6 years, 2 months ago

Business Capability Naming and Content

Bruce Silver, BPMN luminary, has recently posted a piece on BPMN and Business Architecture where, he says, “In the past year the ‘architects’ seem to have discovered BPMN.”  WIth his usual meticulous style he dissects the difference between a process and other notions such as capabilities and functions, terms that architects like to throw around in their paperwork.

He clearly distinguishes process as the “how,” which is what we, at SenseAgility, have been saying as well. Process diagrams, and BPMN diagrams in particular, are the proof behind a particular type of capability, namely the Business Capability. In our work we’ve found that there are specific types of acceptable proofs behind different types of capabilities.

Here’s a statement Bruce makes about typing or perhaps it is even about granularity by implication, “If you’re sorting things into boxes, it doesn’t matter so much if some boxes hold square pegs and others round holes. But when you want to assemble those boxes into a coherent unit, it would be easier if the pegs and holes all had the same shape.” To us this principle is exactly the same one we employ when naming capabilities. As mentioned above, capabilities are different types. You can tell they are different types by looking at the proof behind the capability. That is, what makes the capability a capability in the first place? Business Capabilities have processes behind them, maybe more than one, but at least one.

So what I’m saying here is that if you want to give a name to a capability you need to have something in mind besides appropriate wording. Just getting people to agree on words doesn’t cut it. Why? Because ultimately you need to be talking about something of value. If capabilities can’t be linked to something of value then you might be imagining capabilities in a vacuum.

Anyway, subscribe to Bruce’s excellent blog when you get a chance.

6 years, 2 months ago

Business Capability Naming and Content

Bruce Silver, BPMN luminary, has recently posted a piece on BPMN and Business Architecture where, he says, “In the past year the ‘architects’ seem to have discovered BPMN.”  WIth his usual meticulous style he dissects the difference between a process and other notions such as capabilities and functions, terms that architects like to throw around in their paperwork.

He clearly distinguishes process as the “how,” which is what we, at SenseAgility, have been saying as well. Process diagrams, and BPMN diagrams in particular, are the proof behind a particular type of capability, namely the Business Capability. In our work we’ve found that there are specific types of acceptable proofs behind different types of capabilities.

Here’s a statement Bruce makes about typing or perhaps it is even about granularity by implication, “If you’re sorting things into boxes, it doesn’t matter so much if some boxes hold square pegs and others round holes. But when you want to assemble those boxes into a coherent unit, it would be easier if the pegs and holes all had the same shape.” To us this principle is exactly the same one we employ when naming capabilities. As mentioned above, capabilities are different types. You can tell they are different types by looking at the proof behind the capability. That is, what makes the capability a capability in the first place? Business Capabilities have processes behind them, maybe more than one, but at least one.

So what I’m saying here is that if you want to give a name to a capability you need to have something in mind besides appropriate wording. Just getting people to agree on words doesn’t cut it. Why? Because ultimately you need to be talking about something of value. If capabilities can’t be linked to something of value then you might be imagining capabilities in a vacuum.

Anyway, subscribe to Bruce’s excellent blog when you get a chance.

6 years, 4 months ago

Business Architecture Anti-Pattern: The Nature of the Inventory Viewpoint

The Portfolio Viewpoint is a collection of well-defined capabilities and their relationships across a set of domains. The Portfolio Viewpoint supports executive level discussions and business strategy because it traces stakeholder (CEO, CIO, COO, CISO) vision to decision grade information for IT investment.

But the Portfolio View usually doesn’t start out that way.

It frequently begins life as an Inventory Viewpoint that has little value outside of Enterprise Architecture or Business Architecture teams. Some attributes of the Inventory Viewpoint are as follows:

As you can see the level of order is much higher and therefore of greater value in the Portfolio Viewpoint and while there are probably other attributes one can add to the mix the table above identifies some important ones.

The danger with the Inventory Viewpoint is that if it is maintained in the same condition long term then it becomes an anti-pattern. Collecting capabilities without understanding the depth of their connections and the wealth of their meaning will end up as shelf-ware in a repository, however sophisticated that repository may feel.

So resist the temptation to hoard capabilities. Don’t be afraid to talk to the business. And, above all, pay attention to what your stakeholders and their deputies tell you, particularly the office of the CEO, CIO, COO, and CISO.

6 years, 4 months ago

Business Architecture Anti-Pattern: The Nature of the Inventory Viewpoint

The Portfolio Viewpoint is a collection of well-defined capabilities and their relationships across a set of domains. The Portfolio Viewpoint supports executive level discussions and business strategy because it traces stakeholder (CEO, CIO, COO, CISO) vision to decision grade information for IT investment.

But the Portfolio View usually doesn’t start out that way.

It frequently begins life as an Inventory Viewpoint that has little value outside of Enterprise Architecture or Business Architecture teams. Some attributes of the Inventory Viewpoint are as follows:

As you can see the level of order is much higher and therefore of greater value in the Portfolio Viewpoint and while there are probably other attributes one can add to the mix the table above identifies some important ones.

The danger with the Inventory Viewpoint is that if it is maintained in the same condition long term then it becomes an anti-pattern. Collecting capabilities without understanding the depth of their connections and the wealth of their meaning will end up as shelf-ware in a repository, however sophisticated that repository may feel.

So resist the temptation to hoard capabilities. Don’t be afraid to talk to the business. And, above all, pay attention to what your stakeholders and their deputies tell you, particularly the office of the CEO, CIO, COO, and CISO.

6 years, 5 months ago

The Language of Business

IT has spent a lot of time and money chasing the “language of business,” trying to nail it down, trying to find a way to communicate with those who don’t want to know about computers or software or even why you have both of those things in the f…

6 years, 5 months ago

The Language of Business

IT has spent a lot of time and money chasing the “language of business,” trying to nail it down, trying to find a way to communicate with those who don’t want to know about computers or software or even why you have both of those things in the first place.

You’ve seen how the IT community has launched wave after wave of propositions that mostly make no sense to business leaders. Standards bodies that form around notations, training sessions, the analyst houses make proclamations about their proclamation strategy — you have to say something.

But it is really a lot simpler than that in the final presentation. Its about time and money. You know, the thing that IT has used to try to learn the “language of business.”

6 years, 5 months ago

The Language of Business

IT has spent a lot of time and money chasing the “language of business,” trying to nail it down, trying to find a way to communicate with those who don’t want to know about computers or software or even why you have both of those things in the f…

Categories Uncategorized
6 years, 5 months ago

The Language of Business

IT has spent a lot of time and money chasing the “language of business,” trying to nail it down, trying to find a way to communicate with those who don’t want to know about computers or software or even why you have both of those things in the first place.

You’ve seen how the IT community has launched wave after wave of propositions that mostly make no sense to business leaders. Standards bodies that form around notations, training sessions, the analyst houses make proclamations about their proclamation strategy — you have to say something.

But it is really a lot simpler than that in the final presentation. Its about time and money. You know, the thing that IT has used to try to learn the “language of business.”

Categories Uncategorized