pm
Raminder Oberoi
2007

Good question! Would also be very interested to know names of organizations
with decentralized organic structures.

On Thu, Apr 30, 2009 at 7:52 AM, Alan Cox <alan.cox at icontact.com> wrote:

> I have been doing some thinking about how design decisions get made,
> both at my company and at others. For the most part, we have a
> hybrid (somewhat centralized, somewhat not) authority for making
> design decisions: there is one team responsible for them all, but the
> team members are assigned to other cross-functional teams.
>
> I've been doing some brainstorming about whether it would be
> appropriate to have a much more decentralized decision authority for
> design decisions. I have reasons for exploring whether a
> decentralized decision authority makes sense.
>
> It seems like a decentralized authority comes hand-in-hand with other
> aspects of an organic organizational structure. An organic structure
> gives things like increased collaboration, more adaptable duties, low
> formalization of processes, and increased communication in multiple
> directions (e.g. not just down the organization chart). (I got this
> information from Stephen Robbins' "Organizational Behavior" ... a
> great book.)
>
> I'm interested in an organic structure because Robbins argues that
> such a structure is more conducive to supporting a strategy of
> innovation and for dealing with non-routine, ill-defined work, which
> in my experience, defines design work well.
>
> If you made it this far, I have some questions I hope you can help
> with:
>
> If you've worked in an organization that decentralized design
> decisions, what worked well and what didn't?
>
> What did you (or your organization do) to make the organic structure
> successful?
>
> What challenges did you face in the organic structure, and what did
> you do to manage those challenges?
>
> Thanks!
> Alan
> ________________________________________________________________
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--
Raminder Oberoi
sinioberoi at gmail.com

30 Apr 2009 - 10:15pm
Janna DeVylder
2006

I highly recommend reading The Starfish and the Spider, which talks about
the difference between centralized, spider-like orgs in comparison to
decentralized, starfish orgs.

*http://tinyurl.com/d5qkbs*

If anyone else has read this and wants to have some kind of virtual bookclub
meetup (Hello, UX Bookclub?), I'd love to participate.

janna

On Thu, Apr 30, 2009 at 9:56 PM, Raminder Oberoi <sinioberoi at gmail.com>wrote:

> Good question! Would also be very interested to know names of organizations
> with decentralized organic structures.
>
>
>

30 Apr 2009 - 10:24pm
Angel Marquez
2008
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