The 12 Tests



During the various stages of an organisation design project there are a number of checkpoints where we believe it is right to stop and examine where we are. We need to ask whether we are still in line to achieve the desired outcomes of the project. In doing this we have developed what we call the 12 Tests.

This isn’t about developing some new formula but simply a range of tests that we believe are sound and good practice to check the outputs of our work and above all ensure we are delivering the greatest possible benefit to our clients.


  1. Identity test – The organisation design delivers a strong sense of its reason, core purpose, uniqueness, ethic, history and brand?
  2. Customer test – The organisation design is aligned to address the needs of each targeted segment of external customers or clients?
  3. Parent test – The organisation design is aligned with the parent’s corporate strategy and source of competitive value-add?
  4. People test – The organisation design can be delivered given the skills and availability of people?
  5. Realism test – The design is practical given the technical, legal and geographic constraints?
  6. Significance test – All teams are ‘whole work teams’ delivering at least one ‘significant event’?
  7. Accountability test – All teams are held accountable against stretching measures focused on their significant event?
  8. Autonomy test – All teams have clear leadership and are empowered to learn and continuously improve? Teams that need to be culturally different are allowed to be so?
  9. Human scale test – Team size and leadership spans of control are within natural, social limits?
  10. Efficiency test –The organisation design has no redundant levels and no insignificant teams? All team roles are value-adding?
  11. Complexity test – The design has the simplest organisational form given the number of ‘difficult’ dimensions that need to be managed?
  12. Subsidiarity test – Work is devolved down to the lowest sensible level?

We would like to acknowledge the contribution from Michael Goold and Andrew Campbell’s book ‘Designing Effective Organizations:How to Create Structured Networks’, Jossey-Bass, 2002, in our development of the 12 Tests.


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