One of my past Exec MBA students sent me this link to the WSJ's article: Engineering Firm Charts Ties (Thank you, Troy) . We'd covered work by Rob Cross and his colleagues on the value of using Social Network Analysis to Improve Communities of Practice (abstract, similar free version). [caption id="attachment_382" align="alignleft" width="273" caption="© flickr.com/publicmind"][/caption] Social network analysis shows you who communicates with whom, and similarly, where there are gaps. The engineering company (MWH, a $1B water engineering firm) in the article considers a variety of networks: communication overall, who is turned to for help, and on-going assessment of who people turn to with new ideas. The analysis technique highlights relationships that may not show up on formal organization charts. What was significant about this presentation how the company takes action based on the results. Where they think links should exist that don't, they have employees meet either by short assignments or by providing coaching on collaboration. The point is that having a map isn't the goal, it's using the map to highlight opportunities for improvement, or leveraging key employees such that they are more accessible, while not allowing them to be overburdened. Nice case example of how you can't change just one thing -- for organizations to take advantage of new technologies, it generally requires a combination of technology and adjustments to organizational practice. Here's a free social network analysis tool, and some background basics.