Cycling like a Corkscrew – the Six Faces of Superior Business Analysis

Rudyard Kipling Quote

In Rudyard Kipling’s “Just So Stories” (1902), there is a poem that opens with:

I keep six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.

These are the 6 commonly understood aspects of qualification that are taught in schools and utilised in many fields. For any story there is a “What happened?”, “Why did it happen?”, “When?”, “How?”, “Where” and “By Who?”

Journalists and novelists know it. Police officers and lawyers know it. And anyone with a business or IT architecture leaning should know it too – through the Zachman Framework. John Zachman has over the last few decades developed a matrix schema that cuts a cross-section through the different levels of artifacts (contextual, conceptual, logical, physical and detailed) required to document the architecture of an enterprise, grouped by these “Five Ws (and one H)”.

However, as much as I love the concept of so thoroughly defining the documents required to capture a business area, I do feel that this thoroughness is too complex for operationalizing business goals. A 6 x 5 matrix (that’s 30 types of models and documents!) is too much for anyone in an organisation to properly get their head around, although it obviously can be a useful structure for a technical-level knowledge repository. That’s one reason why I’m proposing this simpler framework for conceptualising what artefacts are required to properly manage a successful organisation!

But although I’m not mooting promoting Zachman for analysing and improving business operations, I am invoking the “Five Ws (and one H)” to help pinpoint where we are in our exploration of the Superior Business Analysis model. As you will know by now, the story of this blog is about a model for enabling business success and we need to cover the Why, What, How, Where, Who and When of it.

Picture this blog as a corkscrew, which cycles around and around and around until it gets to the pointy bit and opens that bottle of prize-winning red. Well, that’s what we are doing. We are cycling around and around the model so that we eventually will have looked at it from six different perspectives. Eventually you will have a complete understanding of what is needed to implement this within an organisation.

We have just completed the Whys (although I’m sure you’ll have to continue bearing with me while I reiterate bits of it). We have talked about why the model is necessary and the justification and benefits of each component of the model – such as why we need business goals, rules, processes and reporting.

But the other Ws and H are still to come in our future cycles around the Superior Business Analysis model.

Next up we will be looking at the Whats – What each of the components of the model look like. Each component is already listed in the model of deliverables that you will find on “The Model” page of . Stay posted as we work through each of these deliverables to build up a picture of what your key business elements might look like.

Then we’ll look at How each component is created. We will do this by exploring the practices and techniques necessary to develop these artefacts. What is important to note though is that it’s not the artefacts themselves that are so critical, but a means by which everyone in the organisation can be on the same page.

Next up will by the Wheres. Where do these components fit? This means exploring templates, tools and knowledge management methods.

Then the Whos… who has responsibility for what. This might prove to be a very small cycle, but we’ll see when we get there!

And then finally the When cycle will be smaller again – but I suppose that is inevitable as you get close to the pointy end.

This blog is: cycling through the why, what, how, where, who and when or the Superior Business Analysis organisational model.

The purpose of this blog is: to give you a model for achieving business success and the knowledge to implement it within your organisation.

(Thanks to Wikipedia for its information on the “Five Ws (and one H)” and the Zachman Framework.)

What do you think?

To what uses have you put the Zachman Framework? And will the 5 Ws (and one H) enable you to implement better this model within your organisation?

What do you think?