Tue, 20 Oct 2020

A Taxonomy for Thinking About Technology Organizations

A foundational taxonomy construct that I have found useful in leading Technology organizations is "People, Process, Technology". In mathematical form, it can be summarized into a simple equation:


That is, a technology organization's capabilities (C) is proportional to the capabilities it can harness from its People (Pe : who they are, what they are capable of), Processes (Pr repeatable methods and procedures the organization leverages to make and execute decisions), and Technology (T, or past and present investments in tools and systems that simplify tasks or otherwise amplify the power of the people and processes in the organization).

The reason I think this is a notable insight and not merely a truism is that it can help contextualize where an organization finds itself either across the board, or when investing in a particular area of the business. For example, a startup (or a new division or product team in an established organization) may have made some exceptional hires, but if it has yet to formalize any accelerating Processes or yet to invest in any significant Technology must rely on the first factor (People) to get anything done. Its challenges will be to introduce Process and Technology that amplify and accelerate what its people can do.

Meanwhile, an established organization with strong productivity (e.g. existing products that sustains the business) is likely to have strong Processes, but if it is growing, may hit scale limits on its Technology or struggle with training and sustaining its practices along with its People growth.

Organizations struggling due to market or competitive demands may find its Technology investments are outdated and don't support Processes that could accelerate the organization further.

Knowing which factors need investment on which teams is crucial to making arguments for budgeting, prioritization, and presenting the kinds of investments which maximize the organization's overall capabilities.

How are your investments in People, Process and Technology serving your organization's Capabilities?

Khan Klatt

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