An outline approach to organisation or service review

Benjamin P. Taylor
2 min readDec 8, 2021


What tools, approaches, perspectives do you reach for when you have to review an organisation, service, team, or department?

Here’s my ‘go to’ list when I am asked to look at a whole ‘service’, usually in public services.

This is a sketch of methods and views we use to try to get a rounded view in order to make savings, improvements, or completely reconsider for transformation and innovation.

What do you use? How does it compare?

1. Context — strategy view

Where is the organisation in relation to context, landscape, partners, suppliers, customers, the future?

We do horizon scanning, scenario planning, look at three horizons, and use the Patterns of Strategy approach to understand structural coupling.

2. Purpose and measures

We look at the ‘POSIWID’ — purpose derived from the results the organisation consistently produces — to get at purpose.

Look at measures, incentives, and framing to understand why it does what it does, and take a critical perspective on who benefits.

Learning and improvement mechanisms — how is the organisation learning about its results, to do better, to reframe, to reconfigure its identity?

3. Leading and governing the work

How are decisions actually made?
Where does the organisation stand with the five key practices?
How is accountability handled?
What are the stories that illustrate the culture?

4. Managing the work

We analyse responsibility/authority/expertise/work against key value streams and look a the clarity and appropriateness of boundaries and discretion and management.

What are the development opportunities?

5. Customer/citizen insight

What is the citizen/customer need and purpose?
We use customer journey mapping and ethnographic work

6. Demand view — demand analysis: what are citizens/customers actually asking for?

7. Channel analysis — which groups access which services over which channel?

8. Policy/commissioning — what are the policy and commissioning decisions regarding what demand, need, and purpose is met and how?

9. Flow — how do we ensure capacity and capability at the point of demand?

10. Process view — core process work and ‘three levels of fix’ to move from process to wider systems

11. Supporting the work — accommodation / workstyles / support / technology / data

12. Organisation and sourcing — how is the work structured and capability procured?

13. Resource view — we look at core, support, and diversionary work and do resource optimisation — what activity can be trimmed, transformed, transferred, terminated, and what must be tolerated

14. Outcome and costs — what does a wider perspective say about the total cost and benefit?

Some of this will be familiar to those familiar with our ‘seven ways to save and improve’.

How does this compare to what you do?