7 years, 1 month ago

This is not a project

My apologies to René Magritte, as I appropriate his point, if not his iconic painting. After I posted “Storming on Design”, it sparked a discussion with theslowdiyer around context and change. In that discussion, theslowdiyer commented: ‘you don’t adhere to a plan for any longer than it makes sense to.’ Heh, agree. I wonder if […]

7 years, 2 months ago

Square Pegs, Round Holes, and Silver Bullets

People like easy answers. Why spend time analyzing and evaluating when you can just take some thing or some technique that someone else has already put to use and be done with it? Why indeed? I mean, “me too” is a valid strategy, right? And we don’t want people to get off message, right? And […]

7 years, 3 months ago

Should ‘GOODNESS” replace the word “GOVERNANCE”?

I believe we need rethink the Enterprise Architecture practice. I favour starting from a ‘Systems Thinking’ foundation, and therefore go back to John Boyd’s OODA loop:

and Dan Ward’s Simplicity Cycle.

Please take a look at this video to give the rest of this post a bit of context:

Should  ‘GOODNESS” replace the word “GOVERNANCE” in the new order of things?

As a starting point. I believe by standing-on-the-shoulders-of-giants of those who originated and develop System Thinking, Cybernetics, Complexity Theory and Design Thinking will help us re-invent EA.  Personally, no longer call myself an Enterprise Architect – I prefer the title Change Designer – why? Because it simply describes what I do and I can explain it to C-Levels in just a few words entirely focused on business outcomes, stages in the journey and risks & IRACIS (IR: improved revenue, AC: avoid cost & IS: improve service).

Update 0603/17

Can we look to the Unicorns for inspiration? I recall a discussion I had with a few Silicon Valley types at OSCON London recently. I asked a very genuine question:

“How do the likes of Netflix, Paypal, Uber etc. approach Governance?”

The answer: “We don’t use that word, in Silicon Valley!”

This got me thinking; surely things must be driven towards some sort of order? And then, maybe my mental model was wrong. Maybe if I put on my “Complex Adaptive” hat (ref. Cynefin), I will see that the architecture must evolve, in chunks of context specific outcomes, over time. And in this approach, is “Goodness” ( a la Dan Ward above) the key measure of alignment with the outcome?; in a Complex system, the bad are attenuated, and the good amplified – this is how, useful (fit-for-purpose), solutions evolve. So, maybe, it’s not about driving things to a predetermined outcome; maybe instead, it’s about orchestrating and encouraging adoption of practice that delivers context-specific “goodness” (in Dan Ward’s sense of the word).

It strikes me that there appears to be a close relationship between Dand Ward’s Complexity/Goodness model (describe in the video above) to this one:

Although ‘User Happiness” is only one context: a Value System. Another might be ‘The Regulator’. Is it true, however, that focusing on simplicity, and context-specific “Goodness”, are we more likely to satisfy both?

Hence my question – Should “GOODNESS” replace “GOVERNANCE”? Or, indeed, is this what they already do in Silicon Valley? I’m sure there’s much more to understand – but I think it’s a good question for debate!

Please follow the tags #foundindesign #horsesunicorns on Twitter for more discussion on this and related topics.

7 years, 3 months ago

Emergence: Babies and Bathwater, Plans and Planning

  “Emergent” is a word that I run into from time to time. When I do run into it, I’m reminded of an exchange from the movie Gallipoli: Archy Hamilton: I’ll see you when I see you. Frank Dunne: Yeah. Not if I see you first. The reason for my ambivalent relationship with the word […]

7 years, 3 months ago

5Di – Our Operating Model

or how we aim to grow our trees together.


Up until recently, 5Di Ltd. was the commercial vehicle for my Change Design and Advisory services. This is changing as I write; 5Di will become a ‘Team’ within the next few weeks. I’m not sure how exactly all the pieces will fall into place, but I am eating my own dog food; experiment, include, listen to feedback, and evolve.

Before I explain the specifics, I’d ask that you watch a few of the videos here to see and hear where much of the inspiration for our operating model comes from:


Chuck Blakeman Crankset:

Katz Kiely: – BBC Radio 4 interview (audio only).

Dan Ward – all of his series are great, but if you’re short on time, just watch the first and last for now:

The full set:

Back to 5Di, we have a ‘T’ shape service portfolio; The T-bar is the Change Design journey described in the Found In Design un-book and the T-column are technology services focused on Cloud-Native architectures and integration.

Our principles are:
  • Keep things simple as possible
  • Work on interesting projects
  • Deliver value for money
  • Share rewards
  • Be clear, concise and transparent.

We can deliver Value-for-Money.
All 5Di consultants have tons of real-world experience and many have worked for Big-Five or similar – so we know how much they charge for this type of service and,  the other tricks they pull which we will avoid (like land-and-expand etc.). As a rough estimate, I’d say we will come in at less that 30% of large traditional consulting firms.

Because our fees are at least 40% cheaper for the same level of skill/expertise and we deliver value faster (fewer charged days) because we’re not motivated to drag-things-out with large teams. We have no ‘bench’ to sell.

5Di’s business model is simple:
  • We make sure all in the 5Di team get a good day-rate compared to them going to market individually ‘contracting’.
  • We make a reasonable markup on the fee, but then everybody gets a slice of 5Di’s year-end profits.
  • We are like-minds who *want* to work with each other (most of us have in the past).
  • We are all motivated to do a great job for the client – all our work is through referral.
  • As a team we attract other great talents through our collective personal network – I’m getting requests to join the 5Di family weekly.

All this will be explained (using our principles!) on the 5Di website soon. The current site is now horribly out-of-date, rather messy, and way too wordy – we promise a much better one!


7 years, 4 months ago

I Don’t Call Myself An Enterprise Architect

… anymore.

A few people have asked why I call myself a Change Designer rather than an Enterprise Architect. The reason is simple: the EA label misrepresents what I do.

The popular understanding of  Enterprise Architect is:
  • attached to an I.T. view of the world – I’m not only focused on I.T.
  • often synonymous with large arcane frameworks like TOGAF – I dislike them
  • regarded as slow, top-down, big modelling up front etc – I prefer Dan Ward’s F.I.R.E. approach.

I use the title Change Designer because:
  • They are two simple words, that together, explain what I do – I Design Change (transformational or otherwise).
  • They don’t t limit me to only focus on I.T. – but, at the same time, they don’t exclude I.T.
  • Much of my thinking and toolset come from the world of “Design Thinking” (and Systems Thinking, Complexity Science etc.).

I guess I’m lucky in the sense I’m unemployable now, partly due to age but mostly due to temperament! 🙂 I’m more choosy about the things I work on where and when. All this means I don’t need to splash “Enterprise Architecture” and TOGAF all over my CV to find the next gig – and if I did, I’d probably not meet the client’s expectations!

Follow #foundindesign on Twitter to see what I’m up to these days.