How do you build a strong, supportive organizational structure.

Meddlers, named after the popular German board game, is a popular change management best practice played at the two-day Management 3.0 Workshops. The exercise allows players to visualize and discuss organizational structure, in a way that matches the concept of value networks. It’s one of the many games that offers you tools and frameworks to arrive at your own solution, and that you can take back to the office with you.Exercise - Meddlers (2 teams)

Organizational structure significantly impact how an organization works and how people feel about that hierarchy and the communication it encourages or hinders. Meddlers teaches you:

  • How to work with multiple products and product owners
  • How to be agile in a geographically distributed team
  • How to adapt organization structures to agile management
  • How to grow an organization structure like a fractal
  • How to balance specialization and generalization
  • How to choose between functional teams and cross-functional teams
  • How to deal with dependencies among teams
  • How to treat teams as value units as a part of a value network

Give your feedback on the new version of Meddlers coming soon!

Get Meddlers Today!

Simply download Meddlers here, print the suggested number of copies, add scissors. Game is available in English. meddlers-in-action

How to Play Meddlers with Your Team

Exercise - Meddlers (4 teams)Players give each other challenges by explaining a situation, a goal, and a number of constraints. For example:

  • You have a business unit of 18 people, responsible for two big customers and two small ones. What could the organizational structure look like?
  • You have a start-up of 15 people, offering Software as a Service (SaaS) to a hundred different customers. How will you grow it?
  • You are a development manager in an enterprise, responsible for distributed teams in three countries. How will people collaborate?

The result of the exercise should be an organizational structure, consisting of one or more teams, where each team contains one or more roles.Exercise - Meddlers (2 teams)

There are very few game rules. Only two things are worth pointing out:

  1. A functional team should contain only people with the same role. A cross-functional team has people with different roles.
  2. By connecting the sides of teams you visualize that the teams are collaborating and providing value to each other.

Players can deviate from the rules, and bend the constraints, in any way they like. Some people add extra roles to their structures. Some people connect tiles in creative ways. Some people position roles across boundaries or outside of the teams. Some people combine roles into one. Everything is allowed, as long as the players can explain what the benefits and the risks are.

Also Read: Designing Agile’s Alternate Rules to Meddlers

How Meddlers Drives Value

Meddlers’ objective is to facilitate discussion about organizational structures, where multiple teams work on multiple projects. The result?

  1. People are forced to work in a flat surface. This means they cannot grow the organization as a hierarchy. They must grow their business as a value network.
  2. The game concentrates on teamwork (instead of having them work solo), which means we recommend limiting the size of teams to fewer than ten.
  3. This game makes it easier for managers to let teammates invent their own team structures and to have them discuss the benefits, risks and value teams are providing to each other.

The exercise has no clearly defined outcome in terms of winners and losers. When players better understand how to grow their organization as a value network, then everyone is a winner!

Also Read: How a Start-up Can Play Meddlers

Give your feedback on the new version of Meddlers coming soon!

Or Attend a Management 3.0 Workshop and learn with fellow change agents!

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