Thursday, February 21, 2013

Power, Process, Project, People

I keep writing about People, because I strongly believe that in the end the only thing which really matters is people, like in the Agile Manifesto: Individuals and Interactions over Processes and Tools.

In the past days I have seen plenty of interesting posts putting various concepts in the focus. One caught my attention and is very much worth to read:

This post followed some back and forth twittering and it was a very enjoyable discussion. It triggered some thinking I wanted to reflect already for a while, because every now and then I see an interesting tendency to market something as the one and only way on how to look at the world or solutions, be it IT or non IT.

Coming back to people I want to reflect on three forces especially which I observe every day and what I do to work with them or what I see in the typical Enterprise Architecture approaches. The three forces are (for each one definition from Oxford Dictionaries):
  • Power - The ability or official capacity to exercise control; authority.
  • Project - An individual or collaborative enterprise that is carefully planned to achieve a particular aim.
  • Process - A systematic series of mechanized or chemical operations that are performed in order to produce something. 

The definition of process and project is sometimes confusing if compared, so for simplification I typically differentiate by using project in the context of unique deliveries and process if the deliveries are repeatable. These three forces have a different effect on people, and each and every person has a different opinion what type of force he prefers, but in typical organizations all three forces exist in co-existence and influence each other. The key to all these three powers in the end is the People though and interesting enough they get quite often forgotten.

This is only the first post in a series, otherwise it is getting too long. The next post will be about power. If you have any input to give straight away then I am happy to read or hear from you.


  1. On power and people in relation to enterprise-architectures etc, perhaps take a look at my 'manifesto on power and response-ability in the workplace', at - it may be relevant here.

    1. It is for sure relevant for me, don't know where the flow of the next post leads me though. I use the blog not so much to put perfect thought through thinking into it, but more as an extended brain to organize my thoughts public. :)

  2. As you have seen I am a strong advocate of whole product (People, Services, Process, Technology and Information). While I agree that Power, Project and Process are vital, I argue that you need a more complete picture. As you have seen, my model (underlying next generation framework) is ecosystem based, where the moving parts are capabilities that offer business services to manage the connections. As I said in the blog post, “Capabilities as highly independent units of business function will be the way the business is organized.” Many organizations have moved some way in this direction, primarily because a program (rather than a single project) becomes an independent vehicle. What’s often missed is the need to have a clear vision of the ecosystem architecture and to charter the Capability organization to collaborate appropriately with other Capability organizations.

    This suggests a somewhat more complex organization is needed in which a) Common Capability (organizations) are established to deliver shared services, and b) (what used to be called) EA is empowered to fund and charter Programs to deliver to support a broader business strategy. As you say balancing Power is critical, otherwise the results are skewed to support particular agendas. Mt solution to this, again from that blog post is, "move enterprise architects into business roles and report them to the CMO".

    I have written a paper on precisely this topic for publication very shortly and will ping you when I release.

    1. Thank you, I will read it with interest.I focus on Power, Project, Process and People, because I believe that is the forces, while Services, Technology and Information are results of the utilization of those forces. Sometimes only to protect the forces itself in a self-feeding approach.

      I am personally not sure if it is good to move EAs into decision positions, because that typically leads to creating and defending an empire (power based).