WorkEm Research & Development

2 minutes reading time (380 words)

The W (with) that J. Zachman missed

It was a fun idea to write this article a couple of years ago. But, then the realities of the thought started to become problematic. After a while the reported EA problems with generating business outcomes became tedious to listen to and trying react to. So I decided to move on, with a new product development and a Pivot, the Interweaving practice. But, here is a short version of the article.

The Zachman Framework (now called Zachman Enterprise Ontology) is part of the enterprise architecture (EA) inheritage. It was invented and now maintained by John Zachman.

The framework shaped EA practices in the early days. The ontology consists mainly of a matrix where the columns are linked to a select set of linguistic interrogatives (when, why, who, where, how, what) and the rows to “Reification Transformations” and audience perspectives. The matrix is a classification ontology and claims to represent anything, in particular in an enterprise. The practical use of the matrix directly is highly debated, although it is used for teaching the traditional enterprise architecture ways of thinking and doing.

What is interesting is that important (salient) relationships are found in-between the cells. In effect, the interrogative With (whom, what) is missing as a column.

In the Interweaving Practice the J. Zachman Ontology is treated as one example of the Work - Question matrix.

This work product relates work people do with how they answer the same question. In effect, one can choose a set of relevant and salient questions and investigate how people answer them depending on work they do (not based on who they are but on their work / job to be done).

It is quite ok to limit an investigation into 6 fixed interrogatives, but in the current Internet and Information age this limit is bothersome. Why?

I have taken the question “With (whom, what)” as an example. Here we find numerous examples where “Togetherness” is important.

  • Human relationships,
  • Customer relations,
  • Evert Gummesson names 30R from the area of marketing,
  • Collaboration and Interaction from the process management area,
  • Collaboration processes UNCEFACT,
  • Learning spaces,
  • Communities and Crowd,
  • Culture,
  • Integration,
  • and much more

All in all, relationships are important and deserve to be noticed and explored, also as a W-question.

Enjoy!

Anders W. Tell

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