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Creating a People Centric Architecture

by Jeff Scott, on Aug 9, 2017 9:36:59 AM

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Which is more important to your organization’s success: people, process, technology, or information? Yes, I know, they are ALL important but the question is which is most important. Hopefully your answer is “people”, but do you really believe it? I see process centric architectures, technology centric architectures, and capability centric architectures. What I don’t see however are people centric architectures. The question is why? If people are our most valuable resource, if they are the most important element in business success, then why aren’t we placing them at the core of our architectural efforts?

What would a people-centric architecture look like? Here are some of necessary elements:


An enterprise organizational chart of the entire management team. I assume most of you have this or at least can get a view from your HR department. Organizational charts are easy to create but don’t offer much value from an architectural perspective.


A function model. Similar to an organizational chart but listing the functions performed by each team. Once you have this, it is fairly easy to map to your capability and value stream models.


A competency model. While a function model describes what people do to fulfill the mission, the competency model describes what people are capable of doing. This seems essential to me when designing change initiatives but we seem to totally ignore potential in all of our models.


A network diagram. A network diagram describes how people (or functions) in the organization communicate outside of the formal process structure. You might also think of this as a relationship diagram depicting the informal relationships among individuals and teams.


A context model. A context model describes the way the organization is designed to work and might include such items as values, management style, incentive systems, motivation efforts, and the external and internal pressures currently being exerted on the organization.


A culture model. A culture model describes how the organization really does work. Sometimes it is working as designed but most often it is not. Everyone knows how powerful culture can be but almost no one has a model that helps them understand what their culture means to change initiatives.


What would you add to this list?


The bottom line:_________________________________________________________________

Building a people centric architecture, or at least having a strong people centric view within your architecture, will be the defining element of business architecture success in the future.

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