I enjoyed reading Intersection: How Enterprise Design Bridges the Gap Between Business, Technology and People by Milan Guenther when it was published. Since then I keep referring to the book for insight and recommend it to other people who design and deliver digital services. I also wrote an Amazon review to prove it.
As every other model the enterprise design framework makes conscious decisions to include some aspects of the modelled domain while excluding others. With a respectful and appreciative nod to Milan and friends I’d like to discuss some things I view differently.
The big picture is the first of the five layers of the enterprise design framework. Its three elements are identity, [enterprise] architecture and experience. The intersection of these elements is labeled enterprise design.
While many equally useful definitions of architecture exist, I find this one particularly useful:
All architecture is design but not all design is architecture. Architecture represents the significant design decisions that shape a system, where significant is measured by cost of change. —Grady Booch
Consequently, I have difficulties seeing enterprise design as a subset of enterprise architecture. If I have to speak about enterprise architecture, I’d view the relationship the other way around. (The term architecture is abused so much that I hardly find value in using it anymore. I’m quite happy with design as used by Herbert Simon.)
The enterprise design framework’s briefing poster says: “Take a few steps back and look at your enterprise from some distance. What is it all about, why does it exist?” To me, this asks about the why people choose to participate in the enterprise, i.e. participants’ motivation. This then seems to be fairly well aligned with the time-honoured tradition of exploring stakeholders and their interests.
Identity (described to relate to branding work) seems to be only one aspect of that exploration rather than a distinct concern at the big-picture level. Other relevant aspects are purpose and values (hat-tip to Tom Graves).
Experience design provides valuable methods for conducting this exploration, although I think I’d discuss this at a lower level of the framework. I’m not yet sure where, but the anatomy level definitely will have to talk about experiences. (More on anatomy in a later post.)
So, this post is not about the enterprise design framework being wrong or about me being right. I just view and do some things differently…and learn as I go.