Once again, I’m using Archi (or ArchimateTool) with the Archimate modelling language.
OKRs do not cascade
Just because the diagram depicts a hierarchy, doesn’t mean that the objectives cascade down the organisational hierarchy. Following the logic in OKRs don’t cascade, I’ve taken the approach of the depicting the hierarchy, rather than how that hierarchy is achieved. In the article, Felipe mentions that objectives should not be cascaded down the organisation. Instead, objectives and key results should be discussed and agreed at each level. The resulting picture is the same either way, but the content of the objectives and key results may be different depending on the route.
Depending on the level of the organisation, many of the components that achieve an Objective will not be Key Results, but instead will be lower level Objectives (e.g. of the next team down in the corporate hierarchy or downstream in case of a flatter hierarchy). The diagram allows both Key Results and Objectives to form part of an Objective.
Modelling Goals and Objectives
Key Results have been modelled as Outcomes. Objectives and Contributing Goals (lower-level Objectives) have been modelled as Goals. In doing so, I’ve allowed for a hierarchy of Objectives to fulfil the concept of Contributing Goals. Had I gone with a model of Objective = Outcome, we would have seen a model of hierarchical outcomes which would not have made as much sense, especially to those having to achieve those outcomes.
From the perspective of Business Architecture, I’m interested in the alignment of actions to the overall vision. I like to see a clean line connecting actions of the workforce to corporate objectives to vision. Many organisations suffer because the objectives are cascaded down rather than agreed at each level. Combining OKRs with a culture of joint-goal setting has a good chance of resolving that core issue.
Notes about the diagram
The content is fabricated; completely artificial. I haven’t populated every single branch, but enough to indicate what could be captured. For those areas that I did populate, I kept to the concept of 3 key results per Objective, of which any of the Key Results can be replaced with Contributing Goals. You can flex that as you wish.
I’ve created a tiny environment in which the OKRs operate, featuring an internal driver for change, an external driver, the assessments for both and the corporate vision and missions.
The interesting concept for me regarding business motivation is that the diagram is agnostic of the organisation structure in that it doesn’t indicate which team or who is responsible for achieving which objectives or key results. I’ve done that on purpose.
If we imagine a typical organisation of 400 people. Each of those named 400 individuals could have Key Results to deliver. Some of those Key Results would contribute to team Objectives. Some of those team Objectives would coalesce to fulfil higher level Objectives and so on. That’s the bottom-up picture.
The top-down picture is that the strategy needs to pervade the organisation and steer the choice of actions and the delivery of those actions. At the top level, the objectives may be independent of who is going to deliver them, but shortly thereafter the key results or contributing goals would have to be assigned. And it’s likely that they’ll be assigned to relevant directors (in the case of stretch targets and keeping the operation running) or delivery teams (in the case of changes). However each of the delivery teams should have a sponsor. It’s that sponsor that’s actually accountable in this case for the delivery of the key result, whereas in many organisations it would be the delivery team.
Overall, OKRs force a concept of personal responsibility or rather, a concept of personal accountability if we follow a RACI model. For the majority of a workforce, the individual is likely to be both accountable and responsible for their key results.
What I haven’t address is the non-aligned use of OKRs, e.g. allowing or encouraging the setting of key results that do not fit with corporate objectives.
I simplistically take the view that Service Design is the concepts and methods of Design Thinking applied to making services work better for their customers. It’s a definition that works in the circles I most commonly move in, i.e. directors, programme directors, etc. It allows me to set the stage in which service design and design thinking both play.
However on the same stage, we commonly find KPIs, OKRs, Business Architecture, etc. And the stage starts to look crowded very quickly. We also start to see people pulling in different directions, like someone has let a mouse loose in the chorus of an Italian opera.
Operas and plays have directors, often many directors each responsible for their own domain, but with one artistic director responsible for the overall vision.
Now imagine what would the stage look like if the director asked the question “How might we…..?”.
It’s the opening line of many a design thinking ideation round. And it serves many purposes, explained better by others elsewhere.
Taking the stage analogy further, I hear questions such as “How might we produce more colourful costumes?”, “How might we light the back of the stage better?”, “How might we fill this part of the stage?”.
All of them are good questions and relate to the specific problem that has been uncovered during the discovery phase.
What they’re not doing is thinking of the entirety of the show. They just resolve the problem that was uncovered for their part of the show.
How might we approach this differently?
What they’re not doing is asking “How might we aim to deliver a better show?”
Let’s look at that question more thoroughly.
It’s got the typical format of “How might we…?” introducing the concepts of inclusion, a shared problem, and an indication of possibilities and potential.
I didn’t stop at the simpler question of “How might we deliver a better show?”. That’s where service design typically fits.
If we step back from the stage and consider an organisation, even applying service design in this way would be a stretch. At this scale, we’d be trying to apply service design to the whole organisation, e.g. how might we deliver better services? Where typically each service would have its own change activity, often in the form of design sprints, etc. Instead, the simpler question of “how might we deliver a better show?” could be translated into a top-down design question for an organisation of “how might we deliver better products and services?”, “how might we become a better organisation?” or similar organisation-wide design questions.
However, the question I introduced earlier focusses on the aim, not necessarily the end result. It asks about how might we aim to deliver. In focussing on the aim, it allows us to explore the goals and how goals are set. It leads us to question what goals would be required in order to deliver a better show. In understanding the goals, we have to understand what good looks like, what counts as successful and not just in the eyes of the board, but in the eyes of customers. If we set the concept of goals smart enough, this could easily set the scene for continual improvement.
Alignment with Business Architecture
Back to the organisation, now that we’re asking about the aims, and we’ve looked at the goals, we can start to see how the goals for the enterprise could be set. This brings Service Design up to the area where it aligns with Business Architecture. While this may seem at odds with a top-down approach of setting KPIs, we have to ask the question of why wouldn’t we want to develop an organisation that is driven by achieving its goals that deliver value to customers?
Alternative Business Motivation
By combining Business Architecture with Service Design, there is the possibility of redefining the concept of Business Model Modelling. Typically that’s a top-down approach, modelling external influencers, assessments, goals, objectives/outcomes, etc. Taking the combined service design/business architecture approach would result in metrics that matter to customers as the metrics percolate up through the organisation, not cascade down as is more common.
Whereas the concept of One Metric That Matters may suit startups as they redefine/focus on a different metric per stage of development and growth, it would not be expected to change as often in a more mature organisation. Instead, we may see a single metric that is of most interest for a cycle of improvement. But here’s the clincher – that metric would be an aggregate of the metrics defined by exploring the problem space with customers, not one that’s defined by an executive board.
However we may see a situation where an executive board decides to steer the organisation away from its current model towards a different business model. In that case, we would consider a more top-down approach.
In Black Sheep or Shepherd, I introduced the idea that Business Architecture isn’t aligned with Enterprise Architecture as well as we may expect from looking at traditional structures for Enterprise Architecture.
I’ve had several conversations about that topic since, all raised by the person I was talking with, rather than me asking them. And we’re all coming to similar set of conclusions:
Business Architecture doesn’t fit well within Enterprise Architecture (more on this below)
Business Architecture as a profession is maturing
Organisations who are using Business Architects are using them differently
Business Architecture may be better defined as a peer capability to Enterprise Architecture, rather than within EA.
Let’s take each in turn.
1. Business Architecture doesn’t fit well within Enterprise Architecture
I covered a lot of this in Black Sheep or Shepherd. The traditional implementation of EA originates from an IT perspective. Enterprise Architecture is typically initiated from with the IT function. While EA is meant to include Business Architecture in parallel to Technical Architecture, etc, Business Architecture is typically the last to be included and takes a position following Technical Architecture.
A typical Enterprise Architecture structure would include Application Architecture, Infrastructure Architecture, Data/Information Architecture and Business Architecture. Usually implemented in that order when originating from an IT perspective. In fact, I’ve often seen the sub-architecture of Process Architecture being implemented before Business Architecture.
This is opposite to what we would expect if we were able to plan it logically. In that case, we’d apply Business Architecture first in order to understand the aims and vision of the organisation, then organise everything around that vision. That’s where the other architecture domains come in. That’s the method as described (but often not followed) within TOGAF ADM. Start with the agreements, architectural principles, then business architecture to define the requirements for the other architecture domains.
2. Business Architecture as a profession is maturing
While we could say this of almost any profession, the rate of progress and thought-leadership in Business Architecture has progressed noticeably over the last few years. Prospects and clients are more aware of what it can do for them, internally within organisations there are more allies for the need for Business Architecture. It’s not all rosy, but it is improving.
Not only are the consultancies improving in their offer and the clients are improving in their knowledge and their requests, but short-term resource agencies are also improving in their placement of business architecture. More people involved in the wider enterprise are now talking about the value of business architecture. It’s still not prevalent and there’s often sales activity involved in influencing clients and prospects in the value, but it is increasing.
3. Organisations who are using Business Architects are using them differently.
Many of my requests for work come from portfolios or programmes rather than central, corporate enterprise functions. It is the change function of the business that is seeing a need to create order within the organisation and hence wanting the services of a Business Architect to assist with that. Typically, these assignments also stretch into guidance on business analysis although that can be considered separate. The indication though is that’s how the clients are seeing the tasks at hand. They see that the technology is taken care of through technical design authorities, etc and want a similar structure for business decisions.
This can be extended to a point where a change programme uses business architecture which then informs a corporate function. That corporate function realises the value and initiates their own business architecture initiative. When done well, these two different business architecture functions concentrate on their own objectives while ensuring alignment between corporate and change function. When done badly, they compete.
4. Business Architecture may be a peer capability to Enterprise Architecture
I find myself discussing future designs with Enterprise Architects, not because the designs have to go through them in terms of governance, but as a peer review. It does raise the question of whether they’re should be a consolidated governance route and review boards, not just technical design authorities. I have created design authorities that focus on business design (including the use of technology) rather than the technology solutions as would often appear before a technical design authority.
In addition, if we take the EA implementation diagram mentioned earlier, we can see that there are several transition states; one after each phase where only a subset of the Enterprise Architecture has been implemented. The typical transition state follows phase 2, where we see EA comprising Infrastructure and Application Architectures, all governed through an EA route. But with Business Architecture and Data/Information Architecture governed through other routes.
That combined, with the multiple design authorities, is indicative of an immature EA function, leaving us with two choices:
Improve the maturity of the EA function and the role of Business Architecture within it.
Engage Business Architects as peers to Enterprise Architecture
(1) only works if the initiatives are not IT focussed and that there’s more well-rounded support and engagement for that function.
(2) is what many clients are doing. They’re seeing EA as not performing what they require of the function, so they engage a Business Architect to provide and cover that gap.
Where to go from here?
That leads me to my premise. Even though EA is mature as a concept, it’s implementation is poor in a number of organisations, especially those that treat EA as a subset of IT.
Wherever EA is a subset of IT, then Business Architecture should short-term be driven by change portfolios. In parallel, the organisation should consider how to achieve wider adoption of the EA function within the organisation. Ironically, that task is most suited to Business Architects.
Whichever route, there has to be single point at which all designs come together for review. Not necessarily reviewing the designs themselves, but at least the design principles behind them. That review function is the start of a homogenous Enterprise Architecture function.
Moreover, we should concentrate on Business Architecture first where possible. Relying on existing architects is fraught with issues, most of all leading the organisation down a technology-driven path, rather than a business-vision/purpose path as would be more appropriate.
So consider a revised implementation timeline to reflect the earlier presence of Business Architecture, whether within or as a peer to EA.
As a profession, Business Architects are in danger of becoming defined by just one of the products that they create. Unfortunately, it reduces the value that the profession can provide to organisations and limits expectations of prospects and clients.
What went wrong?
Imagine a fine-dining chef who makes tacos once at the request of a favourite customer. The chef knows tacos will do the job, she knows they’re sustenance, she knows that there are better products and even advises the customer of what she can do instead. But the customer wants tacos, so she delivers.
Other people like tacos as well. So she becomes known as a taco chef and the world is left short one fine-dining chef. Or rather, she’s no longer unavailable to provide the fine-dining experience since she’s now cooking tacos at the request of many customers. She knows she can do more and tries to prompt customers through educating them of other ideas and concepts. But the tacos are pleasing the short-termism of the current customers. It keeps them fed for an hour until they start to feel hungry again. She’s diligent and adds as much nutrition in them as she can. She listens to each customer, understands their needs and can plan a superb meal that will keep them well-nourished for hours. But the customers want tacos and end up hungry again in a hour or so.
The tacos could be cooked by someone on a lower salary. But they may not have her knowledge of nutrition and attention to detail. So yes, they’d still be tacos but not tacos of the quality that she’s been producing.
That’s our taco
And that taco situation is what I see with Business Architects. We’re commonly requested to perform a documentation task, e.g. “document the current business”. It’s usually followed by “so that we can …..”. Look on any job boards for contract Business Architects and you’ll see the activities we’re requested to perform. It’s usually the pattern described above of “document the current business”. Roles for permanent Business Architects are usually wider since clients don’t want professional expertise for just 6 months; they’re thinking longer-term.
The contract clients request knowledge or even certification of TOGAF or Zachman, but you don’t need knowledge of those to be able to document the business.
They may want specific knowledge of their industry sector (e.g. SOX and MiFID II for finance) and they may want experience with specific tools. But if the role requires a Business Architect, then documentation will be the activity.
They may even want knowledge about Business Architecture offerings specific to their industry sector (e.g. MODAF or ETOM). That last element can assist with documentation, especially if there are reusable models in the sector-specific offering.
But in the end, the client is asking for someone to document their current business. There’s often little thought for what to do with the documentation once it’s been produced. Some clients think ahead to wanting a future model, but don’t give much thought as to what to do with the gaps between current and future or how to evaluate benefits of different future models.
That’s our taco. Documenting the current business is the Taco of Business Architecture.
How did we get here?
Let’s take a look at some of the definitions for Business Architecture and then do the same for Enterprise Architecture. We would expect them to be similar, with Business Architecture being more focussed on the business domain.
Business Architecture Definitions
wikipedia: “a blueprint of the enterprise that provides a common understanding of the organization and is used to align strategic objectives and tactical demands”
OMG: “defines the structure of the enterprise in terms of its governance structure, business processes, and business information.”
The BA Institute – “defines the enterprise value streams and their relationships to all external entities, other enterprise value streams, and the events that trigger instantiation.”
The common theme in these is that Business Architecture is referred to by the deliverable or product that it creates. It’s output is the definition of the enterprise business.
Whereas I’d see Business Architecture as an activity. I’d expect to see more relating to its purpose, what it does and why it does it.
Interestingly, TOGAF (also by OMG) describes the context of the first few steps of the ADM with:
“a knowledge of the Business Architecture is a prerequisite for architecture work in any other domain (Data, Application, Technology), and is therefore the first architecture activity that needs to be undertaken, if not catered for already in other organizational processes (enterprise planning, strategic business planning, business process re-engineering, etc.).”
TOGAF, in the paragraph above, implies Business Architecture as an activity.
Enterprise Architecture Definitions
Let’s look at definitions for Enterprise Architecture and see if they exhibit the same characteristics.
Wikipedia defines EA as “a well-defined practice for conducting enterprise analysis, design, planning, and implementation, using a comprehensive approach at all times, for the successful development and execution of strategy”
MIT CISR defines EA as “the organizing logic for business process and IT capabilities reflecting the integration and standardization requirements of the firm’s operating model.” Jeanne W. Ross, Peter Weill, David C. Robertson
Gartner defines EA”is a discipline for proactively and holistically leading enterprise responses to disruptive forces by identifying and analyzing the execution of change toward desired business vision and outcomes”
Enterprise Architect Body of Knowledges defines EA as “analyzes areas of common activity within or between organizations, where information and other resources are exchanged to guide future states from an integrated viewpoint of strategy, business, and technology”
Here we see words such as discipline, practice, logic, guide. There’s a mix of nouns and verbs in that list, but they all indicate activity, for instance, you’d only have a discipline if you were to produce something.
We seem to have lost that concept with the Business Architecture definitions, although the TOGAF ADM excerpt does imply that Business Architect involves activity.
The Tao of Business Architecture
I’m going to approach this from a different direction and simplify the concept.
1. Business Architecture assists strategy
Business Architecture only exists because of strategy. Without strategy, Business Architecture has no purpose, no reason for being. We would just be producing documents for the sake of producing documents. Either those documents have to be useful or the process of creating the documents has to be useful, otherwise Business Architecture is a waste in any organisation.
Business Architecture relates to how that strategy is developed and maintained, how that strategy is implemented, how different strategies are evaluated and indeed, even the documentation of current strategy.
A description of the current landscape and challenges
A description of the future target that can respond to those challenges
A plan to get you to that future
For Business Architecture (and also Enterprise Architecture), those concepts make a lot of sense and can be interpreted as:
A description of the current architecture. In this case business architecture, specifically the BMM, organisation units, influencers, partners, governance, etc
A description of the future target. In this case, the goals, outcomes, changes to capabilities, future organisation units
A plan to get you to that future. In this case, the change programme and work packages (most likely later supported by programme and project plans).
Here is the crux. Business Architecture is not only those documents, but it is the activity involved in producing those documents. There is more value in a Business Architect assisting an organisation in defining their strategy, challenging, providing other options, providing analyses, etc than there is in the delivered documents. It is the analysis and the progression of the conversation and the development of knowledge within the enterprise that is of most value. For some clients, the future state doesn’t need to be written down at the end of the assignment because the organisation has developed to the point that all know the common direction. The direction has become subsumed into organisational knowledge and culture. That’s not common, but the fact that it can happen, indicates that we’ve assigned value to the wrong part of the contract.
2. Business Architecture assists the enterprise
When I read the EA definition earlier from the Enterprise Architecture Body of Knowledge, I found that it described Business Architecture with one element missing:
“analyzes areas of common activity within or between organizations, where information and other resources are exchanged to guide future states from an integrated viewpoint of strategy, business, and the use of technology”
The simple addition of “the use of” alters the definition to be suitable for Business Architecture. I also like the focus on “future states” rather than current.
3. Business Architecture assists goals
This is fundamental for me. When I’m explaining to people what I do, I avoid phrases such as “I architect businesses” in the same way that a programme manager may say that “I manage programmes”. Instead I simplify for the layperson and say that:
“I help organisations do what they want to achieve”
and often the first step of that is
“assisting the organisation’s executive define what it wants to achieve.”
From my perspective, the majority of large issues within organisations stem from a lack of alignment. I find that larger organisations evolve to a state of disparate, loosely connected governance models that are not aligned with a central set of themes (or goals in this case). I work to align an enterprise so that it can focus resources on what it want to achieve, briefly (or as briefly as is reasonable) documenting where it is now, developing the future vision and then assisting the executive in steering the company towards that vision.
In short, it boils down to: “What direction do you want to go in? Then let’s define what we need to do to get you there.”
Business Architects need to retake the definition of the profession, in order to move clients and prospects from the Taco of Business Architecture to the Tao of Business Architecture.
This should be done with a focus on Strategy, Enterprise and Alignment and a lesser focus on documentation for the sake of documentation.
The model I’ve been using in the previous articles has grown to become relative complex (complex for a online article, not for a typical business architecture model) while trying to describe a common situation in most organisations. I’m going to show it all in one diagram in this article and show different perspectives on the diagram.
In the first article, I introduced the standards and the tools that are in scope of this series of articles. To recap, the chosen tools/standards/methods are:
Archimate – The open source enterprise architecture modelling standard
In this article, I’ll show the whole diagram so far and the achieving different perspectives on that model
What we’ll cover:
The model covering all elements that have been discussed so far
The use of viewpoints
What we won’t cover
The current to future organisation model
Do not consider this article to contain the definitive method for documenting the combination of MSP, Business Motivation with Archimate.
I’m more confident about the parts of the model described in articles 1, 2 and 3, than I am in this. Mainly the right-hand side of the model doesn’t feel fully integrated. That’s instinct at the moment, but I’ll look to evaluate further.
The Whole Model
The model starts with the external drivers, influencing corporate ambition. There’s an example of an assessment. Archimate implies that a influencer does nothing to an organisation without an assessment. I’m not keen on that thought. Events will happen to your organisation whether or not you assess them. I can see where they’re coming from, i.e. the internal organisation will not respond to the external influence without an assessment, but it feels odd at the moment.
We then descend the left-hand side of the model through the goals being set, then into corporate governance (probably including portfolios in larger organisations), the MSP Mandate and Brief.
Further down we see the goals related to the MSP Vision, the MSP Outcomes and the Requirements.
On the right-hand side, there’s the assessment mentioned earlier. Below that there’s a gap while we’re in corporate governance on the left-hand side. Then we see the MSP Blueprint. And it starts to become more convoluted at that stage, especially if we include the descriptions of the future state, as you may expect in a Blueprint.
In the previous article regarding blueprints and missions, I highlighted that many programmes cannot have a Blueprint with a future state defined at the start. These are the programmes that are created with the specific purpose of designing the future. Having been involved with many of these, it that’s type of programme that I chose to portray, plus it takes us out of the comfort zone of works-in-theory to a zone of how-does-this-work-in-reality?
The final part is a collection of the 3 work packages. There would usually be more, but their inclusion is more to show how they’d relate to the rest of the model.
I set out to see how Business Motivation Model and MSP could be modelled using Archimate. It’s common to see the use enterprise architecture tools focus on the current state or a future state, but without easily assisting with the navigation from one state to the other, especially regarding what needs to be involved in change programmes.
There is another part of the model, on a different diagram, that I’m going to discuss in a following article. It concerns that change, from documenting the current state to showing the delivery of the business capabilities in the future state.
In hindsight, I’d like to include the plateau artifact in the main model. That would be a better solution and would replace the To-Be organisation units currently included.
Part of what I wanted to achieve was to be able to see track the response to an influence all the way from the work package and it’s change on organisational units, policies, etc up through the programme governance to the executive. And also track the reverse.
Looking at the model, we can see that you can navigate from the top to the bottom. Nothing is isolated or standing on its own. However, not all of the relationships are that useful or required to be able to connect the top to the bottom.
For instance, look at the Corporate Archimate diagram above. You’ll notice the dotted lines with arrowheads, e.g. between Changes in Legislation and Assess Impact of Legislation. That’s because that relationship is “influences”. It hasn’t defaulted to the standard of “associates with”. Archimate allows a default “associated with” for any artifacts, but it’s not always that useful and implies that you’re deviating from the purposes of the model. The straight line relationship between Forthcoming Demographic Change and Increase Market share is a good example of that “associated with” relationship. Fine if you know what you’re doing.
In our case, I’d already mentioned I’d take a bit of short-cut and only included one assessment. The point here, is that to use Archimate properly, we have to go from Influencer through Assessment to Goal. Even if an assessment is just the CEO or MD thinking it through for a few minutes, it’s still an Assessment.
Looking further down the model, we see that the goal defined in the corporate vision do not relate directly to those defined in the programme vision. They should. In fact, that’s the alignment that I’m most interested in. Instead, during the development of this model, I connected them through the MSP Mandate and Brief. Since Archi is a repository-based system, it’d be easy enough to connect them. Unfortunately for us in the model, the mandate and the brief are only connected with a the default “associated with” relationship.
So my next step is to ensure that all relationships are worth documenting by trying to avoid the default “associated with” relationship where possible.
To assist with that, I’ve been looking at different perspectives within the same diagram. Archi implements these as Viewpoints. So far, we’ve been using the default “All” viewpoint.
The first viewpoint we’re going to look at is Motivation. Using this viewpoint, we’d expect to see only the artifacts and relationships that relate to motivation, and we’d hope that this viewpoint aligns with Business Motivation Model.
As we can see, all Deliverables are now greyed out (those relating the Mandate, Brief, Mission and Blueprint). Also greyed-out are the organisational units, business capabilities, capability changes and the work packages. From a BMM perspective, all that makes sense. It also highlights the need to connect the corporate goals with the programme goals directly, separate to the programme mandate and brief.
Goal Realization Viewpoint
I also used the Goal Realization viewpoint which overlaps with the Motivation viewpoint. In addition, it greys-out stakeholders and influencers. My intention here isn’t to find the perfect viewpoint. It can’t exist since it depends on the purpose and the audience. I was intending to see what the tool can do to assist in achieving a more logical model, consistent with the underlying Archimate language.
That quest for the logical consistency and use of the model/tool segues nicely to the validation tool. I had wanted this to point towards missing relationships or where the default relationship is used. I wanted pointers to making it a better model and I’d accept better being defined in terms of adherence to the Archimate language. More ideal, would be the ability to receive pointers to a better model based on a selectable standard, e.g. Business Motivation Model, Enterprise Business Motivation Model, etc. I had in mind the way that code editors, e.g. Sublime, can provide syntax checking based on various languages.
However, the validation in Archi is simpler than that.
There is the useful highlight of duplicate artifacts and unused artifacts. Then there is the list of artifacts that do not belong in that particular viewpoint. That’s useful if you only ever want to depict a model that conforms to a single viewpoint. It’s not as useful when you’re attempting to depict a model that crosses viewpoints, such as the mix of MSP, BMM and Archimate we’ve seen in this model.
I’m going to add in the relationships between the corporate goals and the programme goals. The aim is to see a clear line from top to bottom when using the Motivation viewpoint. That’s a starting position.
I’m going to replace the future organisation units in this model with a plateau
At the moment, it would be wise to view the diagrams and model included in these articles as a draft. They are open to discussion and subject to change.
In this article, I’m going to introduce the Blueprint element of MSP.
What we’ll cover:
The MSP Blueprint
The MSP Mission
Some of the capabilities that we’re affecting
The start of work packages
What we won’t cover
The detail of the organisation design (e.g. current and future designs)
The full capability map
Do not consider this article to contain the definitive method for documenting the combination of MSP, Business Motivation with Archimate.
I have more confidence in the previous articles and the documentation contained within them than in what I’m covering in this article. See the Aside below for more detail.
Similar to the previous diagrams, I’ve used a grey frame to indicate the MSP Blueprint. Unlike the one I used for the MSP Programme Brief, in this article, I’ve included the content I’d expect to see within the Blueprint within the same grey frame. Remember that the frame is visual only.
Again, following the previous articles, the Blueprint is a document and has been modelled as a Archimate Deliverable.
I expect a Blueprint to take the information from the Mandate and deliver a description of what the organisation/technology will look like when the change has been delivered. A key component of that is what large-scale changes we’re likely to see during the course of the programme. In this case, I’ve used:
Archimate Course of Action to denote the:
The red frame is visual again. I’m using it to highlight the different sections of the Blueprint.
I expect the designs within Blueprints to be draft or incomplete, especially in Programmes that are tasked with designing the future operation of an organisation. That may appear in conflict with the typical requirement for a Blueprint that states the design upfront (as part of the Brief and Blueprint) before the programme can be funded, but some Programmes are iterative or need to learn from Assessments before the design can be finalised. And it’s that type of programme that I find myself more commonly working on; those that have the mandate to define the future, without knowing what that future will look like at the start of the programme. So we develop the future design over time and produce iterations of the Blueprint.
Fortunately, we can start with Design Principles, e.g. what criteria can we set that constrain our designs later on? An example here is “Enterprise above Siloes”. I’d usually have a longer description about what this means and how it will affect design further downstream. In this case, we will design the best solution for the enterprise rather than for an individual department. That principle will most definitely come in useful later when considering organisational design.
These Design Principles are modelled as:
BMM Directive (Business Policy/Business Rule)
It’s worth noting that I’ve strayed from pure BMM here. From the definition of BMM 1.3:
“Directives govern Courses of Action”
Directives include Business Policies and Business Rules. Courses of Action include Strategies and Tactics. The concept of a Courses of Actions producing Directives doesn’t appear to exist within BMM.
The reality of the model may be different in that we’d likely see a Work Package acting as the initiation phase of the Programme and the main deliverable would be the Blueprint. That deliverable includes the broad strategies in how the objectives will be met and the business rules that will be used to constrain the more detailed design later on.
The work package would be initiated based on the Mandate and Vision in order to create the Blueprint and the Mission. There would have been a package of work before this to cover the work necessary to produce the Brief following the Mandate, but as I mentioned in that article, I wasn’t covering work packages at that time. More importantly, in most organisations, it probably wouldn’t exist as a formal Work Package anyway.
On the right of the grey frame, I’ve include a blue frame for High Level Organisational Design.
Within that, we have 3 teams of East Team, North-West Team and South Team. Behind the scenes in a separate diagram (but the same repository), I’ve documented a change from 3 teams which are based on sales, marketing and product support/after support and decided that following the Design Principle of “Deliver Local Where Possible” that each of the teams will be restructure with multi-skilled staff to deliver the same capabilities in the 3 locations. This is a fabricated example so we don’t have enough information to evaluate whether this would be a good thing for the organisation. But it is a typical change.
The teams are modelled with the:
Archimate Business Actor
Since this is the Blueprint and focusing on the future, I’ve only included the representation for the future organisational design, not the current.
The teams mentioned earlier deliver Business Capability. I’ve included high-level capabilities (typically Level 1 or Level 2 depending on your starting point) in this diagram: Sales Management and Marketing. A common capability map would include lower levels of capability, e.g. sales reporting, etc. The Capability Map itself would be a separate, but related diagram. We would then have the option of including lower level capabilities in the Blueprint if appropriate. For the purposes of this article, I’ve chosen two higher level capabilities.
For the type of programme listed here, we would expect the programme to be active in developing the capabilities, perhaps even creating them if they don’t exist yet. However considering the main changes revolve around a re-alignment of roles and locations, then the Business Capabilities would still be the same, just delivered in all locations and probably delivered by a different skill set.
Business Capability does not fit in MSP or BMM and is an artifact from Business Architecture. Hence there are no MSP or BMM objects to reference as equivalent.
To highlight this change, I’ve used a green frame for Capability Changes. This isn’t a concept specifically in MSP or BMM, instead it’s more about the changes being introduced by the programme, from a Business Architecture perspective.
Capability Change is an modelled as:
Archimate Course of Action.
I’d suggest thinking about the Courses of Action used earlier in the Mission as defining how we are going to support the goals and the Course of Action in the Capability Change as how we are going to implement the Mission.
This Capability Change of “Cross-skilled roles” is essential to the implementation of the re-aligned teams to the right of the diagram.
The final part of a Blueprint is how the programme will deliver its changes, e.g. how will it apportion work and govern the activities going forward?
I’ve used a turquoise frame to highlight the work packages resulting from the Programme Initiation. These are the work packages that will deliver the objectives.
These do not fit within the BMM, but do relate to it.
Archimate Work Packages were used to model:
MSP/Prince2 Work packages/Work Streams
BMM – no corresponding object
The Work Packages deliver the outcomes based on fulfilling the requirements.
Admittedly, the integration of the methods, tool and standards started to become murkier here with little clarity in how changes are supported. Most noticeable of the issues were:
Finding an approach to model how Business Capabilities relate to other artefacts such as future teams. I’ll publish the diagram that contains the changes in a following article and you’ll see why the artefacts shown in today’s diagram were chosen.
Documenting the relationships between Directives and Courses of Action and their use in programmes that implement change in strategic direction.
Some of that confusion could be:
my lack of familiarity with the Archimate language for these artifacts.
the lack of detailed documentation and examples for these Archimate artifacts. There is some very good documentation available. However, in common, with most EA tools, they’re great at documenting how to use the tool within a static context, e.g. defining a current state. But you then have to find a way to use them to depict different states, e.g. as an organisation evolves over time. This can range from prefixing artefacts and diagrams, creating folders based on phases, using attributes to denote which phase an artefact should be in, etc. This “how to use the tool” information is usually held by the implementation consultants of each tool. They’ll know what has worked elsewhere, what pitfalls are involved if you deviate, etc.
that the modelling language hasn’t been designed to do what I want to do
that the tools doesn’t reflect the modelling language (I’ve no evidence to say it hasn’t implemented and all reason to believe it that Archi is an accurate representation of Archimate)
that it is just a first draft, subject to change and that future versions will depict a better model
At the moment, it would be wise to view the diagrams and model included in these articles as a draft. They are open to discussion and subject to change.
In this article, I’m going to introduce the corporate element of the BMM.
What we’ll cover
Corporate vision as opposed to MSP vision
Drivers and influencers
What we won’t cover
Risk governance, etc
Anything that isn’t related to business motivation. Archimate and Archi are capable of modelling more than just business motivation, but my scope is purely the intersection of Business Motivation, Archimate and MSP.
In the previous article, I mentioned that starting with the Programme creates some issues when integrating the chosen standards, methods and models. However it’s proven useful by highlighting the differences in levels of the models and their relative contexts within organisations.
For this article, I want to take a simplified (indeed, a very simplified view) of corporate decision making. It’s stripped-down so that we focus on how it affects Business Motivation and the use of MSP.
The external start
Our starting point is the set of Drivers that are influencing our change.
I’ve used the Archimate Driver to depict:
These can be external or internal, but the initial set that propel an organisation to change have always appeared to be external to me. These could be forthcoming legislation, changing demographics, changing technology, market dominance by a competitor, etc.
In addition, how the organisation reacts to these drivers can also be drivers, but start with the external ones first. Even in the startup domain, that external driver could be market-driven based on the market’s need for saving time and/or effort with a particular task.
I’ve only chosen to model the one set of external drivers. It would be a simple task to add in internal drivers and their relationship to the external drivers.
All of those drivers need analysing, but not all are formally analysed. In some cases, the executive will simply decide on a route forwards. In other cases, more care is required or the driver is complex and so, an assessment of that driver will be required. Typically these are performed to prepare for the advent of new legislation, e.g. The Care Act, GDPR or Brexit.
The fabricated example I’ve chosen is based on an organisation responding to changing market conditions, choosing its place in the market, and facing a potentially different market under Brexit-type changes. I’ve assumed that the executive have decided how they’ll handle the market competitor changes, but will require an assessment of the Brexit-type change. It’s rarely that simple and in fact, a goal of increasing market would appear to be naive on its own. However I’m not intending to model every facet of the organisation.
Assessments could take some time, could take a significant amount of planning and be programmes or projects in their own right. I’ve chosen not to model that part of the concept here. Programmes to execute assessments would follow the same concepts as the programmes that we’re detailing here anyway.
MSP Programme Mandate
Once the corporate goals have been set, we’d see the initiation of implementation activities. This is the early stage with the rough outlining of programmes to deliver those goals. Larger sets of goals and cross-directorate changes could indicate a higher level such as portfolios. I’m sticking with programmes for this example since Portfolios would predominantly be more of the same modelling but with a few more levels between corporate and programme.
We’ll start with the mandate which can range in detail from a rough email to a more thought-out document. This is the command to start preparing the programme.
In the diagram above, I’ve used a grey frame for the MSP Programme Mandate. This is purely visual as an aid to understand how the artefacts relate to MSP.
Inside that frame, I’ve used two Archimate Deliverables for the Programme Mandate. In doing so, I’ve assumed that the mandate is actually a document, even if it’s an email. I’d expect the Programme Sponsor or SRO to have written that mandate. However, in reality, often the SRO is assigned after the programme has been further defined, so add in a stakeholder artefact for the CFO or whoever wrote the mandate as appropriate. The mandate allows a programme manager to prepare the programme.
The first deliverable following the mandate is the Programme Brief which should flesh out the ideas in the mandate. Again, I’ve used a visual frame for the Briefs and use the Archimate Deliverable for the MSP Brief documents.
I’ve assumed a simplistic approach of one programme per corporate goal, again, not terribly realistic but doing it this way allows us to concentrate on what artefacts are required. We’re concentrating on the chain from corporate vision through to
The brief normally includes benefits, costs, timescales and risks. I usually think of this as the Business Case, so it has to include all the information necessary for a board to approve funding and permission to proceed. Depending on how you follow MSP, it may or may not include a vision. Although it’s difficult to see how it’s possible to progress beyond the brief if it doesn’t include a vision. The confusion sometimes arises since visions, especially complex, can be developed in parallel to the brief and delivered to the same board.
For the purposes here, the Brief and the Vision are separate documents, but there’s nothing to say that the Vision can’t be part of the Brief. There is no flow in this particular Archimate view, just a representation of what artefacts relate to other artefacts. The way that I’ve documented the relationships, the Vision would have to be part of the Brief in order to reference the Benefits. A potential confusion is that I haven’t placed the grey frame for the Brief around the Vision as well. Bear in mind that frame is purely a visual aid and doesn’t record hierarchy or boundary, but instead may indicate it visually.
I’ve used the Archimate Goal to represent
This was first covered in the previous article and is included here to set the context. Now we can see where we originally started (i.e. with the Programme), then started again at the top of the organisation and worked our way down to meet the Programme.
Similar to the concept of whether the vision is part of the brief or not, the placement below MSP Programme Brief does not include that they are defined later. Rather that they are separate artefacts that can be discussed separate to the Brief.
Another artefact within the Brief is the definition of how the programme will be delivered, e.g. timescales and resources required. That will show in the next article.
Also in the next article in the series, I’ll cover the Blueprint and the other elements that have been cut from the right-hand side of the diagrams so far.
If transformative change is the task of ironing, then Enterprise Architecture is the act of stretching the fabric across the ironing board beforehand. Ensuring that the creases that already existed are smoothed out, allowing the change to flow freely, instead of exacerbating the folds that were already present before the change.
Experienced Enterprise Architects will know just how much stretching is required, how hot to make the change and, most importantly, when it’s done and it’s time to move onto the next item.
As a business architect, I feel like I’m sometimes the black sheep and sometimes the shepherd of the Enterprise Architecture function.
The Black Sheep
1: Uncovering the rationale
I feel like the black sheep because I find myself regularly asking why. Why did you make that decision? Why did you choose that approach? Why caused you to think that way?
I tend to use different, phrasing which is more approachable and open, such as “tell me the story so far. How did we get to where we are now?”, etc. But underneath it all, I’m aiming to understand the motivation behind the changes that are progressing in front of me.
It’s not so much a position of devil’s advocate, more of one of uncovering the rationale behind decisions and evaluating whether that decision is still a valid one. Many long-term programmes are governed against a set of principles which were decided and approved over 18 months before. The world has changed in that time so is it still appropriate to continue with those principles.
2: Focus on business
I also feel like the black sheep because we, as business architects, are rarer than technical architects, solution architects and even enterprise architects. To the point that there may be a team comprising many technical architects and solution architects and I can be the only business architect. I’d guess that, before I arrived, there was no business architect presence.
Unfortunately, I find that those who have come directly from the technology route will have less of grasp on issues and potential solutions within the business domain. That includes the vast majority of enterprise architects I’ve met, even though they’ll be responsible for business architecture as well. Typical enterprise architects lean naturally towards the technology domain. Not all, but most as it’s seen as a promotion route from technical architect. If we have more technical architects, then it’s likely that we’ll see more enterprise architects with a technology background and a technology focus.
I feel like the shepherd since business architecture should come first. Look at TOGAF’s ADM, which architecture element comes first? It’s Business Architecture.
Admittedly, that assumes a linear process from 12 o’clock and progressing clockwise. But for many clients, the initiating event is that a programme requires a technical architect, so they start around Steps C or D on the ADM (if they’re following ADM or similar).
Even before you get to Business Architecture, there’s the process of approving the concepts of enterprise architecture, what it will focus on and how it will be done. It’s that stakeholder management within the preliminary activities that, when you look at the skills involved, align more closely with that of the business architect than of the other architects.
Back to corollary to point 1 above, if we start with a business architect, then the preliminary steps and step B of the TOGAF ADM fall into place. A large chunk of A can be developed by the business architecture, since we’d still want the changes to be focussed on the goals and motives of the business.
From then on, e.g. C onwards, we design the architecture (and subsequent technology decisions) based on the business you want to be, rather than the more typical way of having to hammer an organisation into a technology refit.
Practitioners of Customer Development, Lean Startup and Enterprise Architecture can all learn from each other. But they shouldn’t enforce their views on each other as there are some incompatibilities. Let’s see how enterprise architecture in startups can exist.
The Startup culture and methods have largely been defined by Steve Blank who wrote The Startup Owners Handbook and later, by Eric Ries who wrote Lean Startup. Both of these consider how newly-created companies can grow quickly and in the right direction for their founders and customers. Many authors and speakers followed, but for this article, we’ll mainly focus on these two.