This article presents a system to organize your digital technology department in a media company. It is written for a CTO, CIO or EVP Technology looking for suggestions on organizing or reorganizing your Digital (Web, Mobile) technology department. It is best suited for you if your organization has the following characteristics:
- You manage all aspects of technology for a major digital brand or for a large company with 3 or more Web sites.
- You lead a technology department of between 50 to 250 staff.
- Internal corporate IT functions such as desktop support, telecommunications services and internal business systems are beyond the scope of this article.
The following are seven areas that the CTO heading up such a technology department in a media company is typically responsible for.
Digital Technology Department in a Media Company – By Functional Areas
Each of the seven areas contains the following functions.
- Administration & Management
- General Management & Leadership
- Portfolio, Program & Project Management (PMO)
- Financial & Budget Management
- Technology Analysis
- Client Satisfaction & Advocacy
- 24x7 Tech Support
- Technology Advocacy, Developer Advocacy & Marketing
- Client Services & Relationship Management
- Product Engineering
- Content & Digital Asset Management Systems (CMS)
- Ecommerce Systems
- Advertising Systems
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Systems
- Community & Social Networking Systems
- Site Search Systems
- Software Engineering
- Software Architecture, Integration & Extensibility, API, SDK
- Research & Development (R&D)
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Mobile Presentation & Applications (iOS, Android, HTML5)
- Development Operations (DevOps)
- Software Builds & Configuration Management
- Systems & Infrastructure
- Security & Privacy Protection
- Systems Architecture
- Infrastructure Management
- Systems Administration
- Database Adminstration
In a company, the above may map to the following organizational structure.
CTO / EVP Technology’s Organization
- Director of Technology Administration & Management (Chief of Staff to CTO)
- Administrative Staff
- VP of PMO
- Director of Program & Project Management
- Project Managers
- Director of Technology Budgets (has dotted line of reporting into Finance department)
- Director of Program & Project Management
- VP of Technology, Client Satisfaction & Advocacy
- 24×7 Support Staff
- Technology/Developer Advocate(s)
- Director of Technology & Business Analysis
- Technology Analysts team
- Business Intelligence, Research & Analysis Team
- VP of Quality
- Teams of Testers
- Team of Test Automation Engineers
- Software Release & Shipping Team
- VP of Product Engineering
- Teams for each technology product
- VP of Software Engineering
- Director of DevOps (has dotted line of reporting into VP of Systems & Infrastructure)
- R&D Team
- SEO Team
- Web Client Technologies Team
- Mobile Technologies Team
- Builds & Configuration Management Team
- VP of Systems & Infrastructure
- Security & Privacy Protection Team
- Systems & Applications Administration Teams
- DBA Team
- Infrastructure Management Team
In the above organization, each person directly reports into their functional area. In a smaller organization, the VP roles above may be director roles.
Program/Project Teams: Dotted-Line Reporting By Programs & Projects
At any given time, a company has a number of programs and projects in progress that are best suited by a dedicated team. In this system, staff is assigned to the program or project. The assignment of a person to a project is a dotted line valid for the duration of the project, not a direct line of reporting to the head of the project.
The benefits of this approach include: By directly reporting to a manager, director or VP in their discipline, the employee benefits from the learning, coaching and exchange of knowledge with others in the same discipline. That gives the employee a good feeling of belonging with others that share a passion for that area of work. By being part of a program or project team, the employee enjoys the sense of co-ownership of a project or product.
During and on completion of the project, the project head gives feedback to the direct supervisor of the employee, which the supervisor uses to coach, help and provide support to the employee both in the current project and for future projects.
Below is an alternate illustration showing teams as “vertical” and “horizontal”.