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Same and different - architectures for mass-uniqueness
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Same and different - architectures for mass-uniqueness


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My presentation for Open Group London #ogLON enterprise-architecture conference, October 2013 …

My presentation for Open Group London #ogLON enterprise-architecture conference, October 2013

Classic enterprise-architectures seem to focus mainly on IT and replicable IT-based processes. By contrast, many business-contexts such as healthcare, recruitment, education, customer-service and retail, all need to emphasise 'mass-uniqueness' - individual difference or uniqueness at scale. This slidedeck explores some of the themes and techniques that can be used to develop enterprise-architectures with appropriate balance between 'same' and 'different'.

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  • Slide 43 has lost its graphic in the upload: it shows that the problem was due to a database-design that used date-of-birth as a key-field in the 'Person' record, but failed to allow for the possibility that in this context 'Person' might be an as-yet-unborn child without a date-of-birth.
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  • 1. the futures of business Same and different architectures for mass-uniqueness Tom Graves, Tetradian Consulting Open Group London, October 2013
  • 2. Hi. (let’s not bother with the PR-stuff?)
  • 3. It begins with a pin, perhaps… CC-BY Creativity103 via Flickr
  • 4. …or maybe some dust? CC-BY storebrukkebruse via Flickr
  • 5. But perhaps better start with a much-argued question: What is enterprise-architecture? Maybe more to the point – why enterprise-architecture?
  • 6. Why enterprise-architecture? – it’s because things work better when they work together, on purpose
  • 7. Why enterprise-architecture? …which implies further questions: •Things – what things? and who decides? •Work – ‘work’ in what sense? what work? •Better – ‘better’ for what? or who? who decides? •Together – what kind of ‘together’? how? why? •On purpose – who chooses the purpose? for what? One place to look for clues is in the enterprise’s balance between same and different…
  • 8. Into practice… (Each ‘Into practice…’ section provides a brief moment to explore implications of the preceding ideas. Use the text on the slide to guide a quick review of related design-themes in your business-context.)
  • 9. “What’s the story?” A quest for productivity
  • 10. Let’s go back to an earlier time…
  • 11. there’s not much technology…
  • 12. maybe some of it a bit strange…
  • 13. everything made by hand…
  • 14. everything different, unique…
  • 15. almost nothing standardised…
  • 16. until this guy, in this book…
  • 17. looked at how pins were made… CC-BY Creativity103 via Flickr
  • 18. applied it to other industries…
  • 19. via sameness… CC-BY toktokkie via Flickr
  • 20. more sameness…
  • 21. a lot more sameness…
  • 22. then applied to work itself… Richard Arkwright’s Cromford Mill CC-BY-SA CaptainScarlet via Wikimedia
  • 23. mass-sameness…
  • 24. mass-sameness… CC-BY aleutia via Flickr
  • 25. mass-sameness… CC-BY via Flickr
  • 26. mass-sameness everywhere. CC-BY-SA MysteryBee via Flickr
  • 27. Why sameness? the real value of sameness is that it’s easy to scale and easy to make efficient - creating huge productivity
  • 28. But there’s a catch…
  • 29. the differences never went away…
  • 30. and if we pretend that everything is sameness…
  • 31. we court disaster…
  • 32. Into practice… In what ways do your systems depend on sameness? What would happen if the sameness wasn’t there to depend on? What happens with anything that won’t fit those expectations?
  • 33. “What’s the story?” There’s always an exception…
  • 34. What name in your system? Typical UK-style name-structure for database: •Title (mandatory: select from picklist) •Forename (mandatory: 30 characters max) •Middle-name (optional: 30 characters max) •Surname (mandatory: 30 characters max) •Suffix (optional: select from picklist) Easy, right? – well, let’s take a real example…
  • 35. What name in your system? UK-style name: •Mr Pablo Diego Ruiz
  • 36. What name in your system? UK-style name: •Mr Pablo Diego Ruiz Full legal birth-name: •Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso
  • 37. What name in your system? UK-style name: •Mr Pablo Diego Ruiz Full legal birth-name: •Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso You probably know him as:
  • 38. Driver’s licence, please? Real simple, right? The same for everyone, surely? Hensel twins’ driver-licences >> Hmm… maybe not so simple after all?
  • 39. Driver’s licence, please? In the car: Two drivers behind the wheel, each legally liable On the flight: One ticket, one seat, two passengers, two passports
  • 40. What keeps executives awake at night? And here’s a real case from my own consultancy-work in enterprise-architecture…
  • 41. Executive #1: PR disasters Government department (in social-work sector) Real (if unofficial) business metric: Number of days between bad headlines in the newspaper
  • 42. Executive #1: PR disasters Real newspaper headline: Department fails again! Ten life-critical incidents in just one suburb still not resolved in 2½ months!
  • 43. What actually happened? Answer: architecture of the enterprise
  • 44. Executive #1: PR disasters Moral of this story: Every automated system needs an option for manual override
  • 45. Into practice… What exceptions are there that could break your current systems? How do you find out about them before they break your systems? What workarounds would you need to keep your systems going?
  • 46. “What’sof theory A bit the story?” on uniqueness…
  • 47. …dust is everywhere… CC-BY storebrukkebruse via Flickr
  • 48. ‘Cantor Dust’ Start with everything-different
  • 49. ‘Cantor Dust’ Find an area of sameness within all of that uniqueness
  • 50. ‘Cantor Dust’ Within each remaining block of difference, find another region of sameness
  • 51. ‘Cantor Dust’ Within each remaining block of difference, find another region of sameness
  • 52. ‘Cantor Dust’ Within each remaining block of difference, find another region of sameness
  • 53. ‘Cantor Dust’ Within each remaining block of difference, find another region of sameness
  • 54. ‘Cantor Dust’ Repeat the same process all the way to infinity…
  • 55. no matter how far down we go, there will always be uniqueness… …and every one of those apparent ‘samenesses’ we found is also different from every other… - uniqueness in the sameness…
  • 56. Into practice… How much at present do you design against uniqueness? If uniqueness is a fact of nature, is trying to design against it even a viable option? Should you design for uniqueness? If so, how?
  • 57. “What’s the story?” Uniqueness – how and why
  • 58. What is mass-uniqueness? Mass-uniqueness is uniqueness at scale – where difference or uniqueness is a central fact of the work itself
  • 59. Mass-uniqueness Some everyday examples: •Healthcare – unique needs, Hickam’s Dictum •Customer-service – unique needs, ‘long-tail’ •Clothing – fashion, body-types, shapes, sizes •Education – every student is different, unique needs •Information-search – unstructured, natural-language •Farming – weather, micro-climate, soil-types •City-planning – topography, geography, particularity
  • 60. A spectrum of uniqueness standardised customised unique
  • 61. standardised… CC-BY-NC-ND actiononarmedviolence via Flickr
  • 62. customised… CC-BY-NC-SA Doctress Neutopia via Flickr
  • 63. customised… CC-BY-NC-SA Doctress Neutopia via Flickr
  • 64. unique… © Courtesy of 3D Systems
  • 65. unique… © Courtesy of 3D Systems
  • 66. uniqueness… © Courtesy of 3D Systems
  • 67. uniqueness makes it something to celebrate… © Courtesy of 3D Systems
  • 68. Into practice… How much mass-uniqueness exists in your business-context? How much do you already design for that uniqueness? How do you support the required uniqueness at scale?
  • 69. “What’s the story?” A question of perspective
  • 70. Perspectives and journeys Service-delivery is a journey of interactions where ‘inside-out’ (the organisation’s perspective) touches ‘outside-in’ (the customer’s / supplier’s perspective)
  • 71. Outside-in… “Customers do not appear in our processes, we appear in their experiences.” Chris Potts, recrEAtion, Technics, 2010 CC-BY Fretro via Flickr
  • 72. Stakeholders in the enterprise A stakeholder is anyone who can wield a sharp-pointed stake in your direction… CC-BY-NC-SA evilpeacock via Flickr (Hint: there are a lot more of them than you might at first think…)
  • 73. The role of narrative Narrative and story help us to identify the exceptions and uniquenesses…
  • 74. The usual EA view Process Technology People CC-BY-SA xdxd_vs_xdxd via Flickr
  • 75. Stage A narrative-oriented view Stage Stage Stage Stage Actor Scene Scene Stage Actor Scene CC-BY-SA xdxd_vs_xdxd via Flickr
  • 76. Into practice… What changes as you shift the perspective from inside-out to outside-in? What do the narratives tell you about uniqueness in your business? What do you need to change to make best use of this?
  • 77. “What’s the story?” SCAN – making sense of uniqueness
  • 78. Order and unorder “Let’s do a quick SCAN of this…”
  • 79. “We have a rule for everything!” CC-BY bobaliciouslondon via Flickr
  • 80. Hmm… let’s do a quick SCAN of this… CC-BY bobaliciouslondon via Flickr
  • 81. Take control! Impose order! “Insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results” (Albert Einstein) ORDER (IT-type rules do work here)
  • 82. Order and unorder “Insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results” (Albert Einstein) “Insanity is doing the same thing and expecting the same results” (not Albert Einstein) ORDER UNORDER (IT-type rules do work here) (IT-type rules don’t work here)
  • 83. Same and different A quest for certainty: analysis, algorithms, identicality, efficiency, business-rule engines, executable models, Six Sigma... An acceptance of uncertainty: experiment, patterns, probabilities, ‘designthinking’, unstructured process... SAMENESS UNIQUENESS (IT-systems do work well here) (IT-systems don’t work well here)
  • 84. Theory and practice THEORY What we plan to do, in the expected conditions What we actually do, in the actual conditions PRACTICE
  • 85. Sensemaking guides decisions algorithm guideline rule principle Different types of decision-guides apply in each ‘domain’
  • 86. Guidelines for design order unorder analysis experiment (knowable result) (unknowable result) plan actual fail-safe (high-certainty) Waterfall (‘controlled’ change) safe-fail (low-certainty) Agile (iterative change)
  • 87. Why we need people… What is always going to be uncertain or unique? What will always be ‘messy’? (‘Messy’ – politics, management, wickedproblems, ‘should’ vs ‘is’, etc.) Wherever these occur, we’re going to need human skill…
  • 88. Machines and people order unorder (rules do work here) (rules don’t work here) fail-safe safe-fail (high-certainty) (low-certainty) analysis experiment (knowable result) (unknowable result) Waterfall Agile (‘controlled’ change) (iterative change) MACHINES PEOPLE
  • 89. misapplied difference - ‘special cases’ creates inefficiency misapplied sameness creates failure-demand – a key cause of waste…
  • 90. Into practice… Trying to apply rules to everything, or to automate everything, will cause your system to fail. How do you identify the right balance between sameness and difference? How will you avoid inefficiency, or failure-demand?
  • 91. “What’s the story?” Balancing sameness and uniqueness
  • 92. Find the right fit! Taylorist-type models tend to assume that everything is a machine to ‘control’… people will often relate to machines as if they’re other people…
  • 93. Wrong and right… order unorder (rules do work here) (rules don’t work here) CC-BY justin pickard via Flickr PEOPLE as MACHINES CC-BY andré luís via Flickr PEOPLE as PEOPLE
  • 94. Right and wrong… order unorder (rules do work here) (rules don’t work here) CC-BY-SA MysteryBee via Flickr MACHINES as MACHINES CC-BY-SA izzard via Flickr MACHINES as PEOPLE
  • 95. How we really think… CC-BY Brett Jordan via Flickr
  • 96. Mapping the context-space Use context-maps such as SCAN to identify what may or must change what is or is not certain how these vary over time and what to do with each
  • 97. A surgical example… before patient identity patient condition theatre booking equipment plan verify identity surgery plan surgical-staff availability consumables NOW! action-records certain family behaviour pre-op complications change of emergency theatre-availability action uncertain
  • 98. A surgical example… before patient identity theatre booking equipment plan we need to be certain about all of these verify identity consumables NOW! action-records certain uncertain
  • 99. A surgical example… before patient condition we expect (and plan for) uncertainty about these surgery plan surgical-staff availability change of theatre-availability NOW! certain uncertain
  • 100. A surgical example… before we don’t expect these to happen, but we need contingency-plans and guiding-principles for all of them family behaviour pre-op complications emergency action NOW! certain uncertain
  • 101. Into practice… How would you map the right fit for each type of context? How would you ensure you don’t treat people as machines or machines as people? How will you manage the inherent uncertainties?
  • 102. “What’s the story?” Uniqueness, change and governance
  • 103. Balancing the spectra… sameness uniqueness high-probability standardised low-probability customised high-dependency reusability low rate of change unique low-dependency bespoke high rate of change
  • 104. Architectures and governance We need architectures that express that balance between sameness and uniqueness, and other trade-offs across the space… …and governance to guide relative-positioning and changes over time between backbone and edge
  • 105. Architectures for change BACKBONE EDGE
  • 106. Into practice… What do you need, to balance sameness and difference certainty and uncertainty across your whole business-context? What architectures do you need for this? What governance do you need to manage their changes over time?
  • 107. Same and different Some key take-aways, I hope? •Many industries depend on mass-uniqueness •Sameness and efficiency are important, but over-focus on sameness can fail, lethally •Uniqueness is inherent and unavoidable •Need ‘just enough sameness’ to support scale •Work with uniqueness, not against it
  • 108. “What’s the story?” Thank you!
  • 109. Further information: Contact: Tom Graves Company: Tetradian Consulting Email: Twitter: @tetradian ( ) Weblog: Slidedecks: Publications: Books: • The enterprise as story: the role of narrative in enterprisearchitecture (2012) • Mapping the enterprise: modelling the enterprise as services with the Enterprise Canvas (2010) • Everyday enterprise-architecture: sensemaking, strategy, structures and solutions (2010) • Doing enterprise-architecture: process and practice in the real enterprise (2009) Image-credits: Slides 64-67 courtesy of 3D Systems: Other photo-images via Flickr or Wikimedia, as shown on each slide