Just need to offload some unfinnished thoughts I’ve been playing with during the last days of summer.

Portfolio Management Scenarios Portfolio Management Scenarios-2

Russell Ackoff taught about synthesis, the opposite of analysis.


He said you can’t understand something by looking at its pieces.

His three steps of synthetic thinking are to ask:

  1. What is this thing a part of?
  2. What is the behavior of its containing whole?
  3. What is the role of the thing in that containing whole?

Think big picture. Ask big-picture questions.

Dr. Russell Ackoff on Systems Thinking – Pt 1

Dr. Russell Ackoff on Systems Thinking – Pt 2

Dr. Russell Ackoff on Systems Thinking – Pt 3



I did what so many people have done before me, I went on a trip to find a master ski smith. Stopped in my tracks for a moment to reflect on my journey. It was a long journey with many fine moments, I knew I would not remember them all after a while. I decided I needed a way of documenting my experiences so I used a tool that I’ve used on consulting engagements, it’s from Adaptive Path named Experience Map and it is a way to capture experiences. Today I let the map speak for my experiences, earlier I’ve written at least 6000 words to do the same and a bit more.

My Customer Journey with Community Skis

My Customer Journey with Community Skis



If I invest 10% of my income in the northern hemisphere my stake in the whole investment is miniscule. This means that the risk I take is extremly high in relation to the potential outcome. If I invest 10% of my income in the southern hemisphere my stake in the whole investment could be between 100% and 1%. This means that the risk I take is low in relation to the potential outcome.

So what is the hinder for me to safely invest in the southern hemisphere?

What if one would put up a front to the market that could give potential investors easy access.

Let’s say that the investors gets to follow and communicate with the businesses they have invested in through a “Facebookish” experience.

What kind of BM would it take?

I’ve been working on getting all the pieces together for my second book project. Now the book is starting to come together under the direction of some visual guides. If you have followed my posts throughout the years you will certainly recognize some of these guides.

The major thought
There are only two ways to increase profit known to man, one is to sell more and the other is to lower costs. Whatever action one may take it is geared towards a goal aiming to achieve one of the two increases in profit. Of course one can take parallell action trying to maximize both goals, but that generally has the efffect of not reaching satisfactory levels of any one goal. In a whole system approach as is the one I write about here, the optimum is a balance between the two forces. The result one would find generated by a perfectly balanced system would be greater than the sum of its own and the interacting systems parts taken together. To take it in terms of economy we are balancing Opex and Capex with Stratex (the budget that secures your future and funds innovations in business models ). Most managers find it in their hearts to go for portfolio management as a way of managing the the future. This focus on CAPEX would in general give them a controlling stake of somewhere between 5% and 20% of the overall budgets. Another interesting trait of portfolio management is that it is in effect run as a single year investment process much like OPEX.

Anywhere between 95% to 80% of the total budget is dead set in OPEX. This contains most of the actual power over the company. OPEX can be seen as a blocking force or a stabilizing force depending on culture and position.

The long term investments needed to ensure a rich future is most often unalocated for and are left to wither as long as major crisis is off the radar. In the end this may add up to more than the running operations of today just to fix the immediate problems.

What I intend to explore in this book is how to balance the three forces manifestated as OPEX, CAPEX and STRATEX by the use of an architected approach.

The foundation

The basic illustration of the framework

The foundational illustration of the way

The foundation of the book are the thoughts that I expressed in the first book The art of Enterprise Architecture. I’ll merge the thoughts from the first book with the one-liner tweets collected in the post One year with #TheArtOfEnterpriseArchitecture.

The five E’s

The portfolios framework

The five E´s of the framework

The book follows the five E´s as a way of pulling together the thoughts and concepts into a set of coherent views. Each view contains subset views that could be used as a default guide towards what need to be known from a particular portfolio point of view.

Some elaborations of the Envision view

Ideation views

Ideation views

Environmental views

Environmental views

Team views

Team views

There seems to be as many ways of talking about capabilities as there are ways of putting a shoe together. To add to the confusion functions, processes and other concepts of enterprise architecture is widely used as capabilities. Here I refer to capabilities as the core skills that we must master as a social system (the organisational level).

Capability litmus test
To figure out if the concept we have before us could be a capability we need some way of testing the concept. The easy way of doing this is to run through the step process of

  1. A capability gets better or worse every time you use it
  2. A capability is something which by the way it is used can provide:
    • the same results in different ways in the same environment
    • different results in the same and different environments
  3. A capability can briefly be described by:
    • A name
    • A description (with emphasis on the expected value)
    • An environment (in the context we expect to find the ability)

Capability principles
A capability can in some sort of detail be described by its constituent components
A capability is an organisational skill that requires the will of a superior system to be used.

Capability concepts
The purpose is to capture the capability concepts used in the enterprise.
Constituent components
Rules and Regulations

This all started when I first touched base with software architecture back in the 90’s, since then I’ve been drawn to the shaping of concepts to produce some sort of thing, be that business, software or technology. During the last four years I’ve been directing my inquiry into the field of enterprise architecture using the technique of one-liners. In this post I’ve collected most of the one-liners, there are probably some that got lost during the way and some that I didn’t give time to put to print. This post is named One year with #TheArtOfEnterpriseArchitecture since I tweeted most of these during a one year span (2012-2013).

The uniqueness or should I write originality of these one-liners are by no means guaranteed, I’m inspired by the world and the systems within it so there is always a mix of things. If you spot one that you have seen somewhere else and would like to ensure that the proposed original get credited then let me know.

Except for continuing to collect these one-liners there remains the work of discovering and exposing the hidden meaning behind them. Some of them are simple and need no more thought others may lead to deeper insights about many things.


Architecture is the stability in agility (2013-12-26).
Architecture is a non-linear set of activities (2013-12-25).
– True agility is a state where there are no masters only users
– The strength in a tool lie in the fact that it is agnostic to the users knowledge
– The problem with method is that there is always a master
– The only thing necessary for the triumph of complexity is for good architects to do nothing
– The architect must be ready to coach the individual, the team and the organisation.
In my vocabulary Enterprise Architecture is shortened as tEAm
– Sometimes the most radical action is to go with what you have
I have cut the nooze and still you follow
Agile architecture models adapt to change
– Are you making money or are you making software?
– The best architects walk the lines and jump the boxes
– The biggest problem for architects is the fear of the future
– It’s better to have one architecture in the solutions than ten in the repository
Designer is the general behaviour of an architect
– The one carrying the light is the anomaly in the dark
– The decision about the future must be left to the people of the future.
– Chief architect = Creative people that make good things happen
– Are you building businesses that use software or software used by businesses?
The architecture must verify the requirements
– Architecture is the stability in agility
– To win we have to stop to fight
– If you want to own the truth, you better be the truth.
– If trial and error is the pattern to thrive in the new now, then architecture is the stability in agility
The architecture must be perfectly clear but in a way that does not stifle variety in designing solutions
Bad architecture that become bad solutions is in general invisible.
A great transition involves structured learning occasions
Calm, composed and convinced in all execution
It is through the synergy of integrating all diciplines that an organisation becomes truly magnificient
– The main responsabillity of an architect is to lead the design of the path to the future
Humble is the leader that recognize that Architects design the future business based on stakeholders intent
– The purpose of architecture is to instill certainty of purpose in the solutions
The greatest risk in any enterprise is that of murky goals
One who sets out without understanding to seek for a goal is truly lost
– Breakthroughs in business optimization is easy when you have you architecture in order
– Architecting is just as much a communication process as a development process
– I have found no greater way to team learning than taking an architects approach to change design.
– Through architecture we increase our capacity to create
Love thy Architecture and your solutions will be loved
In each architecture is built in a set of risks, best make those selected
– In architecture reuse come before use
Six guides in architecting , reorder, reduce, reuse and recycle
Having the right people is the key success factor in any architecture work
At times of delivery we can appriciate the pain and anxiety felt during preparation
– Any great team have to be resilient, trustworthy and reflect conditions for what they are
– Sharing the collective experiences of the teams brings unity of purpose beyond the inner circle
– Doing many designs lead to great architecture, doing few designs lead to bad solutions.
– There is more than one source to forming a backlog and architecture is the 2:nd
– The Chief Architect knows that strength is best built from strong points.
– The third priority of any team member is to stay true to one self
– The second priority of any team member is to help the team stay healthy.
– The first priority of any team member is to help the team deliver on its mission.
– The Chief Architect observes the need to get immediate feedback on any given mission
The transformation from stakeholder vision through architecture description to solution specification can be missunderstood. If this is the case then the solutionists will try to change the way the stakeholders express themselves and reshape the architecture into an almost carbon copy of the solution.
– Be what your stakeholders expect you to be
– Nothing is more powerful than true experience
– To the team a user story is a way of describing intent at the lowest assignment level
Purposefully taking a no decision is also a decision
– All solutions are the result of decisions or of nondecisions. Architecture is decision making.
– Through guided experience and reflection the architect is created
Through experience architecture is created
Experience wins every time
– The greatest threat to any team is inactivity
The Chief Architect knows that to be a leader means: to service your teams, instead of being serviced.
– The Chief Architect knows to create opportunity for teams to exploit
If the community belives in the power of an architecture approach there won’t be one solution
Kindness wins every time
The team acts in a community of people, teams and organisations
Don’t be the one who fails because he did not ask for help
– The relationships between the teams are best served through focused reflections
Architecting is a focusing activity
– The team capabilities is more than the sum of the skills of each member
Architecture must never be just something that captures the world, it must be as vibrant and singularily important as the human heart.
Partitioning the solutions through the use of Architecture is the foundation for agility
The Chief Architect knows that as time goes by the focus of our efforts must change
– Trust is built over the ruins of the last relationship
– To be continously successfull the team need to be at peace with all its performances
The team grows through reflection over desicions
A direction should be the outcome of dialog and decision
The Chief Architect must be tydlig in all situations
The Chief Architect shows the way but does not solve the problem
– The mission brief communicates the intent of the organisation to the team
– Teams are made up of people, best keep them close together.
– At the start the team is held together by the vision of the coach.
– In the end the team is built by the commitment of its individuals
The business has the answer, the architect is the guide, don’t let the solutions determine how good your business will be
I ask the businesses: “what do you expect to gain?” Then I’ll follow up with: “what does that require from you, your collegues, your partners and your customers?”
– Architecture is an organization’s definition of self
– True agility come from balancing centralization and decentralization
Architecture is centralized coordination coupled with decentralized development
– Architecture like solutions are about the economic return they generate
– People are generally underrated, undernurtured and underestimated
– Code is generally overrated, over bloated and overestimated
An architecture team must sustain all perspectives of the enterprise
From an architecture perspective people play on many teams at any given time
A transformation can be designed and supported by externals but must be lead by internals
– The Chief Architect is the expedition leader taking teams and organisations on great journeys
A component with no relations is useless
– To be agile is to recognice that there are loops within loops
– As you design an architecture a CSF is to keep the stakeholder feedback loop on a high velocity
From an architects perspective project portfolios are the units of production
– The importance of architecture become apparent when considering that the average project member forgot what decisions they made 3 months earlier
– Efficency is applying the proper method based on the stability of the goals
– Effectiveness is putting the right stuff in all the backlogs
You need three people, the one with passion for the game, the one with business accumen and the one who documents it all.
– A tool with a fool is still a tool.
Architecture is not about choise, it’s about responsibility
– Architecture is about what you will recieve, so keep an open mind and heart.
– The single most important reason we need architecture is that information contrary to data is not a binary issue
– What show strength and give great impact is the ability to manage requirements
In general the SWOT is the one technique that serves us architects best
– Great architecture exist outside the control of the template that created it
Fast feedback driven methods tend to assume that the market know and are able to express what they want.
– Go for late binding between items in transitionplans and operative backlogs
– Efficiency is having many backlogs and treat them like processing nodes in a network
– Architecture is the foundation to agile discovery, analysis and production
– The tools stay the same, teams may change, the path is always different, not all tools are used in all paths.
Agile methods are like any other component to an Architect
In the function create lie the process design.
I can create an architecture, using my intention as the goal and my attention as the guiding principle
Beeing an Architect is wonderful because in the begining everything is possible
– The architecture is founded on love whilst the solutions are founded on fear
Stay true, stay you, create wonders with architecture
Many models created by architects has no impact on business
– The good methodology recognise that each initiative should follow its own path.
– Careful design of content across all backlogs enables optimal flow
Architectures should help people find their answers using their own voice.
– Most create architecture frameworks as search engines. I like to create them as answer engines
– Archiology = When architecture is used to unearth the logic of original intent.
Many times architecture can be the only way of understanding original intent
– We create architectures to manage the cost of acumulating solutions
– Agile is what agile be
– A reference model is a model to reference not to live by
– Use of an architecture portfolio can balance congestion in the project portfolio.
– Let your methods be regulated by the infinite variety of circumstances.
There is a difference between securing one self from failure and sezing opportunity
Out of the need we create Architecture that we use to populate the backlog
– The sum of many small independent risks is generaly less than one large risk
Ask your people what is the half time of their knowledge about the architecture.
– Architecture is the tool for survivors as it helps us control our fear of the future
Most architectures I’ve been working on have a predicted lifespan of at least 15 years
– People are not generaly against change, they are just not done with the last one
– Good architecture lead to many short projects and reduced risk. Bad architecture lead to many long projects and high risk.
– The Chief Architects number one task is to inspire people to love the results of architecture
– Culture may beat Strategy but Love beats everything, that’s why the Entrepenuer wins.
– To create new value in the architecture process you need to create new architectures.
– The next big shift will be the era of personalized architectures
– Architecture is a journey best kept short.
– The key to viable enterprise architectures is to base them on economical facts
If you investigate processes as queues, interesting things appear
– An architecture is like a waterhole in the dessert, it attracts all sorts of attention
In architecture as in life one should be careful whom one invites to the waterhole
– When working with architecture don’t forget that it is first and foremost about people
– Architecture is the basic inventory of service design
– Usefull Architecture KPIs are Design In Process, Time To Market and Return On Investment
– If monetary value is the epitome of meassure then Architecture is the means to putting that in context
– True agility come from using Architecture as the foundation for decentralized control with alignment
– Great architecture come in small meassures
– Transition architectures is the key in moving from time to flow based development
– Architecture is a prerequisite to correctly quantify economic effects across the lifecyle
– It is through architecture we can go from a random set of successes into a general trend
– The basic question Architecture tries to answer is – what to do when faced with the inevitable fact of tomorrow
– First and foremost we seek to bring people into consencus as we consider the truth about the business.
– Architecture enables trustworthy continuous replanning of demand response
– It is not possible to truly manage an architecture if not all demand is considered and understood
Each step on the evolution has brought with it that the complexity of our systems has increased at a more rapid pace, our solutions has in many cases become simpler as the building blocks are all the more often there to use.
– From a buyer perspective the complexity of the systems are increasing as is the simplicity of the solutions
– The Chief Architect know that we will face situations that we do not completely understand and cannot hope to understand.
– Architecture enable us to observe how behaviour emerges from the set of global and local interactions.
In architecture the whole is indeed more than the sum of the parts
– Most of the great adventures where executed without the knowledge and technology we have today
If complexity is about our ability to predict and architecture is used to lessen complexity then we should be more certain about the future
Nature work with data, humans transform data into information
– Architecture is about small changes in initial conditions which produce large changes in outcomes.
– The Chief Architects know that in every pattern there is a foundational truth
– 1 solutionist 2 another – let’s just do IT
– Architecture is dialog, solution is discussion and instance is monolog
The only thing left to see is further out to sea.
– The Chief Architect knows there is the pain of the play and pleassure of the game.
Let the Architecture be beyond politics and the Architects manage
What is an architecture but a multitude of relations
– The Chief Architect must inspire the executives, manage the architects and lead the architectures
In each misstake and every right we build the foundation of our architecture
– Our Architecture is not ours alone, from birth to end it is bound to other Architectures.
– If you can’t change behaviour then don’t bother with architecture.
– Great architecture is a result from the collective behavior of all the stakeholders
– A classical misstake is to loose forward momentum when close to and just after a release.
– It’s never to early to start doing architecture
– The Chief Architect understand that change must be enabled from the bottom up
– Acceptance is not the cause of success; it is the outcome of success.
In general a desicion has to mature for three months prior to determine its validity
– The greatest threat to an architecture is a man with a solution
– How can you learn the way of the architect if you already know?
– 9 out of 10 times what stops change is using the wrong mental model
– Architects know that failure is certain for any solution
– No change is cost free
– Meassure your Mean Time Between Architecture efforts
– Architecture is a human invention!
– If you search for problems in solutions you may not see the architectures
– Training brings focus to the team, learning brings freedom to the individual
– As an Architect you have to be able to see the truth behind the picture.
– Do not repeat the tactics, which have gained you one victory, but let your methods be regulated by the infinite variety of circumstances
– The Chief Architect put his team beyond the possibility of failure by knowing himself
– Design your Architecture for always off, only go on when needed.
– Enterprise Architecture is not Enterprise Engineering
– Capability is potential (inventory) that need intent (direction) to be released (activity)
– Without trust and imagination there can be no Architecture
Whenever I work with an architecture I seek out the workers.
In an architecture viability is determined by a set of relations and the variability they operate under
– Even the smallest positive contribution is a forward working force
– The Chief Architect must set and clearly communicate the system of play
– The Chief Architect knows that the number of players in each position determines the style of the team’s play
– One of the most powerful, yet least thought of as organizational change is the hiring of a new individual.
Organizations are purposeful systems in constant flux.
– It is for the Chief Architect to recognise those activities that are engaging and those that are enabling
– Anyone planning to make use of an Architecture should make sure they focus on the engaging activities first
– The Chief Architect must enable diversity of service to match the needs of a changing environment
– The principle on which to manage an architecture capability is to set up one standard of excellence that all must reach.
– It is the way of the Chief Architect to be calm in all situations
– The Chief Architect must carefully study the well-being of the team, so as to not overtax them.
– The Chief Architect is fit to lead on a mission when he is familiar with the problem and the situation
– The team shall be unable to turn obvious advantages to account unless it make use of local guides
– In a dispersive situation it is the Chief Architects job to inspire the team with unity of purpose
– The Chief Architect must facilitate the process of bringing strategy, tactics and operations closer
– The best change of an architecture is a change in solution
– To become the Chief Architect is to provide for your management and your team, instead of being provided for
– Architecture don’t just happen, incidents just happens and problems may just happen
– The best architecture is clear, concise, and repeated
– Enterprise architecture is an exercise that rewards a methodical approach.
– The margins in architecture are so tight that doing it with passion only, will certainly end in a mess.
– Part of the chief architects work is to create a unified view of the present and the future.
– To be able to cater for diversity in expression you would do well to have ONE framework to audit against
– The chief architect is the one who lead the other architects and thus control the architecture
– A master architect bring balance to the means and ends
– A good architect bring order to the structures and peace to the solutions
– The architect is your guide to successful solutions
– If the architecture contains more elements than the solution then you are probably confusing architecture with solution
– There is never just one way and architecture should give you the agility to accept that.
– If the architecture is not influencing the production then it is a wasted effort
– If an architecture fails and no one takes notice of it, was it a success?
– One architect in the hand is better than ten in the market
– To go beyond your current limits your architecture need a Coach!
– Managing the solution only is what brought about the failure of the architecture.
You didn’t make any misstake when you managed the solution and lead the architecture into failure; what you did was you ran out of capabilities!
– Examine the limits within your own execution to find a faster way to your target.
Two things determine when you will reach the goal, when you start and how fast you are moving
– Here is an agile clue: L-EA-N
– Agile is best viewed as a situational adaptation of man, money, method, machine and market
– First understand the environment and then how you and the current mission fits into the whole.
– Nothing helps architects grasp a new concept as much as showing simply how it applies to something they struggle with
– Surviving near failures increases the sense of being right and lessen the ability to do things differently.
– In the end it is about the experiences you have made possible.
– Every friday is architecture day!
– Whatever the context a good architecture stay the same, only the solutions need to adapt.
– To realize the true benefits of capability thinking one has to push past current thinking on architecture.
Architecture is fundamentaly about asking questions and so should you act.
– Architecture is inventory and solutions are OPEX
– Design with the whole in mind at all times
– Architects should at all times avoid the empty suits
– To move many you need the knowledge of moving one
– Architecture is a piece of architecture.
– Architecture starts with what you won’t and ends with what the customer will recieve.
– The three major portfolios of any business should be used to analyze demand and capacity prior to accepting work.
– The greatest threat to the professionalization of architecture would be de-professionalization of project management
– Confidence should come from theory, experience and the backing of a great team.
– The truth is within you. The Architects primary mission is to guide you to it.
– I cannot tell you what to do or think, I can only guide you in the unfolding situation such that you can make your own decisions.
– The most important activity for the architect is to find and talk to the right people
– Stay focused on the things that matter most to the enterprise
– Transformation justifies a new architecture, optimization does not.
– No matter how big the problem is, an architect can always put it in the proper rectangle and tell you what goes in and out.
– First ask who are the people
– What is hard is but a reflection of what is easy
– There are customers, advisors, reference groups, and teams but in the end there is only you!
In each desicion make sure to accept the level of risk you can handle without putting other decisions at risk
– Like in life there are no intelligent conclusions early on
– By compressing the organisational structure an increase in agile behaviour can be expected
– What gives business an edge is the illusion of foreknowledge that good planning gives
– To be able to cater for diversity in expression you would do well to have ONE framework to do your audits against
– In architecture as in life apperance is but skin deep
– Any investigation that result in dialog is a good effort
– If you seed a complicated system in a complicated environment success will be hard found
– By growing others the Chief Architect makes his will come forth
– Make sure you achieve enough by intent, so you don’t have to rely on the things you made happen by accident
– Investigate everything to the depth of decision authority then make explicit your assumptions
– The end and aim of architecting in all its varieties is knowledge of the stakeholders businesses.
– Choosing perspectives means to include the ends
– In architecture as in people there is always room for another dimension
– To really experience arhitecture you have to let the architecht be the guide
– If you don’t have time to do a properjob then consider not doing the job.
– Strive to find the simplest, most effective architecture and then design acceptable solutions
– Chance is on the outside, risk is on the inside.
– To truly minimize waste an enterprise architecture approach is imperative.
– Culture is the mean to get an outcome larger than the value of the individual
– First the customer, then the customer and last the customer
– Architecturespeak is not a common language!
– Architecture is about finding the right questions to ask so one may understand the possibilities
– First assess not the solution but the one championing it
– It is all about the relations and the people and the things and the …!
– Like the architecture of a tree, the architecture of an enterprise is hidden from plain sight
– Enterprises invest in success, people invest in architecture, solutions and products.
– When you are the architect it is imperative that you find a path that all participants can negotiate
– The good solution is often where you will find inclusiveness at work
– If one view is enough, then why create more confusion?
– Great architects are like great architecture, seeds that environments grow
– To make you the best architect you can be you must surround yourself with the best people.
– The best way to refurbish a mature solution is to open up the architecture for others to build upon.
– In any architecture participation should be optional.
– Now is the best time to plant a new architecture.
– Unity, not uniformity, is the aim of great Enterprise Architecture
– The best architecture tell the story of the people it serve
– To truly manage people is to grow them through designed experiences
– To know that an architecture is right, is to be at ease with what one has accomplished
– The consideration of many architectures is the path to a successfull solution
– It is wise to differentiate between architecture, solution and instance.
– All architectures are seeded in the simple domain
– The direction of any architecture is forward
– Any architecture is the result of an act of design.
– Nothing is greater than giving the experience of good architecture
– The right partners is worth more than 10 000 hours of study.
– Best not to confuse no action with no result
– One cannot empty the cup if there is nothing in it.
– To be successfull without method one must study many methods
– When many activities are running in parallell it is often the one in the rear that trips the front.
– Plans come in all sizes and appear at all levels. People come in all sizes and appear at all levels
– Once we where servants of the waterfall, now we are servants of the rain.
– In an agile environment you must define your Minimum Viable Architecture
– The Code of Conduct is what makes the individual success a part of the enterprise successes
– It’s the dreams of the individual that sustain success in organisations
– In a world of thought, beware the one with all the solutions


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