Get started: Align your organization

Successful cloud adoption is the result of properly skilled people doing the appropriate types of work, in alignment with clearly defined business goals, and in a well-managed environment. To deliver an effective cloud operating model, it's important to establish appropriately staffed organizational structures. This article outlines such an approach.

Step 1: Understand the functions required for successful cloud teams

The following list outlines the minimum functionality that's required for your organization to succeed at cloud adoption and long-term operations. After you become familiar with the cloud teams and their functions, you can align them with the organizational structure that best fits your staffing and cloud maturity level.

Step 2: Map people to the required functions

The next step is to map specific people to the necessary functions. To do so, answer the following questions:

  • What person or group will be responsible for completing technical tasks in the cloud adoption plan?
  • What person will be accountable for the team's ability to deliver technical changes?
  • What person or group will be responsible for implementing protective governance mechanisms?
  • What person will be accountable for defining those governance controls?
  • Are there other functions or people that will have accountability or responsibility within the cloud adoption plan?

After you've documented the answers to these questions, see Plans for skills readiness to help define your plans to prepare these people for forthcoming work.

Step 3: Determine how teams align within your organization

The following organizational structures don't necessarily have to map to an organizational chart (org chart). Org charts generally reflect command and control management structures. Conversely, the following organizational structures are designed to capture alignment of roles and responsibilities.

In an agile matrix organization, these structures might be best represented as virtual teams. There's nothing to suggest that virtual teams couldn't be represented in an org chart, but a formal org chart isn't necessary to produce an effective operating model.

Determine how the following models fit your organizational structures:

  • Org chart alignment: Management hierarchies, manager responsibilities, and staff alignment will align with organizational structures.
  • Virtual teams: Management structures and org charts remain unchanged. Instead, virtual teams will be created and tasked with the required functionality.
  • Mixed model: More commonly, a mixture of org chart and virtual team alignment will be required to deliver on cloud transformation goals.

Step 4: Establish team structures

During every cloud adoption effort, certain functions must be provided by at least one person. These assignments and team structures can develop organically, or they can be intentionally designed to match a defined team structure.

To help create balance across cloud adoption efforts, we recommend that you start with a minimum of two teams. The following two teams are responsible for various functions throughout the adoption effort:

  • Cloud adoption team: This team is accountable for technical solutions, business alignment, project management, and operations for the solutions that are adopted.
  • Cloud governance team: To balance the cloud adoption team, a cloud governance team is dedicated to ensuring excellence in the solutions that are adopted. The cloud governance team is accountable for platform maturity, platform operations, governance, and automation.

Diagram of cloud adoption with cloud governance counterbalance

This proven approach is considered a minimum viable product (MVP), because it might not be sustainable. Each team wears many hats, as outlined in the RACI (responsible, accountable, consulted, and informed) charts.

As adoption needs grow, so does the need to create balance and structure. To meet those needs, companies often follow a process of maturing their organizational structures.

Watch this video to get an overview of common team structures at various stages of organizational maturity.

Step 5: Align RACI charts

At each level of maturity, accountability for various cloud functions shifts to new teams. This shifting of accountability enables faster migration and innovation cycles by removing and automating barriers to change. To align assignments properly, the RACI alignment article shows a RACI chart for each organizational structure.

Additional information