Saturday, January 12, 2013

EA as Compass: 5W+1H Navigation

5W1H -- “I kept six honest serving-men (They taught me all I knew); their names are What and Why and When And How and Where and Who.” Rudyard Kipling

An enterprise architect would be instrumental in asking “WHYs” and developing the “WHATs”, but also integral to identifying synergistic alternatives (assuming that a business principle was prioritized as driving the decision) across the enterprise, and in every functional organization involved.

  • Why: ends-means-ends 
  • What: thing-relationship-thing 
  • How: input-process-output 
  • Where: site-link-site
  • Who: role-work product-role 
  • When: event-cycle-event (moment-state-moment)      
EA is like compass or GPS to guide through business transformation via such 5W+1H navigation. The whole idea of requirements, strategy, architecture, is to not pollute the thought process with pre-conceived notions of a particular implementation. Only through this effort, can objective architectural approaches be realized. 

1.    5W+1H Content & Context in EA

  • WHY: The “WHY” is business purpose, vision, and mission. The "why" is the set of assumptions upon which the business is basing the rationale for the project. The architects need to design a solution that makes these testable and also admits for variation.      
  • WHAT is the requirement set as you have said but most importantly, it is the 'what is most important?' question as this drives trade-offs at feature/time. 
  • HOW is the set of design principles that guide implementers so that they stay within the why.  
  • WHERE is a set of attributes that are expected to change based on results within the Market or other dependent system changes. 
  • WHO is talent or team to define "what" or work on "how" 
  • WHEN: Timing is everything, EA ensures the right things (what &how) need to be done by right people (who) at the right time (when).

EA influences the HOW by asking the WHY; WHY" = Justifies "HOW" initiatives.

5W+1H are primarily represented in business architecture by:
A) Business Strategy Model (What, When, Why, How, Who, Where)
B) Structure and Governance Model (Who, What, Where)
C) Business Capabilities Model (What)
D) Business Process Model (How) 

2. 5W+1H Context from Strategy Perspective

It is the cascading process...In strategy efforts, and business processes/capabilities underpin business strategy:

  • WHY is the reason behind strategy;
  • WHATs are things you want to do to implement strategy, then WHATs trickle down to function organizations
  • WHOs take the WHAT and figure out the WHAT for their respective areas as a separate but related thought process following by
  • HOW is analysis, to establish a selected implementation path. This goes into each and every business functional area that has a factor in delivering the strategy. 
  • When: the timeline, schedule in every phase of implementation

Who, Where, When, Why from 'business capabilities/processes' perspective:

  • Who and Whereas Organizational Structure and Governance 
  • When and Why as Time frame and Motivation (the why are we doing this part of the business strategy). 
There are other aspects to business architecture such as applications, information, value streams, value chain, and value system. Further, 5W+1H Analysis will help:

1 As a baseline operating model reference when formulating business strategy
2 As a basis for future business architecture to support a new business strategy
3 When benchmarking competitive strategies
4 Assess impacts of operational changes, strategic initiatives/alternatives
5 Assess impacts of introducing new products or services
6 Value chain changes impacting products, services, suppliers, partners
7 Want to know - Who does What, Where, When, How, and Why
8 Determine why various process metrics, CSF, and KPI not meeting targets
9 As part of an Operational Review or Operational Audit
10 As a means of identifying and eliminating siloes, duplication, and redundancy
11 As part of the continuous improvement of operational effectiveness and efficiency
12 Identification of process time, cost, value, quality for operational cost reduction

3. Multidimensional Views on WHAT & HOW

Some professionals view the question words 'what' and 'how' as peers, each addressing a distinct area of architecture. Other professionals characterize ‘requirements’ as the 'what', and the design for a system as the 'how'. Which view is correct?  

  • EA is Abstraction View: architecture is an abstraction, which is the WHAT, by definition, can be implemented in multiple ways (HOW).  "How" enables the "What", which should really be dynamically configurable BA Capabilities for different contexts. This results in sustainable interoperability (optimize semantic reconciliation by people and systems in real-time). 
  • Business Strategy View: What is the business about. How the system supports the business. What are the system functionalities and How are they achieved 
  • Capability/Process View: Business Architecture – What/Capabilities, How/Processes. Capabilities (what) may or may not be realized (made manifest). If realized, they are realized through business processes (how).  
  • Application Design View: What/Requirements, How/Design  
  • IT Architecture View: What/Requirements, How/Design  
  • Role View: What is the domain of the architects, how as the domain of the engineers who determine the solutions to be implemented to meet those requirements/needs. 
  • Transition View, Who would be to take the WHATs and determine a set of HOWs that would satisfy those WHATs, then pair that down to an attainable set that matches all the other controls in an environment, like budget, legacy capability, and capacity, etc.      
What-How transition is key to requirements, strategy, and numerous other critical thinking processes. 

EA encompasses business transformation from A to B through carefully navigating 5W+1H. And EA is all about transformation. 


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