Friday, 17 October 2008

Zachman framework

In trying to unify different business diagrams I've found some inspiration in the field of Enterprise Architecture and specifically something called the Zachman framework. This is a relatively early attempt to categorise pretty much anything and everything that can go on in an organisation. Needless to say this can get a little complicated.

What I've taken from it is that you can categorise most boxes on most business diagrams into the following:
  • Why: Vision/Mission/Purpose
  • What: Offer/Don’t Offer
  • How: Values, Behaviours, Strategic Pillars, Iconic Actions, Comms
  • When: Goals, KPIs
  • Who: Which leaders, employees, and suppliers you need at all, or performing particular activities. Which customers you will target.

So why shapes what which in turn shapes how and when. Who in one sense stems from what and how - what you'll do and how you'll do it dictates the people you'll need. But you can also view all of these things as coming from people - why is a shared belief, what people chose to do about them and how they chose to do it. In other words, organisations are collections of people with shared beliefs and activites, and arguing that the ideas in the organisation are somehow a precursor of the people makes no sense.

It can sometimes be helpful in this context to differentiate between leaders and employees (doers? builders?). These need not be different people, they can be the same people in different roles. So someone acting as a leader shapes the why and what. Leaders most buy into the vision. Everyone else gets on with making them happen, and although it's heartwarming when they focus on the big vision ('improving quality of domestic life'), it's easier to get them to buy into the offer ('selling lots of really nice carpets').

I occassionally add the rather nebulous 'stuff' to cover assets, IP and all the rest! This is a messy workaround, but I'm stuck with it until I think of a better alternative.

There's also where, but that's making things a touch too detailed for me.

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