WorkEm R&D Blog

DEC
09

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.

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OCT
23

Are Enterprise and Business Architects the new Borgs?

Are Enterprise and Business Architects the new Borgs?

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.

Why a Borg analogy? Why reflect on ones own profession using fictional, fun and not so serious glasses? Can an analogy give some insights that are valuable to product development? The answer to the last question is Yes.

The Enterprise Architecture (EA) practice(s) has been going through great turmoil the last 10 year or so. EA works well inside IS/IT and engineering but experience significant problems when trying to escape its IS/IT roots and tradition. Initial customer interests are reported to be turned into rejection and then EA efforts are moved back into IS/IT again.

For those of you that haven’t encountered the Borgs, they are a formidable alien race encountered in the Star Trek TV and Movies series a while ago. They come from technological and cybernetic origins and they traverse the universe to assimilate encountered races, their technology and knowledge. A Borg credo is “Resistance is futile” and their ultimate goal is to "achieving perfection”.

When looking at recent trends in EA / BA methods and frameworks one can easily observe the vast number of assimilated knowledge and know-how. Here we find…

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MAR
30

Untangling: Is there more than a Capability to think about?

Untangling: Is there more than a Capability to think about?

Another innocent question with far reaching consequences. 

As I pointed out in the previous article, a capability depends on an underlying concept. Untangling: What comes first, economical concept or capability? But are there more to consider when looking at the world through capability lenses?

Yes, there are plentiful more to be aware of. The capability literature and methods are full of additional aspects. One may wonder if capability has become a wish list for missing strategical and operational talking points? The presence of these embedded aspects may, to a degree, explain why there are many variants of capability based analysis’s and planning methods. Some aspects are explicitly described, but many are tacit or implicit. 

In this article Im taking at look at how capabilities also reflect different Units

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MAR
24

Untangling: What comes first, economical concept or capability?

Untangling: What comes first, economical concept or capability?

An innocent looking question with far reaching consequences. 

The question comprises two parts. ‘What comes first’ brings up what is most important (salient) to people in work they do with others in an organisation. The second part brings up the relationship and dependency between an economical concept and a capability.

The answer is that economical concepts come first and are primary for people in-front of the model theoretical curtain. Without knowing what Customer Retention is and that it is important, a retain customer capability cannot be described. Keep reading to find out why. 

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MAR
21

Untangling Capability, Process, and Service (2) - How to?

This is the 2nd article of two and continues with the outline of the most important aspects to keep in mind while reading and untangling.

The 1st part of this article: Untangling Capability, Process, and Service (1)- How to?

Bridging the gap

I am using the technique of stripping to ‘undress’ specific definitions, frameworks, theories, and approaches of their non-essential parts to find the minimal definition. By remembering what have been removed we can later use this knowledge in analysis, comparisons, and (re-)creation of specific theories, approaches, and practices.

The parts that are removed, form an important knowledge base that can be used for intentional design of theories and approaches. Theory builders can use this knowledge base to better understand their own work and maybe unveil their own tacit and implicit assumptions.

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MAR
21

Untangling Capability, Process, and Service (1) - How to?

An untangling exercise benefits from being well though-out and structured. This article outline the most important aspects to keep in mind while reading.

The starting point for the untangling series: The wonderfully convoluted worlds of Capabilities, Processes and Services

Btw: these articles aimed at experts, working behind the curtain. If you don't mind a mental exercise, then please continue with the article(s).

If you are looking for “simplicity” then I suggest to skip to the end of the series where I present a fusion of the essences of “capability”, “process”, and “service”.

Human centric, work oriented, and instrumental

At the center of untangling three principles are important. The approach I’m take is human centric, work oriented, and instrumental. These principles offer a focus on what is most important (salient). They provide advice on how the evaluate performance (how well). The instrumental and enabling use of capability, process, and service ideas and analysis techniques must be worthwhile to people in work they do with others. The focus is firmly set on generating benefits for people, their work, problems and questions, and not on technical qualities of work products or techniques. Qualities such as workable, beneficial, material, acceptable, and agreeable take precedence over product qualities.

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MAR
06

The wonderfully convoluted worlds of Capabilities, Processes and Services

The wonderfully convoluted worlds of Capabilities, Processes and Services

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated”, by Confucius.

A recent flurry of articles and posts reminded me of how complicated simple ideas can be. This simple quote captures the state of the beautifully convoluted worlds of capability, process and service based analysis and planning. 

On the other hand, It is not surprising that these discussions consume a large bandwidth since organisations, strategies, and businesses have existed long before ideas such as capability become fashionable. ‘New kids on the block’ are the talk of the town until people can understand, accept and work with them.

It is easy to find discussions that go around and around and around with no end in sight. People argue for their ways of thinking and doing that fit their practice. The nature of discussions is often advocacy (to influence) and not inquiry (to understand). In many cases, experts claim their ways and practices are the right ways and the others are wrong and don’t understand. Not very inspirational, motivational or productive! Many of the convoluted debates seem to be persistent in the fields of business architecture, enterprise (IS/IT) architecture, service architecture, and information modelling.

In a series of articles, I intend to look behind the discussions and explore what is similar and different regarding the ideas of capability, process, and service. The approach I’m taking is human centric, work oriented, and instrumental. A use of capability, process, and service ideas and analysis techniques must be worthwhile to people in work they do with others.

I’m not going to fall into the trap of claiming others are wrong. I’m not going propose a new specific approach that competes with everyone else's. Instead, I’m aiming at providing you with insights and reasoning tools so you can create your own approach or practice, or evaluate and adapt others.

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