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