Enabling Operational Excellence
Enabling Operational Excellence
Enabling Operational Excellence
Enabling Operational Excellence


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Deconvoluting EA

There is much confusion in the Enterprise Architecture space over some of the most fundamental words in the English language: what, how, where, who, when, why. I’m afraid to say there’s some very loopy thinking out there. Zachman anticipated all this and brilliantly provided six generic models for the 6 question words. Here they are roughly as follows (and possibly needing to be adjusted slightly in his new 3.0): What:  thing-relationship-thing How:  input-process-output Where:  site-link-site Who:  role-workproduct-role When:  event-cycle-event (moment-state-moment) Why:  ends-means-ends For me, it’s hard to argue that these are not what each question is about from an architectural point of view. The only thing missing is how you relate instances of the 12 elements to comprehensively configure an enterprise at any given point in time. (Zachman calls these “integration relationships”. They’ve always been there, but only on the schematic in 3.0.) IMO, the best, most dynamic (agile) way to support the ‘integration relationships’ is business rules. What could possibly be better?

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The ‘Up’ Why and the ‘Down’ Why

I had a major case of deja vu reading a recent post by Tom Graves, “The Two Kinds of Why”, at  http://bit.ly/qgJ40i #baot. I’ll tell you why in a second. Believe it or not it has to do with our business card. Zachman and I have had a continung conversation over many years about business rules and the Zachman Framework. We’ve moved forward inch by inch. You have to admire a man who is 76 years old and never tires of listening and learning. I certainly do. John has a version 3.0 of the Framework coming out very soon if not already. I can pretty much guarantee you won’t see business rules in the ‘why’ column. Graves says, “One side of Why creates a question: literally, it starts a ’quest’. For most of us, that’s the exciting bit. The other side of Why is the answer to the question, the end of the quest. That was the question, here’s the answer: The Decision. End of story.” Oh not so! Strategy should be viewed as a continuous feedback loop. You put some stakes in the ground, the ‘down’ why’, but you continuously test those ‘decisions’ to see if they hold up in the light of day. Do they achieve what the ‘up’ why (the ‘quest’) set off to achieve? We believe a conversation about strategy (both the ‘up’ why and the ‘down’ why) is exactly the one business leads are looking to have.  Our deliverable for that,  called a Policy Charter, addresses both questions, two sides of the same coin.
  • Looking down from business goals.  What are the best business tactics and business policies to achieve the business goals, and how are the associated business risks addressed?
  • Looking up toward business goals.  What is the business motivation for each of the business tactics and business policies, and why are they appropriate? 
We’ve looked at the world like this since 1996 and it’s proven highly productive in many scores of engagements. I submit to you as evidence Exhibit A below, our original business card from 1996. (I always liked it … I designed it. Obviously, I shouldn’t give up the day job!) See the intertwined why’s? Hard to miss. Finally, business rules are boring?! Not! See  http://goo.gl/0tLD3    

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