Project Management

Organizational Interaction Analysis

last edited by: erin decaprio on Oct 7, 2006 5:31 PM login/register to edit this page

1 Applications
2 Procedures
3 Instructions
4 Example

A graphic technique to summarize the results of reengineering a complex work flow that comprises a value stream or process. This technique can also be used to help examine the interaction between various resources, human and other parameters, within an organization. Opportunities for improvements in the interactions and/or breakthroughs can be highlighted.


  • To identify opportunities for breakthrough.
  • To graphically depict before and after images as a summary of the redesign effort.


  1. Review current value stream.
  2. Identify the organizations involved in each activity.
  3. Document the activity flow between organizations.
  4. Reengineer activity flow.
  5. Document new activity flow between organizations.


To develop this type of diagram (using an appropriate graphics package or similar drawing tool), review the current activity work flow diagrams (see Work Flow Diagramming) and, for each activity on the work flow, identify the organization involved. Examine each activity on the work flow in sequence. If a different organization performs the next-in-sequence activity, an organization interaction has been identified. Draw a line connecting these two organizations, using a single-headed arrow to depict the direction of the interaction on the diagram, and label the flow. Draw a box for each organization on this separate diagram. Repeat this process for all organizations and activities on the work flow. If there are many interactions between two organizations, or if the interaction is a "request and response," double-headed arrows may be used to simplify the diagram and/or reduce clutter. The diagram will look similar to the first example that follows.

Depending on the overall complexity of the organizational interaction diagram, it may need to be adjusted or modified to communicate the key messages. Some conventions typically followed include using bold lines to depict multiple interactions, highlighting delays, shading or adjusting the size of the organization boxes, and summarizing the interaction labels. In the following example, delays are depicted using a box. Other conventions could be used. The example diagram also portrays the multiple hand-offs of information, occurring between the purchasing department and the other organizations. The focus should be on portraying the key messages summarizing the interactions.

Examining these interactions can highlight possible areas of simplification, streamlining, and/or breakthroughs. One may begin to ask such questions as, "Why is this organization involved? How can we eliminate these hand-offs and delays? Why do these delays occur?" etc. The answers to these questions may also trigger thinking about how technology can be applied to enable improvement, streamlining, or breakthrough (see IT Lever Analysis). Sometimes the answers reflect current policies and procedures that can be highlighted for elimination or improvement. Other times, the interactions and the underlying reasons may reflect regulatory constraints or other constraints imposed on the enterprise. All opportunities for improvements should be highlighted and used during redesign.

After reengineering the work flow, a new organizational interaction diagram should be developed to summarize the results. As shown in the following example, the visual power of the before and after reinvention is quite dramatic. Use the new, recommended interactions to guide the development of new policies and/or to update organizational missions, roles, etc. It is possible to use this technique with RAEW Analysis to highlight specific areas of improvement.

One value stream can contain more than 100 different activities for one work flow. Half the activities may be eliminated through reengineering. Showing this number of activities on one diagram can be challenging (especially during management presentations!). One advantage of using the Organizational Interaction Analysis technique is its usefulness to summarize the current value stream and reengineered value stream based on an organizational view (there are typically fewer organizations than activities). This summary is more effective in management presentations because of its strong visual impact (videos of work flows to depict before and after images can also be made, but this is usually time consuming and much more expensive).


organizational interaction analysis

last edited by: erin decaprio on Oct 7, 2006 5:31 PM login/register to edit this page


"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity. "

- Albert Einstein