When working on an organization design project, the designer can approach the design intuitively or systematically. An intuitive approach means basing decisions entirely off of gut feelings or instincts. On the other hand, a systematic approach begins with studying the current state of the organization.
Studying the current state of an organization includes gathering information, analyzing the data, testing a hypothesis, recording the results, reviewing the learnings, employing additional varied iterations of testing a hypothesis (if needed), creating the new design, and implementing the new design. To diagnose the interworkings of the current state, the designer can review and learn the organization chart; talk to people about how information and knowledge flow between different departments and critical players; uncover the strategy and goals of the organization; observe the roles that the employees actually play and the responsibilities for which they are held accountable; and the way work processes are actually carried out.
A systematic approach and methodology brings rigor to the design process, transparency to decisions and recommendations, and a baseline for meaningful change and measuring success. As a starting point, the gut feelings or instincts of the designer may be trusted, however, those gut feelings or instincts must be systematically verified if an effective organization design is to be created. Trust but verify.