Organizational Changes – Introducing a New Structure

This post is the fourth in a series that I started at the end of May, discussing the handling of some major organizational changes at my company.

Once we had the interim organization in place, we assessed our situation for several months.  Our approach was very traditional, starting with taking a look at our current needs and the strengths of the team.  We tried to anticipate what our needs would be over the next twelve months.  Comparing the two, we wanted to get the most out of the existing team’s skills and identify holes we would need to fill.

There are two main components of the team – Managed Services and Consulting.  The Consulting team does implementations of our software products, along with custom report development and other consulting work.  Managed Services provides remote management of our customers’ environments.  The organizational decision for Managed Services was fairly easy.  The team has about a dozen people, all distributed around the world with multiple home offices in the U.S. in addition to India and the U.K.  We concluded that this team would not be changed.

The Consulting team was different.  Even before we started making changes, the management of this team was fairly thin.  We had two directors (Kelly and Rene) plus two managers – one with responsibility for the team in India and another managing a team in our office near St. Louis.  Everyone else on the team (about 20 consultants) reported directly to either Kelly or Rene.  We had temporarily moved Kelly’s team, but now we needed a long-term solution.

In addition, we decided that having several functions report directly to me wasn’t practical.  I still had all my Engineering responsibilities, as well as cross-functional demands (helping with sales opportunities, working  with HR and Marketing, coordinating with the other Engineering team, etc.).  Therefore, we needed to identify a “leader” for the entire Consulting Services team that would report to me.

Our conclusion:

  • Expand the level of managers, reporting to the director level.  Previously, we had two; we decided to add at least two more.  We would look both within the company and outside the company for candidates.
  • Consolidate that level of managers, along with our project managers, to report to Rene.
  • Hire (from outside the company) a new General Manager of Consulting, to report to me.

Once we decided on that organizational structure, we “socialized” the idea within the team, looking for reactions.  We wanted people to get used to two key ideas: bringing in new management from the outside and promoting existing employees to management roles.  In the next several posts, I’ll explain how the team responded and how we accomplished both of those changes.

For now…I’ll leave you with this thought:

Gradual transition can be beneficial, as long as you make consistent progress and keep people informed.

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