Unfolding plans 183 – Organisational fit

How do I know where I am going to be in five years’ time?  I struggle sometimes to know where I am going to be tomorrow let alone that far ahead.  Yet that is what I’m being asked to think about as part of our organisational fit or org-fit as we’re calling it. We’re thinking of moving and to be clear about the accommodation we need we are having to think about who will go where.  We’re thinking about how the organisation will fit in the future.

And there is the rub.  How can you see the future?  If I look into the past we have had enormous change over the same kind of period that we are looking to go forward.  It’s a bit like back to the future.  If we have the same change as we have experienced over the last five years then I’ll only need a fraction of the space on offer.  Remember though, the past is no guide to the future.

The thing is that we need to move for a whole host of reasons and the size of building we would require will take some time to build and in that time a lot is going to happen.  Who knows what the organisation will be like by then and so the only real option is to start with what we have today and put in a little contingency.  Take a guess in other words.

I know how many people I work with today and I know the sorts of jobs they are doing.  Most of us work with computers on a desk though we do have some build and storage capacity.  We also have some printers that tie people to the same location.  I think it is safe to assume that this will continue.  Most of us will need to sit down and interface with a device.  Most of us will need to interact with our customers and our team colleagues.  There will be some more flexible, new or modern ways of working and these are bound to skew the numbers.

This is the problem with planning.  It takes a lot of assumption.  You can only base your guesses on what you know and what you know may not be what will be.  It is not like building a bridge where you can see the start and know where it is going to end.  We’re dealing with a constantly evolving organisation.  It is more like building an amoeba.  There are just too many uncertainties to be certain.

So why do we persist in using a methodology which is so obviously flawed?  Probably because there is little by way of an alternative.  To build a building you need money.  To get the money you need to plan the building, know what it is going to be used for and how much it will cost.  You need to know who is going in and so you need an org-fit.

You could do what we all do when we buy a house though.  Decide what you can afford and learn to live within it once you get there.

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