I know most IT departments vary greatly depending on size and type of company, but I'm just wondering what the typically IT org chart would look like.

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    head -n1 /dev/urandom > org_chart :-) – Kyle Brandt Apr 13 '10 at 18:15
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    This really should be a wiki. – John Gardeniers Apr 13 '10 at 21:55
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    There is no "typical" IT department, just as there is no typical train wreck. The only thing you can say about either is that they both exist, and contain either information or a train, in some kind of substandard state. – kmarsh Apr 13 '10 at 22:06

In small and medium businesses (SME) IT departments have historically grown organically, and often haphazardly.

In large organizations, they have come to mimic typical organizational structure for a department or division, often if not a core business function (i.e. you don't sell IT services) it is viewed as a non-revenue generating expense (like legal, HR, and too often like facilities management).

You'll see a CIO or VP of (Information) Technology at the top, with managers for each divisions.

Common division titles: Operations, Development, Networking (Infrastructure), Information Management / Data warehousing / Database Group, and Client Services or Help-desk. These divisions are not uniform in naming, but often their basic or core function is identical regardless of the naming (Development is sometimes simply called Software for example).

I think ITIL and PRINCE2 might be two sources that could have more "standard" terms or org charts. I cannot think of any other practices or methodology, but anything that is an "expensive buy in, and main purposes seems to exist solely to be the basis to justify yet another re-organization" would be suitable. While this sounds (and is) cynical, I believe most of it is reasonably accurate to be suitable sources for potential answers.

  • Small clarification : I can't speak to PRINCE2 or COBIT, but ITIL doesn't specify or even suggest anything about org charts. It names a lot of roles that have to be filled, but of course a given person can have more than one role - your change manager can also be the guy in charge of config mgmt, or problem mgmt. It's also completely technology-agnostic, so it definitely doesn't say anything about how a corp's Networks team interacts with the Storage team, for example. – mfinni Apr 13 '10 at 20:09
  • @mfinni, thank you, I've been avoiding ITIL at work, so I wasn't sure if it had a generic set of titles or roles than organizations adopt. – mctylr Apr 13 '10 at 21:55

I started drawing a chart to show our IT department but as there is only one of me it just ended up looking like a circle.

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    That's what my department looks like too. – 3dinfluence Apr 14 '10 at 3:09

Kyle nailed it in that comment up there. More seriously, there isn't much in the way of 'typical'. There are many, many ways to arbitrarily draw lines between IT functions. Generally speaking, the larger the organization the more specialized IT functions can get. General Motors can afford Storage Architects and entire departments of people devoted to supporting a single (very important) application. The local community college may have three people who do it all, with a few professor-types assisting. Your local City may have IT as a sub-unit of the Finance Office, even though Public Works is one of the biggest consumers of data (all that sub-street information to keep track of).

Mmmyeah. Talking about a typical IT department is about as easy as talking about your typical mammal.


It depends on how you isolate the different roles: networking, systems, applications, qa, etc.. Oh yeah, don't forget your CIO, if you have one. In our case, we're under the Finance umbrella.


Support and Code monkeys at the bottom

Failed code monkeys higher up in the food chain... analysts, project managers, line managers etc

I'm quite serious: developers are mainly happy being developers and don't see BA/PM/LM as a career progression...

I'm in the IT division of a large global company.

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