Analogous to this is where to place the first process symbol on the empty ‘process canvas’. Some start with all the stakeholders in a room and after a number of iterations (and some heated arguments), believe they have found the common ground and proceed from there with the process development effort. After a lot of effort and stakeholder time spent on its development it is found that these processes are incomplete, do not fully address the particular business area and cross multiple capability boundaries.
Capability-based planning is also a proven tool when it comes to change portfolio management and the development of strategic roadmaps. However, I wonder if we architects aren’t guilty at times of being overzealous in our readiness to label anything that a business does or needs as a ‘business capability’, resulting in capability models that are in reality a mixture of capabilities, services, business functions and processes? Although the concept ‘business function’ might be considered ‘old school’ and only ‘reinforcing siloed architectures’, it becomes crucially important when we want to describe how an enterprise needs to organise itself in order to operate a given business model. Moreover, the term ‘function’ is highly overloaded, meaning different things to different people in different contexts adding to confusion with similar ideas and a lack of precision in its use.
You don’t have to look too far these days before you come across a story about the demise of the Chief Information Officer (CIO). Some argue that IT consumerisation, cloud and mobile are bringing into question the need for the CIO. With the ability of practically anyone with a credit card to procure IT services some even go as far as to question the need for an internal IT department all together. Those arguments however come under question when one considers more complex challenges such as the management, integration and utilisation of ‘big data’, information management, experience management and, more recently, digital.
I have two children, a boy and a girl, both under 10 years old, and we often play games together. It’s an extra treat for me since I am also fascinated by the mental processes that people go through when they perform certain activities. Nowhere is this more evident than in children and their learning and problem solving abilities. It’s fascinating to coach them through a problem and see how they deal with the complexities before them. The key area I personally enjoy is being able to introduce guidance points for them in a contextualised manner, being very careful to give them enough challenges, information, mentoring and coaching to be able to solve a problem, but also not too much as to overwhelm them. In other words, talk them through the motivational aspects of the game that are relevant for them at that point in time, each time feeding them additional information on a need to know basis to help them contextualise further.
Is it possible to explore aspects of capability-based planning using out of control grass? As it happens, I’d like to establish a small but effective farm – but what’s that got to do with the price of tea in China you may well ask.
I remember as a young child coming from a ‘non-sports obsessed’ family, I didn’t know what a yorker was, didn’t know what ‘LBW’ meant, or why Dennis Lillee or Geoffrey Boycott were such legends. I was ill equipped to join in on those all-important schoolboy conversations – the Monday morning autopsy of the weekend’s sporting events. Similarly, 30 years later, enterprise architecture presented me with the same dilemma.
As disruptive innovation continues to reshape industries many business leaders are forced to generate new business models to create new or complementary offerings. Market competition puts immense pressure on businesses, often requiring them to act more like a start-up. Businesses need to balance quick decision making, partnerships and process adoption with the appropriate level of business governance to meet the corresponding growth phase. Departmental areas like legal, finance, and procurement must also respond and react in a timely fashion.
When I discuss business issues with the C-suite I often find they are deeply concerned with a disconnect between strategy and execution. In my experience this fragmentation and loss of coherency boils down to a single problem: poor communication. Not just a shortcoming in verbal communication but inconsistency in how different parts of the organisation describe issues and relationships within and beyond their business domains and accountabilities.
I’m currently reading a book called “Quiet: The Power of introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking”, authored by Susan Cain. Cain argues that in the world of so-called “Extrovert Ideal” where “omnipresence belief that the ideal self is gregarious, alpha and comfortable in the spotlight”, introversion is rendered to “a second-class personality trait, somewhere between a disappointment and a pathology”.
It might seem counter-intuitive to see established institutions like MIT, Harvard and Stanford jumping on board the MOOC bandwagon – in case you’ve just crawled from under a rock that’s Massive Open Online Courses; the wave of technology innovation sweeping across the Higher Education and Training sectors. After all – these education mega-brands have long been regarded as bastions of exclusivity, patronised by the world’s best, brightest and most privileged. Why would they decide to give away their courses for free? Well – they’re not the only ones getting on board…