Systems Of Work

What are the organizing principles of work within the modern organization?

  • In the modern knowledge work focused organization, significant investments have been made in Systems of Engagement and Systems of Record, however “Systems of Work” have largely been ignored.
  • NolijWork suggests this intervening gap explains many of the challenges that modern organizations face, and why Systems of Work should be at the core of what organizations should address going forward.
  • The focus on customer journeys provides clues to a potential way forward, however journeys are all around us, whether customer journeys or employee journeys.
  • Journeys shouldn’t be restricted to what happens at the boundaries of the enterprise.

Such “journeys” represent the navigation of the services provided by any organization, so should be a core focus.

The Work Graph*

NolijWork considers the Work Graph as that missing element in respect of Systems of Work for modern knowledge work focused organizations.

The Work Graph is the critical lens through which any organization can be perceived.

The Work Graph
  • is the collection of services, outcomes and interactions within an organization
  • is “transparent”, I,e, visible to participants
  • can be thought of as a map to any organization
  • is implicitly “navigated by proxy” on behalf of any stakeholder (e.g. customer, employee…)
Outcomes are the binding element between customers, employees and organizations. An individual service represents a progressive series of outcomes. These outcomes represent the rationale for engaging with any service in the first instance. 


  • are tangible
  • are stable over time
  • are valuable to one or more participants
  • are method agnostic (e.g. people, technology, channel, outsourcing…)
  • can highlight opportunities for innovation

*What is a Graph Anyway?

Graphs are all around us, like computer networks or social networks, they impact and influence us in everyday life. “Graph” is simply the correct mathematical term for such structures.

From Wikipedia :-
  • “A graph is a structure amounting to a set of objects, in which some pairs of the objects are in some sense “related”. These objects are referred to as vertices (also called nodes or points) and each of the related pairs of vertices is called an edge (also called link or line).”
  • “Typically, a graph is depicted in diagrammatic form as a set of dots or circles for the vertices, joined by lines or curves for the edges.
  • “Network theory is the study of graphs as a representation of either symmetric relations or asymmetric relations between discrete objects. In computer science and network science, network theory is a part of graph theory: a network can be defined as a graph in which nodes and/or edges have attributes (e.g. names).”