8 years, 1 month ago

Enterprise Portfolio Management and Enterprise Architecture Paper Available

I have added another paper to my list of papers.  This one is on the central role of the Enterprise Architect in the Enterprise Portfolio Management Process and how Systems Engineering, System Architecture, and Enterprise Architecture are inter-re…

8 years, 1 month ago

Enterprise Portfolio Management and Enterprise Architecture Paper Available

I have added another paper to my list of papers.  This one is on the central role of the Enterprise Architect in the Enterprise Portfolio Management Process and how Systems Engineering, System Architecture, and Enterprise Architecture are inter-re…

8 years, 3 months ago

Changing the Congressional Budget Office to the Congressional Enterprise Architecture Office

The Current Mission of the CBOCurrently, the mission of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO):”is to provide Congress with objective, timely, nonpartisan analyses needed for economic and budget decisions and the information and estimates required for t…

8 years, 3 months ago

Changing the Congressional Budget Office to the Congressional Enterprise Architecture Office

The Current Mission of the CBO
Currently, the mission of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO):

is to provide Congress with objective, timely, nonpartisan analyses needed for economic and budget decisions and the information and estimates required for the Congressional budget process” [from CBO TESTIMONY Statement of Robert D. Reischauer Director Congressional Budget Office before the Joint Committee on the Organization of Congress,[the] Congress of the United States]
The director broke that into three operating strategies:
1. Helping the Congress formulate a budget plan;
2. Helping the Congress stay within that plan; and,
3. Helping the Congress consider policy issues related to the budget and the economy.
The Problem with the Current Mission
This Mission and Strategies is part of the economic, political, and social problems currently facing the United States, and, potentially, a source for the solution of those problems. The reason that the CBO is part of the problem is that finance engineering has influenced Congress to emphasize the “financial” part of an overall Enterprise Architecture. That is, Congress proposes functional and component changes to the US Federal Government and the CBO responds with an analysis, which Congress can choose to spin-doctor to its political purposes. Consequently, Congress can choose to support any industry; examples include agriculture (subsidies) and housing (mortgage deductions, etc.), gambling (gambling deductions), and so on.
A Solution the Congressional Enterprise Architecture Office
As I demonstrate in my book, Organizational Economics: The Formation of Wealth, the body performing the controlling (see IDEF0 post) and governing functions of any organization has three Missions, Security, Standards, and Infrastructure.  This is particularly true of any organization that has a spatial domain.  These missions appear in the Preamble of the US Constitution and throughout that document.
Given these three high-level missions, and my discussion of the role and responsibilities of the Enterprise Architect (as a sub-discipline of Systems Engineering), what the US Federal Government needs is a real implementation of the FEA Framework and a formal Enterprise Architecture process.  This process aligns the departments’, agencies’, and other organizations’ of the Federal Government with the three high-level missions of government. 

Additionally, Enterprise Architecture proposes where develop, transform, reform, end or otherwise change the organizations’ missions, strategies, processes, and tooling.  For the US Federal Government, (or any other organization of this scope and size), the EA process must be recursive, but traceable and integratable.  The CBO is in the position with some of the responsibilities for doing this. 

Why not have Congress empower them as the Congressional Enterprise Architecture Offiice?

8 years, 3 months ago

Housing, Finance, and Government: Three "industries" that produce Minimal Value

The thesis of this post is that it is pretty silly to base an economy, like that of the United States, on housing, finance, and government, which is what Wall St. and Pennsylvania Ave. seem to want to do.Types of IndustriesAll organizations are constru…

8 years, 3 months ago

Housing, Finance, and Government: Three "industries" that produce Minimal Value

The thesis of this post is that it is pretty silly to base an economy, like that of the United States, on housing, finance, and government, which is what Wall St. and Pennsylvania Ave. seem to want to do.

Types of Industries

All organizations are constructed from three types of sub-organizations, which are within their domain.  The Domains would normally be considered as political unit as per example, a city, county, state, or country.  However, even in private organizations, these types of organizations exist, within the organization’s functions and departments.  These organizational categories[i] are:
·         Primary Industry – Organizations that are in an industry that creates a product or service that is exported beyond the boundaries of the domain within which it is produced. 
·         Secondary Industry – Organizations that are in an industry that enables and supports one or more of the processes of the primary industry within the domain it operates.
·         Tertiary Industry – Organizations that in an industry that enable and supports both the primary and secondary industries by providing services that support the environment in the domain within which the primary and secondary industries operate.
As I demonstrate in my book, Organizational Economics: The Formation of Wealth, the primary industry (or industries) is the economic engine that forms the value of the organization for other organizations. Hamel and Prahalad called the turbine of this engine, the organization’s core competence.[ii] It produces the value for the organization.  All other “industries” enable and support this engine.  For example, the economic engine and primary industry for Detroit Michigan, has been and continues to be the automotive industry; in “silicon valley” it’s information technology, the State of Iowa is agriculture, and so on.
Secondary industries are sub-contractors and suppliers of hardware, software, and services to the primary industries.  These industries would include auto parts suppliers, tool manufacturers, transportation within the organizational domain, and other organizations directly supporting the primary industry or industries.
Tertiary industries are organizations that enable and support the personnel, or the domain’s infrastructure.  Schools, colleges, and universities, banks and other financial services, municipal services (e.g., electric, communications, roads and bridges, sewer, water, and so on), food stores, and other stores, hospitals and other medical services, restaurants, fast food outlets, and so on.  In other words, the majority of economic activities within an organizational domain.  Additionally, tertiary industries includes all types of construction.  It also includes the defense (see   Security a Mission of Government).  These industries are where most of the economic activity of an organization occurs.
Some organizational theoreticians include quaternary industries as a category.  These activities include standards and policies (see Standards a Mission of Government) and infrastructure (see Infrastructure a Mission of Government and Organizational Control).

Types of Value

In the first chapter of Organizational Economics, I describe three types values, knowledge value, capacity value, and political value. 
Knowledge value (see Knowledge Value) is value created by an increasing knowledge-base and includes research and development (invention and innovation), and knowledge transfer (education). Products based on new scientific discoveries and transferred into production are the most high valued.  Unique user interface designs like the iPhone or innovative medicines are examples of knowledge value. 
Capacity value (see Capacity Value) is “more of the same” value.  Once a product has been perfected and competitors have brought out versions, then what Adam Smith called “the invisible hand” starts to force reduction in cost of the product.  Many economists refer to the as commoditization of a product, but its value is in capacity production—which produces capacity value.
Political value (see Political Value) is of two types, mediating and exploitive.
·         Mediating (or mediated) political value is created by reducing the organization’s internal process friction.  Examples of mediating political value include contracts, laws, customs, codes, standards, policies, and so on.  In the military, mediating political value (reduction in process friction) comes from “the rules of engagement” (e.g., don’t shoot your fellow military).  The reduction in process friction is very often the difference between a process adding value and a process absorbing value.  The regulation of markets (and the processes of markets, themselves) is such an example.
·         Exploitive political value is indirect or “siphoned” value.  It is caused by someone in the position of responsibility or authority using the position for the reaping of value to their own benefit; “The Lord of the Manor” is the archetypal example, those these include dictators, lobbyists, bankers, day traders, and many judges and legislators.  Further, as I describe in my book, in many cases it includes various religious authorities.

Housing, Finance, and Government as Value creators

My thesis is  that housing, finance, and government either do not create value or very little value.  I base this on the understanding on how these fit within the dimensions described in the previous sections.

Housing

A house is worth a house.  While that seems to be a tautology (and it is), too many people forgot that during “the housing bubble”.  What that saying means is that the value of the house is only what value it imparts to the consumer of the house’s value.  The house is never worth more than when it was built, unless it is maintained and upgraded.  And even when it is upgraded the value of house begins to decrease as it is used (what’s being used, at the most abstract is its value).  The problem, recently, has been that governments tend to inflate their money supply—money being a reserve of value.  With the inflation of money (that is, the decrease in the value of money) the price of a house to increases—though its value remains the same; it’s worth one house.  Likewise, when the housing market “goes down”, the price of the house goes down, but the value remains the same; one house.
House construction and remodeling is a tertiary economic activity.  It produces some capacity value (more of the same value) for the builder and construction workers, but once completed and purchased, it starts loosing value.  In giving the people of the organization a place to live, a house supports the secondary and primary industries of the organization.
Obviously, this is not an activity that enables and supports the formation of wealth for an organization.  Consequently, basing an economy on housing, or at least a significant portion of an economy is foolish and silly.  Yet, in the period from 1995 to 2007, that is what many Americans built the perceived wealth on, and what the United States did.

Finance

Finance includes two subtypes; banks and markets.  The Wall Streeters, (e.g., bankers, hedge fund managers, stockbrokers, pension fund managers and so on) have forgotten that a bank is a value battery and “a market” is the transfer point for the value.
Banks dilute stored value of money through investments that increases risk and potentially increases the amount value through the implementation of discoveries and inventions as new products, systems, or services.  In and of itself, investing cannot increase the amount of value only reduces it.  Only when the money is invested in innovative ideas or the production capability (seeROI Vs VOI) does the value increase, so that, for example, loaning money for a house does not increase the value of the house or create value of any sort.   However, if a bank loans money to a farmer to buy seed or farming implements, the bank has made an investment that does create capacity value—food.  Consequently, banks are tertiary activities that do not produce an increase value, but they loan their repository of potential value (Money) to primary and secondary activities that do.
In the process of each transaction, the bankers siphon off some of the value as a “transaction” fee.  This siphoning is converting potential value into exploitive political value; and exploitive political value is value that is quickly destroyed.
Markets have two missions.  The first is to measure the value of a material, product, or organization. The second is to transform value from real to potential and back; that is trade materials or stocks for money (potential value) or money for materials and stocks.  “Making a market” does both of these; and in this Internet age, anyone can do this.  That is, the person can buy commodities, hold them, and sell them.  In the process, the price of the commodity (be it materials, products, or stocks) converges on a price.
Again, market are tertiary activities that can convert knowledge and capacity value into potential value and the reverse.  And, again, the “market makers” and “stock brokers” that siphon a percentage off, because they are “providing a service” (which to some degree they are), are converting some of the value and potential value into exploitive political value.  Unfortunately, a good many Wall Streeters have turned the markets into legal mega-slot machines, gaming them through “day trading” and even “micro-second trading” to siphon off a much value as possible as quickly as possible, converting it into exploitive political value.

Government

According to my Book, Organizational Economics: The Formation of Wealth, and as note above in this post, a government has three  missions—security, standards, and infrastructure (see. Internal and External security, standards, and infrastructure are mediating political value and all three are tertiary activities, that is, necessary but not sufficient conditions for the growth of value within the domain of the organization.  Further, the second and third activity can be Quaternary.  That is activities, like the enactment of laws and determination of regulations, policies, and standards that enable the standards and infrastructure activities.  These activities are very susceptible to manipulation for personal gain.  The personnel that enact or fund the activities can enjoy an extreme amount of exploitive political value, as I describe in my book.  In the past, it has been the lord of the manor, dictator, duke, king, emir,  priest, shaman, rabbi, Imam, or other religious leader.  Today, lobbyists must be included as they encourage the lawmakers to create uneven economic playing fields that favor one activity or one industry over another; this includes unions and other “not for profit” organizations as well as economic organizations. Consequently, mediated political value is at best much more easily converted into exploitive than either knowledge or capacity value, and is the catalyst for the conversion of these.
In this age, “Entitlements” are the single biggest place that creates exploitive political value.  These safety nets drain value from the infrastructure portion of government.  They are popular because the exploitive value goes into the pockets of the many rather than the few and popular with politicians because Entitlements buy votes.  But, entitlements are unsustainable for any organization as Greece and Italy have proven, and like the United States is likely to prove, now that the population is addicted to Entitlements.  For example, the occupy Wall St. movement feels that all college graduates are “entitled” to jobs (so what value is art history or black studies to an economic organization?).

The Net Result

Too much “unearned income” in too few wallets; too much “Entitlement income” in too many wallets.  I think what I’ve shown is that having an economy based on housing, finance, and government, like that toward which the United States is heading, is a sure recipe for going out of business.
We still have time, but do we have the leadership?

[i]These categories of industries were generally accepted in the 1920s onward, as primary: mining, and agriculture, secondary, manufacturing, and tertiary, services—these definitions are outdated and don’t get at the underlying concepts.  Therefore, I’ve redefined them for a more general meaning of the concepts.
[ii]G. Hamel and C. Prahalad, Competing for the Future: Breakthrough Strategies for Seizing Control of Your Industry and Creating the Markets of Tomorrow, (Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 1994).

8 years, 4 months ago

The Chief Process Office of an Agile Organization

The IDEF0 Pattern and the Organization’s Value EngineIn my book, Organizational Economics: the Formation of Wealth, I use the IDEF0 pattern to model the organization.  This pattern has three internal components, Control, Process, and Mechanisms (t…

8 years, 7 months ago

Short Cycle, Agile, Level of Effort efforts, and Changes in Roles and Responsibilities

In a recent post I briefly discussed the changes in roles and emphasis when a development or transformation effort changes from a waterfall (Big Bang) effort to a short cycle-agile effort.  This post will discuss the topic in more detail in terms …

8 years, 7 months ago

Product Architecture Thinking Versus System Architecture Thinking

Cultural Thinking about Architecture
Until the early 1960s, the discipline of architecture (or functional design) focused on the creation/design/ development/implementation of products like buildings, cars, ships, aircraft, and so on.  Actually, other than buildings, most of the Architects were called “functional” designers, or some such term, to differentiate them from detailed designers and engineers/design analysts.  This is part of the reason that most people associate architecture and an architect with the design of homes, skyscrapers, and other buildings, but not with products, systems, or services.  In fact Architects themselves are having a hard time identifying their role.

In the late 1990s, the US Congress mandated that all Federal Departments must have an Enterprise Architecture to purchase new IT equipment and software.  The thrust of the reasoning was that a Department should have an overall plan, which makes a good deal of sense.  I suspect the term “Enterprise Architecture” to denote the unification of the supporting tooling, though they could have used “Enterprise IT Engineering” in the manner of Manufacturing Engineering, which unifies the processes, procedures, functions, and methods of the assembly line.  And yet, Enterprise Architecture means something more, as embodied the the Federal Enterprise Architecture Framework (FEAF).  The architecture team that created this framework to recognize that processes, systems, and other tooling must support the organization’s Vision and Mission.  However, its up to the organization and Enterprise Architect to implement processes that can populate and use the data in the framework effectively.  And that’s the rub.

Functions vs Processes and Products vs Systems
In the late 1990s and early 2000s the DoD referred to armed drones as Unmanned Combat Air Vehicles (UCAVs), then in the later 2000s, they changed the name of the concept to Unmanned Combat Air Systems (UCAS).  Why?

There are three reasons having to do with a change in western culture, the most difficult changes for any organization.  These are: 1) a change from linear process understanding to linear and cyclic, 2) a change from thinking about a set of functions to understanding a function as part of a process, and a change in thinking from product to system.

Linear vs Cyclic Temporal Thinking
Product thinking is creating something in a temporally linear fashion, that is, creating a product has a start and an end.  D. Boorstin in the first section of his book, The Discovers, discusses the evolution of the concept of time, from its cyclic origins through the creation of a calendar to the numbering of years, to the concept of history as a sequence of events.  To paraphrase Boorstin, for millennia all human thinking and human society was ruled by the yearly and monthly cycles of nature.  Gradually, likely starting with the advent of clans and villages a vague concept of a linear series of events formed.  Still, the cycles of life are still at the core of most societies (e.g., in the east, the Hindu cycles, and the Chinese year, and in the West, Christmas and New Years, and various national holidays). 

The concept of history change cultural thinking from cycles to a progression through a series of linear temporal events (events in time that don’t repeat and cause other events to occur).  In several centuries this concept of history permeated Western Culture.  The concept of history broke and flattened the temporal cycles into a flat line of events.  With this concept and with data, information, and knowledge, in the form of books, meant that Western culture now had the ability to fully understand the concept of progress.  Adam Smith applied this concept to manufacturing, in the form of a process, which divided the process into functions (events), and which ended up producing many more products from the same inputs of raw materials, labor, and tooling.

Function vs Process

In the Chapter 1 of Book 1 of An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (commonly called The Wealth of Nations), Adam Smith discussed the concept of  the”Division of Labour”.  This chapter is the most important chapter of his book and the concept of the Division of Labor is the most important concept; far more important than “the invisible hand” concept or any of the others.  It is because this concept of a process made from discrete functions is the basis for all of the manufacturing transformation of the Industrial Revolution.  Prior to this, the division of labor was an immature and informal concept; after, many cottage industrialists adopted the concept or were put out of business by those that did.

Adam Smith did this by using a very simple example, the making of straight pins.  In this example he demonstrated that eight men each serving in a specialized function could make more than 10 times the number of pins in a day when compared with each of the men performing all the functions.  He called it the division of labor; we call it “functional specialization“.

Functional specialization of skills and tooling permeates Western Culture and has led to greater wealth production than any prior concept that has been created.  Consequently, as Western Civilization accreted knowledge, the researchers, engineering, and skilled workers became more expert in their specialized function and increasingly less aware of the rest of the process.

Currently, most organizations are structured by function, HR, accounting, contracts, finance, marketing or business development, and so on.  In manufacturing there are designers (detailed design engineers), engineers (analysts of the design), manufacturing engineers and other Subject Matter Experts (SMEs).  Each of these functions vie with one another for funding to better optimize their particular function.  And most organizations allocate funding to these functions (or sometimes groups of functions) for the type of optimization.

Unfortunately, allocating funds by function is a very poor way to allocate funds.  There is a principle in Systems Engineering that, “Optimizing the sub-systems, sub-optimizes the system“.   J.B. Quinn, in “Managing Innovation: Controlled Chaos”, (Harvard Business Review, May-June 1985), demonstrated this principle, as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1–Function vs Process Funding
As shown in Figure 1, at the bottom where you cannot really see it, for every unit of money invested in a function, the organization will get, at best, one unit of money improvement in the total process.  However, if the investment effects more than one function would yield 2(N-1)-1 in total improvement in the process.  So focusing on investing in the process will yield much better results and focusing on the function.  This is the role of the Enterprise Architect, and the organization’s process and systems engineer using the Mission Alignment process.  While this point was intuitively understood by manufacturing (e.g., assembly line manufacturing engineering) for well over 150 years, and was demonstrated in 1985, somehow Functional Management is not willing to give up their investment decision perquisite.
Product vs System

Influenced by the Wealth of Nations, from about 1800 on, industries, first in Britain, then across the Western world, and finally globally, used Adam Smith’s concept of a process as an assembly line of functions to create more real value than humankind had ever produced before.  But this value was in the form of products–things.  Developing new “things” is a linear process.  It starts with an idea, an invention, or an innovation.  Continues with product development to initial production and marketing.  Finally, if successful, there is a ramp up of production, which continues until superseded by a new product.  This is the Waterfall Process Model. 

The organization that manufactured the product had only the obligation to ensure that the product would meet the specifications the organization advertised at the time the customer purchased the product, and in a very few cases, early in the product’s life cycle.  Generally, these specifications were so general, so non-specific, and so opaque that the manufacturing company could not be held responsible.  In fact, a good many companies that are over 100 years old, exist only because they actually supported their product and its specifications.  Their customers turned into their advertising agency.

This model is good for development (what some call product realization) and transformation projects, but the model has two fatal flaws, long term.  The first (as I discuss in my post Systems Engineering, Product/System/Service Implementing, and Program Management) is that the waterfall process is based on the assumption that “All of the requirements have been identified up front“; a heroic assumption to say the least (and generally completely invalid).  The second has equal impact and was caused by the transportation and communications systems of the 1700s to the 1950s.  This flaw is that “Once the product leaves of the factory it is no longer the concern of the manufacturer.”

This second flaw in historical/straight line/waterfall thinking effects both the customer and the supplier.  The customer had and has a hard time keeping the product maintained.  For example, most automobile companies in the 1890s did not have dealerships with service departments; in fact they did not have dealerships, as such.  Instead, most automobiles were purchased by going to the factory or ordering by mail.  And even today, most automobile manufacturers don’t fully consider the implications of disposal when design a vehicle.  So they are thinking of an automobile as a product not a system or system of systems (which would include the road system and the fuel production and distribution systems.  The flavor of this for the United States is in its disposable economic thinking; in everything from diapers to houses (yes, houses…many times people are purchasing houses in the US housing slump, knocking them down, to build larger much more expensive housing…at least in some major metropolitan areas).  Consequently, nothing is built to last, but is a consumable product.

Systems Thinking and The Wheel of Progress
Since the 1960s, there has been a very slow, but growing trend toward cyclic thinking with organizations.  Some of this is due to the impact of the environmental movement, and ecosystems models.  More of this change in thinking is due to the realization that there really is a “wheel of progress”.  Like a wheel on a cart, the wheel of progress goes through cycles to move forward.
 
The “cycle” of the “wheel of progress” is the OODA Loop Process, that is, Observe, Orient, Decide, Act (OODA) loop.  The actual development or transformation of a system occurs during the “Act” function.  This can be either a straight-line, “waterfall-like” process or a short-cycle “RAD-like” process.  However, only when the customer observes the of the transformed system in operation, orients the results of the observation of the system in operation to the organization’s Vision and Mission to determine if it is being effective and cost efficient, then deciding to act or not during the rest of the cycle.  The key difference between product and systems thinking is that each “Act” function is followed by an “Observe” function.  In other words, there is a feedback loop to ensure that the output from the process creates the benefits required and that any defects in the final product are caught and rectified in the next cycle before the defect causes harm.  For example, Ford treated is Bronco SUV as a product rather than a system.  “Suddenly”, tire blowouts on the SUV contributed to accidents, in some of which the passengers were killed.  If Ford had treated the Bronco as a system, rather than a product, and kept metrics on problems that the dealers found, then they might have caught the problem much earlier.  Again, last year, Toyota, also treating their cars as products rather than systems, found a whole series of problems.

OODA Loop velocity
USAF Col. John Boyd, creator of the OODA Loop felt that the key to success in both aerial duels and on the battlefield is that the velocity through the OODA Loop cycle was faster than your opponent’s.  Others have found that this works with businesses and other organizations as well.  This is the seminal reason to go to short cycle development and transformation.  Short cycle in this case would be 1 to 3 months, rather than the “yearly planning cycle” of most organizations.  Consequently, all observations, orientation and deciding should be good enough, not develop for the optimal, there isn’t one. [this follows the military axiom that Grant,  Lee, Jackson, and even Patton followed “Doing something now is always better than doing the right thing later”.]  Expect change because not all of the requirements are known, and even if they are known, the technological and organizational (business) environment will change within one to three months.  But remember the organization’s Mission, and especially its Vision, change little over time; therefore the performance the metrics, the metrics that measure how optimal the current systems and proposed changes are, will change little.  So these metrics are the guides in this environment of continuous change.  Plan and implement for upgrade and change, not stability–this is the essence of an agile systems. 

This is true of hardware systems as well as software.  For example, in 1954, Haworth Office Furniture started building movable wall partitions to create offices.  Steel Case and Herman Miller followed suit in the early 1960s.  At that point, businesses and other organizations could lease all or part of a floor of an office building.  As the needs of the organization changed these partitions could be reconfigured.  This made for agile office space, or office systems (and the bane of most office workers, the cubicle), but allows the organization to make most effective and cost efficient use of the space it has available.

The Role of the Systems Engineering Disciplines
There are significant consequences for the structure of an organization that is attempting to be highly responsive to the challenges and opportunities presented to it, while in its process for achieving its Mission and Vision in a continuously changing operational and technical environment.  It has to operate and transform itself in an environment that is much more like basketball (continuous play) than American football (discrete plays from the scrimmage line with its downs)–apologies to any international readers for this analogy.  This requires continuous cyclic transformation (system transformation) as opposed to straight line transformation (product development). 

Treating Process in Product Thinking Terms
Starting in the 1980s, after the publication of Quality is Free, by Phil Crosby in 1979, the quality movement and quality circles, the concept of Integrated Product Teams (IPTs, which some changed to Integrated Product and Process Teams, IPPTs) organizations have been attempts to move from a focus on product thinking toward a focus on system thinking).  Part of this was in response to the Japanese lean process methods, stemming in part from the work of Edward Deming and others.  First international attempt to is ISO 9000 quality Product Thinking (starting in 2002), though in transition to Systems thinking, since it is a one time straight-through (Six Sigma) methodology, starting with identifying a process or functional problem and ending with a change in the process, function, or supporting system.

Other attempts at systems thinking were an outgrowth of this emphasis on producing quality products (product thinking).  For example, the Balanced Scorecard (BSC) approach, conceptualized in 1987. The BSC was attempting to look at all dimensions of an organization by measuring multiple dimensions.  It uses four dimensions to measure the performance of an organization and its management instead of measure the performance of an organization on more than the financial dimension.  The Software Engineering Institute (SEI) built layer four, measurement, into the Capability Maturity Model for the same purpose.

In 1990, Michael Hammer began to create the discipline of Business Process Reengineering (BPR), followed by others like Tom Peters and Peter Drucker.  This discipline treats the process as a process rather than as a series of functions.  It is more like the Manufacturing Engineering discipline that seeks to optimize the processes with respect to cost efficiency per unit produced.  For example, Michael Hammer would say that no matter size of an organization, it’s books can closed at the end of each day, not by spending two weeks at the end of the business or fiscal year “closing the books”.  Or in another example, you can tell if an organization is focused on functions or processes by its budgeting model; either a process budgeting model or a functional budgeting model.

Like the Lean concept, and to some degree, ISO 9000, ITIL,and other standards, BPR does little to link to the organization’s Vision and Mission, as Jim Collins discusses in Built to Last (2002); or as he puts the BHAG, BIG HARRY AUDACIOUS GOALS.  Instead, it focuses on cost efficiency (cost reduction through reducing both waste and organizational friction, one type of waste) within the business processes.

System Architecture Thinking and the Enterprise Architect
In 1999, work started on the Federal Enterprise Architecture Framework (FEAF) with a very traditional four layer architecture, business process, application, data, and technology.  In 2001, a new version was released that included a fifth layer, the Performance Reference Model.  For the first time the FEAF links all of the organization’s processes and enabling and supporting technology to its Vision and Mission.  Further, if properly implemented, it can do this in a measurable manner (see my post Transformation Benefits Measurement, the Political and Technical Hard Part of Mission Alignment and Enterprise Architecture).  This enables the Enterprise Architect to perform in the role that I have discussed in several of my posts and in comments in some of the groups in the LinkedIn site.  These are decision support for investment decision-making processes and support for the governance and policy management processes (additionally, I see the Enterprise Architect as responsible for the Technology Change Management process for reasons that I discuss in Technology Change Management: An Activity of the Enterprise Architect).   Further, successful organizations will use a Short Cycle investment decision-making (Mission Alignment) and implementing (Mission Implementation) process, for reasons discussed above. [Sidebar: there may be a limited number of successful project that need multiple years to complete.  For example, large buildings, new designs for an airframe of aircraft, large ships–all very large construction effort, while some like construction or reconstruction of highways can be short cycle efforts–much to the joy of the motoring public.]   The Enterprise Architect (EA), using the OODA Loop pattern, has continuous measured feedback as the change operates.  Given that there will be a learning curve for all changes in operation; still, the Enterprise Architect is in the best position to provide guidance as to what worked and what other changes are needed to further optimize the organization’s processes and tooling to support its Mission and Vision.  Additionally, because the EA is accountable for the Enterprise Architecture, he or she has the perspective of entire organization’s processes and tooling, rather than just a portion and is in the position to make recommendations on investments and governance.

System Architecture Thinking and the Systems Engineer and System Architect
One consequence of the short-cycle processes is that all short-cycle efforts are “level of effort” based.  Level of Effort is a development or transformation effort is executed using a given a set level of resources over the entire period of the effort.  Whereas in a waterfall-like “Big Bang” process scheduling the resources to support the effort is a key responsibility of the effort (and the PM), with the short-cycle the work must fit into the cycles. With the waterfall, the PM could schedule all of the work by adding resources or lengthened the time required to design, develop, implement and verify; now the work must fit into a given time and level of resource.  Now, the PM can’t do either because they are held constant.
 If, in order to make an agile process, we use axiom that “Not all of the requirements are known at the start of the effort”, rather than the other way around, then any scheduling of work beyond the current cycle is an exercise in futility because as the number of known requirements increases, some of the previously unknown requirements will be of higher priority for the customer than any of the known requirements.  Since a Mission of a supplier is to satisfy the needs of the customer, each cycle will work on the highest priority requirements, which means that some or many of the known requirements will be “below the line” on each cycle.  The final consequence of this is that some of the originally known requirements will not be met by the final product.  Instead, the customer will get the organization’s highest priority requirements fulfilled.  I have found that when this is the case, the customer is more delighted with the product, takes greater ownership of the product, and finds resources to continue with the lower priority requirements.

On the other hand, not fulfilling all on the initially known requirements (some of which were not real requirements, some of which contradicted other requirements) gives PMs, the contracts department, accountants, lawyers, and other finance engineers the pip!  Culturally,generally  they are incapable of dealing in this manner; their functions are not built to handle it when the process is introduced.  Fundamentally making the assumption that “Not all the requirements are known up front” makes the short-cycle development process Systems Requirements-based instead of Programmatic Requirements-based.  This is the major stumbling block to the introduction of this type of process because it emphasizes the roles of the Systems Engineer and System Architect and de-emphasizes the role of the PM.

The customer too, must become accustomed to the concept, though in my experience on many efforts, the once the customer unders the customer’s role in this process, the customer becomes delighted.  I had one very high-level customer that said after the second iteration through one project, “I would never do any IT effort again that does not use this process.”

8 years, 8 months ago

Types of Requirements

Definition of a RequirementA Requirement is a measurable expression of what a customer wants and for which the customer is willing to pay.  Therefore, a requirement has three attributes:It has a description of what the customer wants or …