Month: August 2010

Ideal Realised Strategies and Enterprise Architecture

There are two important themes in the MWT Model that are used to shift organisational habits.  These are ‘pendulum arguments & something else’ and ‘ideal realised strategies’.  Pendulum arguments are issues like the ‘centralise or decentralise’ debate that cause organisations to continuously cycle through organisational design or financial control models.  These pendulums must be fixed with ‘something else’ – such as an operating model or a collaboration architecture in this case.

Ideal Realised Strategies are a separate category.  These are the problems when a strategy is proposed or in place that only delivers an acceptable balance of benefits and risk if it is implemented perfectly (which of course number happens).  In the context of the MWT Model, these are usually management strategies such as ‘ensure you confirm that you have closed all issues by the milestone date’.

Ideal Realised Strategies often have unstated dependancies or are otherwise unfeasible.  Ideal Realised Strategies also tend to keep people in positions of power because they need to be continuously funded and supported while the strategy endlessly edges towards perfect implementation.

As I spend some time thinking about enterprise architecture I’m starting to see the whole practice of enterprise architecture as an Ideal Realised Strategy.  I was also struck by title of this article (“What to enterprise architecture and socialism have in common”) and as a Mises-head of sorts didn’t like the comparison.

I usually place enterprise architecture (EA) as the anti-thisis of the overtly political approach to organisational design and decision making inherent in the managerial approach.  But not everybody places EA in this context, and it sometimes appears that as EA ‘matures’ to prescribe governance and business architecture approaches it is increasingly making its success dependant on more total control of the organisation.

Any strategy that has its success based on increasingly total control of the organisation that it supports is by definition an Ideal Realised Strategy.

Once I see EA this way I can’t help but think that it’s also evolving into a form of technocracy in the same way I have argued that managerialism is technocratic.  It also risks becoming part of a pendulum argument in the way I have seen organisations swing from sales lead (“if we don’t sell anything it doesn’t matter what we deliver”) to delivery lead (“if our delivery suffers our clients won’t want to buy our product no matter how good our sales people are”).

EA is changing – needs to change – but let’s get this right.

Update: there are some nice hints towards an EA approach less obsessed with centralised power in the Gartner press release I’ve previously referenced.

Game Dynamics and Internal Market Making

I like the idea that Seth Priebatsch is ‘determined to build a game layer on top of the world’ in the same way I like Jane McGonigal’s work to save the world with games.

Seth says in his TEDxBoston talk linked above that while the last 10 years have been about ‘building the social layer… has been building this framework for connections’ the next 10 years will be about perfecting the management of the rules that get the desired outcomes from the connections – the games.

I think this is very close the market-making and collaboration architectures of the MWT Model – so I’m excited and pleased.

I also like the reference in Seth’s talk to Loyalty schemes. Basically he is saying that the rules of Loyalty schemes and airline mile programs can be redesigned into a game rather than as they are now (“that actual do use game dynamics… they are using the game layer… they just suck”).

Dan Pink: Management is a television set (i.e. technology)

From Dan Pink’s TED talk on “The Surprising Science of Motivation”:

“In the 20th century we came up with this idea of management. Management did not emanate from nature. Management is not a tree it’s a television set. Okay? – Somebody invented it. And it doesn’t mean it’s going to work forever… Traditional notions of management are great if you want compliance. But if you want engagement self-direction works better.”

Pink also introduces parts of his “new operating system for our businesses” based on autonomy, mastery, and purpose.

The specifics of Pink’s new operating system are interesting – but I think as values they are almost universally accepted. More interesting is the acknowledgment that you might install a new operating system into organisations to replace ‘management’ itself. This idea has been the premise of MWT from its inception (see here and here for example).

The general principle of the MWT Model is to replace planning, monitoring, and controlling with collaboration architectures, technology-enabled markets, and operationalised brands. The MWT Model also positions management as a technology rather than a class of individuals.

In a sense, Pink’s new operating model fits into the MWT Model by acknowledging management as a technology, replacing it with something else, and operationalising an internal brand based on the values of autonomy, mastery, and purpose.


Watch the full video below:


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