When creating a transparent organization, it’s fundamentally important to ensure that everyone understands the company’s tech stack and how each piece fits together. From questions about capacity to considering new technology to add, the first step is to provide a clear overview of how everything functions to assess if tools are being utilized correctly.  

Connective DX’s tech stack diagram

What, How, and Why

The three components of any tech stack diagram are the what, the how, and the why. Asking yourself each of these questions will allow you to build a sensible diagram for your company and will make sure you don’t overlook important details. 

Beginning with the what, evaluate the pieces of technology that exist in your tech stack. These are the subject of your diagram, and to accurately execute this project, you should first have a firm grasp of what to include in it. Each system, platform, and tool that your team owns should be featured, and their respective purposes should take center stage. Take time to think through each element and its role both independently and in conjunction with the rest of your tech stack. 

This leads into the how, which is how the data flows between systems. Literally draw a line on your diagram to indicate if a sync is single or bi-directional. Especially in more advanced organizations, few tools are entirely standalone. More often than not, one tool relies on several others. A benefit to mapping out your tech stack is seeing how your team and technology are operating as a unit. As you embark on the journey to create or update your tech stack diagram, prioritize seeing the bigger picture and emphasizing the interconnectedness of your tools. This will help with understanding whether or not each system is being used to its full potential and if a new piece of tech needs to be added. This how will guide your entire team to better utilizing the tools already on board and is key to any good tech map.

Philips’s tech stack diagram

Finally, as you craft this diagram, take time to clearly define why you’re making it. What business value is it adding to your organization? This purpose will enable you to tailor it for your specific needs and results in a final product that feels more impactful to your organization. It could be for a particular metric you want to reach, a program you want to develop, or for the benefits it will have on company culture. Thinking through exactly what you’re hoping to get out of this exercise will make it easier to cater it to exactly what your team wants.

Making Your Stack Transparent 

Whether you’re creating your tech stack diagram from scratch or are simply reevaluating your current drawing, prioritize this exercise as a crucial part of building a transparent environment. A thorough understanding of how the technology is used plays a significant role in any conversation involving strategy and performance; it’s impossible to assess where your platforms are meeting expectations versus where they’re lacking without knowing how each component is currently utilized. When it comes to inter-team collaboration, a look at how a particular department operates gives a more transparent view into timelines and project completion, which builds a deeper sense of trust than being told expected deadlines.

PitchBook’s tech stack diagram

Visibility also works to keep your tech stack manageable and effective; without a high-quality diagram, teams often invest in new tech solutions while unknowingly underutilizing an existing tool that could meet the business’ needs. Instead of adding a separate component to take care of a task that is achievable with what you already have, a second look prevents unnecessary additions that only create more to monitor. 

Wherever you are in the process of creating your tech stack diagram, take the opportunity to build a map that serves both marketing operations and the rest of the company. Doing so positions your team to maximize its success and avoid delays caused by unclear processes or underutilized platforms, and is a helpful look into what your team does for other areas of your organization to use. Continue to evaluate and refine this diagram as your organization progresses, and prioritize this resource as a needed part of a transparent and trusting company.