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Onboarding guide: Building your organization chart

Steps we recommend to get up and running quickly in Functionly when your goal is to build a map of your organization

In this guide

1. Creating your org chart as it exists today

2. How to look for strengths and weaknesses in your org chart scenario

3. Duplicating and designing an alternative org chart scenario

4. Involve key stakeholders

Functionly is used for much more than designing static org charts. Functionly allows you to build on the concept of an org chart and map out your organization with greater detail in relation to where work gets done. By using Functionly in this way, your org chart becomes an opportunity to identify gaps, cracks and overlaps in your organization, allowing you to create alternative scenarios to improve your organizational structure and efficiency.

Video: The similarities and differences between a traditional org chart and a Functionly org scenario


1. Creating Your Org Chart as it Exists Today

A strength of Functionly is its ability to create and collaborate on alternative organization charts or scenarios. But before planning any alternative, it's important to have an accurate view of your current orgnization (You'll hear us refer to this often as your "current state"). This allows you to visualize and thoroughly understand existing strengths and weaknesses (gaps, cracks and overlaps). It also allows for a baseline from which to pivot on new scenarios. In Functionly, you can have any number of scenarios.

❗It's important to be thorough when building your "current state." We've had a lot practice doing this. We'd be delighted to share our insight and best practices to help you. Just book a "getting started" call with us:

Click the link for the timezone that best suits you:  

Follow these steps in Functionly to create a current state:

1. Create a new scenario by clicking "Create new scenario" (skip to 2 if you're already in a new scenario) on the My Organization screen.

a. In the Create new scenario options box, create a scenario name (e.g. "Current Org"), choose the relevant Library template.

b. Under Import people from choose Skip for now.

c. Click the create scenario button

2. Import people. Select the People tab in the design tools pane on the left hand side of screen.

a. Click the  "Add people" button and follow the instructions here to import your existing people. (see screenshot to right)

3. Build/Edit the team structure. Depending on what people import method you used, the  import process may have automatically built your team structure and allocated people to teams. If you don't have any teams yet, or need to edit them, see how to start building your structure.

4. Allocate functions to teams. From the Functions tab in the design tools menu, drag and drop function categories or individual functions to the appropriate teams. Keep in mind the idea here is to accurately reflect what currently happens in your org. So be sure to allocate functions which represent actual reality, and not how you wish things would be (that comes later)!

5. Allocate roles, functions and responsibilities within teams. Once functions are allocated to teams, it's time to go into further detail by assigning roles, functions and responsibilities to people within teams.

a. Enter the team editor by clicking the edit team button on any team on the org-design canvas (see screenshot to right).

b. In the team editor, select the Jobs tab in the design tool pane.

c. Allocate jobs (roles) to the people within the team by dragging and dropping a job title directly on to a person.

🗒️ Jobs in this list are part of the library template you chose for this org scenario. You'll find jobs are categorized in broad function categories. You can also search for a job using the search field at the top of the jobs tab.

If a job you need isn't in the library, you can choose a similar job and rename it by clicking the ellipses next to the job name. Or you can add new jobs by clicking add job template in any category.

❗Many jobs in the job library already have functions assigned to them. These are typical functions this job would perform. Make sure you check the preassigned functions and delete any that aren't relevant for this job in your org.

d. Allocate functions to people with an assigned job role by dragging and dropping from the Functions tab in the design tools pane.

e. Repeat this for all teams.

💡 Divide and conquer through collaboration

Depending on the size of your org, the process of allocating functions to teams and responsibilities to people can take some time. Also, often one single person isn't able to accurately assign all these elements to every team and person.

Our suggestion here is to enlist the help of team managers. Not only will they help speed up this process, but they're also in the best position to accurately allocate the functions and responsibilities within their team, giving you a more accurate representation of your org's current state.

You can add collaborators to a scenario using the Share button in the top right corner. Add a collaborator by entering their email address. Be sure to select "editor" from the drop down list if you'd like collaborator to be able to directly edit the scenario.

❗Currently, Functionly supports one-at-a-time collaboration. This means only one collaborator can be in the scenario making changes at any time. Our suggestion is to invite a manager, have them confirm when they've completed the allocation of functions and responsibilities for their team, then invite the next manager, and so on.

❗Collaborators are new user licenses which incur a monthly fee. You can add collaborators during your trial period for free. However, if you convert to trial, you'll pay for each collaborator license. If you want to know more about how this might impact pricing, please reach out.

That's it! If you've followed all the steps so far, you should now have an accurate design reflecting your org's current state.

2. How to look for strengths and weaknesses in your org chart scenario

One benefit of designing a current state is to allow you to visualise and thoroughly understand existing strengths and weaknesses in the organization structure.

Here are two suggestions for how to approach this:

- Subjectively: Now you have your entire org designed in Functionly, you can take a high level view and analyse structures, reporting lines, roles and responsibilities. Cast your eye around the org and ask yourself questions like:

- Are the balance of accountabilities across team members manageable? Does anybody have more roles or accountabilities than is reasonable?

- Does it make sense how certain teams are aligned within the org?

- Does the team hierarchy make sense?

- Do we have the right people leading the right teams?

- Are there obvious bottlenecks or silos?

- Objectively: Functionly automatically warns you of potential gaps, cracks and overlaps within the function and responsibility allocations of teams and people. Throughout the application, you may notice several indicators next to functions and people:

- Overlapping squares

- Red dots

- A broken link

Summing up

These are just a few suggestions - the goal of designing the current state is for you to determine strengths and weaknesses so as to be able to take a clear view into designing an alternative org chart scenario.


3. Duplicating and designing an alternative org chart scenario

With the current state scenario completed, and strengths and weaknesses assessed, it's time to design your alternative scenario. Our recommendation is to duplicate your current state scenario - including all the function library, people, structure, roles and responsibilities - and use this as the starting point for your alternate. Redesigning an org structure in Functionly is simple with our drag and drop interface.

It is possible to duplicate only some elements of your current state scenario. For example, only the function library and people. This might be useful when you're planning on making a major restructure and want to start with an entirely blank org design canvas.

See this article to understand how to duplicate your current state scenario.


4. Involve key stakeholders

Rarely are org structure decisions made by a single person. It's imperative to have key stakeholders provide insight - other leadership team members, key managers, board members, investors and advisors.

Functionly gives you a number of options to share and collaborate with key stakeholders.

Export to PDF

From within any scenario you can export your org design to a PDF file.

From within a scenario, click on the down arrow next to the scenario description to bring up the scenario menu. Select "Export Chart."

This is useful for bringing to a physical meeting. You could have it printed or large format paper (or across multiple A3 sheets for example) and stick it to a whiteboard for a real-time collaboration and feedback time session.

You can also email the PDF to stakeholders who can print it off, make notes and bring it to a meeting  to share thoughts.

Share a Public Link 

You can share read only "public links" to your org scenarios - much like you can share a Google doc with a link. You have the ability to make the link expire, disable it, create different links and track views from each link.

From within a scenario, click on the down arrow next to the scenario description to bring up the scenario menu. Select "Share public link."

This is useful for giving stakeholders a deep look inside the org scenario, giving them the ability to navigate around it just as you would designing it yourself. Viewers of shared public links cannot edit any part of you org design. There is no license cost for people who view scenarios via public links.

Invite a collaborator

Collaborators are essentially full Functionly users. You're able to invite collaborators to both view or edit an existing scenario. But they'll also have the ability to create their own scenarios.

This is useful for the most important stakeholders who are working more deeply on the restructuring project with you, and where you'd like them to have the ability to edit your scenarios, or duplicate your scenarios to then go ahead and design their own alternative.

❗Collaborators are licensed users which incur a fee at our current pricing if you decide to move from the 22 day trial to a full paying account.


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