Understand Organizations and Teams in Viva Goals

Organizations and Teams can mean different things to different enterprises. Let’s discuss a few ways, with examples, of how Organizations and Teams can be set up flexibly in Viva Goals to help you identify the best structure for your organization.

Organizations in Viva Goals

An Organization in Viva Goals resembles the topmost entity in an enterprise at which the organizational OKRs are set up and every team in that org aligns their OKRs with those organizational OKRs.

Typically, an organization in Viva Goals represents the company or business unit or a large department within the company.

You can create more than one organization in your Viva Goals account.

One Organization for one Enterprise

Creating a single organization for an enterprise is the recommended best approach unless your enterprise’s needs are different. You can structure this organization to represent the structure of your enterprise.

Let us take the example of the enterprise named Relecloud. This enterprise will have only one organization called Relecloud in Viva Goals.

Example showing a single organization's OKRs.

You can have as many teams and subteams as you wish under this org. That is, you can have teams such as Product & Engineering and have subteams such as R&D (research and development), QA (quality assurance), UX (user experience), Biz Ops, etc.

Example showing a single organization's team structure.

When you have a single organization for your enterprise, it promotes transparency and alignment where everyone is aware of the other’s work and progress made.

Multiple Organizations for one Enterprise

A single enterprise can have multiple organizations under it in Viva Goals. The following are some scenarios where enterprises may opt for this structure:

  • Enterprises that have departments/divisions working in silos and want only select members such as the leadership team to view their progress.
  • Different divisions follow different cadences for planning and execution.
  • There are some privacy constraints among the divisions within the enterprise.

In such cases, each division will be an organization. Users part of the multiple organizations will be able to switch between the organizations to view and contribute to the OKRs progress.

Multiple organizations in Viva Goals.

Let's consider the following example: Contoso Suites is a company that offers various products such as VanArsdel and Relecloud—their collaboration suite and cloud suite, respectively. Both these product divisions are independent of each other and work in silos. So, they created 2 organizations in Viva Goals—VanArsdel and Relecloud—to represent each of the enterprise’s product divisions.

Now, under each organization, multiple teams and subteams can be created to match the structure of the enterprise and its divisions. These organizations can then have their own org-level, team-level, and individual OKRs populated in them.

But the drawback of pivoting an org at a division level is that you are contained within a small space wherein other orgs can't view/contribute to your progress and vice versa. Thus, resulting in lack of alignment and transparency, which are key to OKRs' success.

Teams in Viva Goals

A Team in Viva Goals is a group of users working towards a common set of team OKRs. The Team OKRs would directly or indirectly align to the organization OKRs.

You can create as many teams and subteams as you want within each of your organizations in Viva Goals.

Hierarchical teams

In the hierarchical type, an organization is broken down into teams, which are further divided into subteams.

For example, Relecloud is broken into Sales, Customer Success, Product, and Marketing. Sales can be broken into Large Enterprise, Mid-market, and SMB (small and medium businesses), and Product & Engineering can be divided into UX, QA, R&D, and so on.

Viewing team hierarchy in Viva Goals.

Virtual teams

Virtual teams are cross-functional teams that can have members from multiple departments. They do not necessarily have a hierarchical structure and mostly follow a flat structure.

For example, Relecloud can create a team called Customer experience with members from both the product team and the customer success team.

Viewing a virtual team in Viva Goals.

Structuring your Organizations and Teams in Viva Goals

The structure of each organization varies in real-time. Viva Goals is flexible and enables you to decide the structure of each of your organizations so that they resemble the structure you follow within your enterprise.

For example, VanArsdel may consist of only two levels of OKRs—org-level and team-level OKRs. Whereas Relecloud may allow org-level, team-level, and individual OKRs. Similarly, the team structure in VanArsdel may be hierarchical while Relecloud may have a flat structure.

Limitations of Organizations and Teams in Viva Goals

It is crucial to have a clear understanding of how you wish to structure your organization(s) and team(s) in Viva Goals. Because once setup, the structure cannot be reversed. And the change management involved in the Viva Goals product and within your organization will be a painful process. Also, currently, org migration or org merging is not supported in Viva Goals.

For example, let us assume you choose to follow the single organization approach and populated your OKRs into your Viva Goals account. And at a later point decide to switch to the multiple orgs approach. Now, a lot of changes would need to be made on the product front such as replanning your OKRs in Viva Goals, reassigning them, realigning them, and so on. You would also have to go through the pain of communicating these changes to all the individuals across your enterprise.

Another reason for carefully choosing where to pivot and create orgs in Viva Goals is that you can't view the other organizations OKRs unless you're added as a member.