Wednesday, August 18, 2021


Specialization-generalization-specialization is an important iterative cycle of practice-theory-practice for making evolutionary movement.

Generalization is about making a more universal statement; such as an architect captures the “big picture” of the business; an executive abstracts of varying point of views; scientifically, it’s about logical inference etc. 

To generalize, it’s about finding patterns or highlighting commonality. Overall speaking, generalization is about abstraction, standardization, or reusability.

Abstraction: Generalization is about understanding the essence or substance of things via abstraction or sum-up. Abstraction is the foundation of insight by being able to step back from the details, seeing patterns, context, and a bigger picture to build trust and spread the truth. The art of abstraction is to spark imagination, the science of abstraction is to advocate unification. Usually an architect’s view is abstract, thus, they would like to apply an architectural framework to perceive the business with both a broader scope of abstraction and an in-depth understanding of its interconnectivity and interdependence to enhance holism, hyper-connectivity, interdependence, integration, and harmonization.

An architect as a specialized generalist perhaps has different views of their organization, not only from a technical perspective, but from the perspective of the business system's goals. Their abstract helps to define a very flexible business blueprint, having the abstract components with loose structures. It helps to identify key elements which can be applied to give a holistic picture of what is working or not in order to reach the "future statement" by allocating business capital and resources scientifically and solving problems holistically. To drive transformative changes, it’s important to apply architectural abstract components of enterprise to enhance a holistic management discipline which can break through the industrial constraints and limitations in pursuit of possibilities, letting people develop their own version of a compelling story to navigate though the journey of changes.

Standardization: Generalization provides a framework for standardization, and standardization intends to generalize or figure out a “common formula” for dealing with certain business issues such as product or process development. There are all sorts of standardization, such as language standards, industry standards, engineering standards, or performance standards, etc. In the Industrial Age, businesses are operated in silo and value specialization so much, they don’t facilitate cross-discipline activities such as standardization or integration. Ideally, standardization should provide benefits through reuse that accelerates solution implementation and reduces expenses and risks. To improve overall organizational maturity, setting standardization is to improve common understanding, quality, effectiveness, efficiency, competitiveness, productivity, profitability, or speed etc.

Usually, companies need standardization of internal reasoning via the capitalization of previous experiences, cost control, convenience, etc. Companies can leverage industry best practices for having better control, identifying or implementing processes specific to enforce standardization. Standardization should be done at the solution level and should only occur when the functional requirements for the different groups are the same or where there is a core set of functional requirements that all groups need and additional requirements are easily added for optimizing design and cost. There are always some tensions between standardization and innovation, standardization and specialization/customization/personalization, so architecture needs to develop further standards that are valid where a multi-enterprise context is a norm rather than the exception, streamline paraconsistent logic and enhance both cycles of stability and growth.

Reusability: Generalization enables reusability; and reusability will bring in required simplicity at the enterprise system level. Reuse is about creating simple building blocks that can be applied over and over to minimize design cost and maximize value over the lifecycle of products/services. Reuse of existing information, talent, processes, systems, services, applications and technology will always be considered first in the provision of any service to the business rationale. Reuse makes sense because it has potential to shorten the product/service development cycle. Re-usability and Simplicity complement each other to a certain level of granularity within the organization

Where components are a good fit, we should reuse, or at least modify the component rather than starting from scratch. But reuse could be risky if it’s not being handled scientifically. Blind reuse results in the cut/paste issues that can come from adoption of inefficient generic or inappropriate components being forced into new roles. Not only should we question the applicability of a component for re-use, but we need to capture and analyze the lessons learned from the previous applications of the component. An effective generalization framework along with some best practices or lessons learned from the past helps to identify the right components for reuse. Shared components make economic sense, but that is conditional to business needs and must be planned from that respect.

Specialization-generalization-specialization is an important iterative cycle of practice-theory-practice for making evolutionary movement. In specific, take an existing or proposed solution and extract from it, by abstraction and generalization, to come up with an optimal set of guidelines, processes or the next practices to solve problems smoothly, run business optimistically and make transformative changes proactively.


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