13 years, 5 months ago

Tools in action

Link: http://weblog.tomgraves.org/index.php/2011/02/10/tools-in-action/

One of the minor frustrations of the toolmakers’ life – in enterprise-architecture as much as in other fields – is that often we don’t see our tools in action when used by others. I’ve been lucky in that regard in my collaboration with Michael Smith, a consultant in organisational change who works in Mexico and other countries throughout Latin America.

Michael and I have done a lot of work together over the past couple of years or so on ‘cultural translation’, finding ways to highlight cultural assumptions embedded in multinational or transnational business-models, and adapting them for Latin culture – which can be radically different from, say, the US, or Japan, or Germany, to give just some of the examples of the parent-countries of some of the companies we’ve worked with.

One of the most important differences is that, by comparison with ‘Anglo’ culture, Latin culture is far more focussed on the ‘extended-enterprise’ – the impacts of business on family, community and the like.  Organisations ignore that at their peril: and yet foreign companies (US ones especially, for probable reasons that we don’t need to go into here) do indeed tend to ignore it – with unfortunate results. So Michael has been having a lot of success with the enterprise model from my slidedeck ‘What is an enterprise?‘:

For his current client in Guatemala, he made up a large wall-poster, customised somewhat to include specific sections for anti-clients, for groups of clients or suppliers that they want to drop, and so on:

The senior-management team starting to work on the poster:

And placing their own photographs on another version of the poster, to identify and describe each person’s responsibilities in relation to the work of the organisation as a whole:

Models like these – a practical example of modelling people in enterprise-architecture – provide an immediate, personal aid to communication across the whole of the corporation. Result: one very happy client.

It’s been a lot of slog, developing all these tools over the past few years: but it’s stories like these that make it all worth while. To quote the tag-line from the old TV series ‘The A-Team’: “I love it when a plan comes together”! :-)