Sunday, 6 January 2019

2019 A New Year and a promise.to post more.

This blog has been running for since 2013 and |I should post more, I know. It is easy to forget or focus on other things. So let me start the year with better intentions with a new brief post.

As I start 2019 I see  reduction in the interest in business architecture as a term and a discipline as in recent years it seems unfortunately to have been absorbed and assimilated by the "Borg" of I.T. Self important guilds and bodies have just, to be frank,  certificated it to death.

What is clear though is that the underlying techniques and tools still are in demand, but from business people in operations and from elsewhere outside of the I .T. department. In reality the term business architecture is not in their vocabulary at all but what they do is. I suppose in truth it doesn't really matter as we should not be marketing a discipline or role as such, which has been quite common over the years, but what is important is the promotion of the right type of good solid design methods.

Marketing the discipline has passed; let us now focus on the outcomes and how to achieve those outcomes instead.


  1. What is the future operation going to look like and why? 
  2. How do I communicate why we are moving this way? 
  3. How do I analyse this poorly presented strategy?
  4. How do I avoid transformation failure and unnecessary expenditure?
  5. Are buzzword topics  necessary or are they a distraction?
  6. How do I plan what to build and when?
Some key questions, a sample set among many others,   that will be answered in 2019.

Happy New Year.....



Tuesday, 2 October 2018

The Cheshire Cat and Operating Models


On reviewing an article on operating model choices - I researched a phrase which is a slight mis-quote from Lewis Carroll - 
‘if you do not know where you are going, any road will take you there’.

It describes the futility of operating model work without strategic direction. It was used to suggest a good strategy is essential prior to design. The real passage has a similar meaning and is apt.

‘Cheshire Puss,’ she began, rather timidly, as she did not at all know whether it would like the name: however, it only grinned a little wider. 

‘Come, it’s pleased so far,’ thought Alice, and she went on. ‘Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?’

‘That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,’ said the Cat.

‘I don’t much care where—’ said Alice.

‘Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,’ said the Cat.

‘—so long as I get somewhere,’ Alice added as an explanation.

‘Oh, you’re sure to do that,’ said the Cat, ‘if you only walk long enough.’

Pretty much sums up a lot of business change – enjoy!

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

T34 Poznan (Posen-Ferstung) Poland. Military Capability

When looking at kit like this you start to think about capabilities in a different light. Military analogies and historical case studies help things make a lot more sense to "services" business people, steeped in process thinking, who often struggle with the capability modelling concept. The ability to tackle enemy heavy armour reliably on the Eastern Front WWII , cheaply and in quantity was what made the T34 a capability supporting asset; a war winning weapon for the soviets.  Looking at battle field examples in the field - Poznan Poland-  rather than prepared examples given to the west, (such as those specimens at Bovington (Dorset)) shows the fit for purpose finish in its true form.  The build speed for a T34 was many times faster than its German rivals and the cost many times lower than the iconic Tiger II. Simpler, easier to maintain, cheaper and faster to deploy the technology backed up by a superior production system won the day. T34 Poznan (Posen-Ferstung) Poland.

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Process mapping is not always universally a good thing.

Process management is promoted as the answer to most operational difficulties. Get stuff mapped, understand the measures that deliver what stakeholders required and reduce the variability. Tool vendors "lap this up" and provide repositories and mapping tools to do the job plus add-ons in some cases to create business architectures - great.

Like many things it all becomes, in some cases a bit too much, where the above approach is preached by some as the only way - basically if you don't do this you don't know what your are doing! It becomes simplistic with mantras like " if you can't measure it you can't measure it "," Your standards aren't standards" that doesn't comply with **BPMN 2.0 so it isn't professional process mapping. and so on.

The approach described is probably fine in high volume low variety environments where doing the same thing the same way makes measurement and outcomes consistent. Quality systems require compliance to documented processes and systems; this is all wrapped up in this *BPM paradigm.

However what about environments where the service provided is nearly always different every time a client pulls value? Does it then make sense to map processes and engage the BPM way of doing things. Process mapping implicit knowledge of professional knowledge workers is pretty hard - I have tried a few times over the years and it is a bit pointless as an exercise I can tell you!

So what is the message here?

The point I am making is that  methods and techniques have to be appropriate and just because you are an expert in one method or another don't get drawn into thinking that it is the only way and please stop,  reflect  on what you are saying because some of the evangelism we see in some methodologies today is highly counterproductive.

 AGILE, Six Sigma, Scrum, Prince 2 to name a few candidates for consideration- I am sure readers can think of others where it has all got a bit too much.

*BPM Business Process Management
** BPMN Business Process Mapping Notation Version 2.0.






Wednesday, 29 August 2018

New Canvas

The Book Available from Amazon.
The book operating model canvas written by Andrew Campbell et all and  published last year by Van Haren, it is a fine colourful read, however it needs more substance behind its introductory text of the zones of the POLISM framework. In order to fill this gap Kirill Deverenski and myself, with permission of the author,  have been writing some supporting articles - one for each zone.

The operating model canvas seeks to expand the left hand side of the now Osterwalder's fairly famous Business Model Canvas by providing a pull out and replace plugin for: Supplier, Key Activities and Key Resources.

In essence  these pieces try to explain the role of tracing value through the model and flesh out the various things you need to think about and provide some steps for each zone. please see.

www.operatingmodelpartners.com

We hope to complete the series soon with the Information Zone. This material and the thinking behind it support our: How to use the Operating Model INFORMATION ZONE Now OUT! SEPT 18.


el Canvas Course available for booking for corporate groups.  It may well also result in a work book in 2019  - we shall see.