From Silos To Systems via a Network of Projects – now there is a technology to support the transformation

The positive disruption that digitization is bringing calls for a major shift in how we manage our organizations. The main stumbling block to the transformation is the current, far too prevalent, Functional Hierarchy organizational design. Over the years, we have witnessed how a “command and control” approach to management not only disempowers but also drastically sub-optimizes people’s talents and ingenuity. It is also inadequate for managing distributed work.

 So how do we replace hierarchy? We don’t. Instead of artificially super-imposing a top-down hierarchy, we can allow the inherent shape of any organization to emerge: as a network where there are hubs and nodes, connected through interdependencies. What is unique about companies is that they are directed networks with a goal.

The knowledge for a new solution

Leveraging the power of the Critical Chain approach and the body of knowledge provided by Dr. Deming, we have developed a new, paradigm-shifting organizational design: from conventional Hierarchy (silos) to Networks (of projects). This has been our focus for the last fifteen years. Our new organization design that we call the Network of Projects leverages the very fundamental nature of the work that organizations do: projects. By providing a control mechanism that is intrinsic to the way projects are deployed (Buffer Management), as opposed to “vertical”, functional control, we are confident we can equip any organization, whether local or distributed, with the complete knowledge base (epistemological framework) for their transformation.

Competencies are key

In order to exemplify our views on effective utilization of all the competencies that human resources contribute to the organization, we have developed a very sophisticated set of algorithms that reflect our systemic approach. True to our nature as applied scientists, we first developed the conceptual framework (the Theory, if you like) and then translated it into a very sophisticated mathematical algorithm that would capture its essence.

Once tested, we developed the code and built an easy-to-use interface. The final result is called “Ess3ntial”, because it goes to the very core of how we can positively move from Silos to Systems. Ess3ntial expands on Critical Chain by providing the ability to schedule the competencies that each resource possesses, in this way allowing maximum flexibility in the use of resources and you can access it here:

Beyond Project Management

Ess3ntial can be seen (and used) as a Project Management software but it is much more: it is a powerful companion in the quest for better thinking and smarter actions.

Ess3ntial ushers in a new paradigm of work based on competence and cooperation, fuelled by the desire to be part of something meaningful and shared. It is a digital tool with a mission.

As those familiar with our work will know, Intelligent Management is not a conventional consulting company. Our drive is the generation and dissemination of knowledge aimed at transforming the prevailing, silo-based, management style into one of whole Network optimization.

Our work over the last 25 years has been based on the teachings of Dr. Deming and we developed a rigorous integration with Dr. Goldratt’s Theory of Constraints that is called ‘The Decalogue’.

On both sides of the Atlantic, we have advised the leadership of a myriad of organizations on the issue of sustainable wealth creation.

Our work has been published internationally and you will find plenty of information about our methodology at

Intelligent Management has been guiding organizations to understand a systemic approach to managing complexity for over 20 years through our Decalogue management methodology. The Network of Projects organization design we developed is supported by our Ess3ntial software for multi-project finite scheduling using the Critical Chain algorithm. 



Tags: No tags

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *