The Open Group
The Open Group is a global consortium that enables the achievement of business objectives through technology standards. With more than 870 member organizations, we have a diverse membership that spans all sectors of the technology community – customers, systems and solutions suppliers, tool vendors, integrators and consultants, as well as academics and researchers.
The mission of The Open Group is to drive the creation of Boundaryless Information Flow™ achieved by:
- Working with customers to capture, understand, and address current and emerging requirements, establish policies, and share best practices
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Further information on The Open Group is available at www.opengroup.org.
The Open Group publishes a wide range of technical documentation, most of which is focused on development of Standards and Guides, but which also includes white papers, technical studies, certification and testing documentation, and business titles. Full details and a catalog are available at www.opengroup.org/library.
The TOGAF® Standard, a Standard of The Open Group
The TOGAF Standard is a proven enterprise methodology and framework used by the world’s leading organizations to improve business efficiency.
This document is a TOGAF® Series Guide to Business Scenarios. It has been developed and approved by The Open Group.
Business Scenarios provide a mechanism to fully understand the requirements of information technology and align it with business needs. This is accomplished through the analysis of business processes, supporting IT components, and information flow requirements. Business Scenarios are an essential tool used by the successful manager to achieve Boundaryless Information Flow™.
The document supersedes G261: Manager’s Guide to Business Scenarios.
More information is available, along with a number of tools, guides, and other resources, at www.opengroup.org/architecture.
About the TOGAF® Series Guides
The TOGAF® Series Guides contain guidance on how to use the TOGAF Standard and how to adapt it to fulfill specific needs.
The TOGAF® Series Guides are expected to be the most rapidly developing part of the TOGAF Standard and are positioned as the guidance part of the standard. While the TOGAF Fundamental Content is expected to be long-lived and stable, guidance on the use of the TOGAF Standard can be industry, architectural style, purpose, and problem-specific. For example, the stakeholders, concerns, views, and supporting models required to support the transformation of an extended enterprise may be significantly different than those used to support the transition of an in-house IT environment to the cloud; both will use the Architecture Development Method (ADM), start with an Architecture Vision, and develop a Target Architecture on the way to an Implementation and Migration Plan. The TOGAF Fundamental Content remains the essential scaffolding across industry, domain, and style.
ArchiMate, DirecNet, Making Standards Work, Open O logo, Open O and Check Certification logo, Platform 3.0, The Open Group, TOGAF, UNIX, UNIXWARE, and the Open Brand X logo are registered trademarks and Boundaryless Information Flow, Build with Integrity Buy with Confidence, Commercial Aviation Reference Architecture, Dependability Through Assuredness, Digital Practitioner Body of Knowledge, DPBoK, EMMM, FACE, the FACE logo, FHIM Profile Builder, the FHIM logo, FPB, Future Airborne Capability Environment, IT4IT, the IT4IT logo, O-AA, O-DEF, O-HERA, O-PAS, Open Agile Architecture, Open FAIR, Open Footprint, Open Process Automation, Open Subsurface Data Universe, Open Trusted Technology Provider, OSDU, Sensor Integration Simplified, SOSA, and the SOSA logo are trademarks of The Open Group.
All other brands, company, and product names are used for identification purposes only and may be trademarks that are the sole property of their respective owners.
About the Authors
(Please note affiliations were current at the time of approval.)
Terence (Terry) Blevins, Fellow of The Open Group; Owner of Enterprise Wise LLC
Terence Blevins, a Fellow of The Open Group, is owner of Enterprise Wise LLC and a semi-retired Enterprise Architect. He is currently a Director of The Open Group Governing Board.
He has been involved with the architecture discipline since the 1980s, mostly while he was Director of Strategic Architecture at NCR Corporation. Terence has been involved with The Open Group since 1996 when he first was introduced to the Architecture Forum. He was co-chair of the Architecture Forum and a frequent contributor of content to the TOGAF® standard, including the Business Scenario method.
Terence was Vice-President and CIO of The Open Group where he contributed to The Open Group Vision of Boundaryless Information Flow™.
He holds undergraduate and Masters degrees in Mathematics from Youngstown State University. He is TOGAF® 8 Certified.
Mike Lambert, Fellow of The Open Group
Mike was one of the pioneers of the TOGAF® standard. As Chief Technical Officer for The Open Group, he was the Technical Editor for the IEEE 1003.0 architecture standard in the late 1980s and responsible for the development of the TOGAF Standard with The Open Group until the publication of the TOGAF 8 standard. Mike joined X/Open Company Limited (one of the predecessors of The Open Group) in 1984 from ICL, where he had a variety of roles leading up to Chief Architect for OMAC 29, ICL’s flagship product for the Manufacturing Industry and Design Authority for all ICL’s vertical application products. As Chief Technical Officer in X/Open and The Open Group, Mike was responsible for technical strategy and presided over the initial standardization of the UNIX® operating system.
On leaving The Open Group in April 2003, Mike was appointed as the first Fellow of The Open Group, in recognition of his extensive contribution to the development of Open Systems and Architecture. Between 2003 and 2005, Mike continued to work closely with The Open Group, as Forum Director of the Messaging Forum and providing secretariat services to the Architecture Forum. Between 2005 and 2015, Mike was Chief Technical Officer and Principal Instructor for Architecting-the-Enterprise Ltd., with specific responsibility for the development, delivery, and quality of the Architecting-the-Enterprise TOGAF training business. Between 2004 and 2011, Mike was a Lecturer in Information Systems and Enterprise Architecture at undergraduate and postgraduate level at the University of Reading.
In 2005, Mike was given an award for Excellence in Teaching by the University of Reading.
In 2012, Mike was awarded the Lifetime Achievement award by The Open Group.
The Open Group gratefully acknowledges the authors – Terry Blevins and Mike Lambert – and also past and present members of The Open Group Architecture Forum for their contribution in the development of this document.
The following documents are referenced in this Guide:
- The TOGAF® Standard, 10th Edition, a standard of The Open Group (C220), published by The Open Group, April 2022; refer to: www.opengroup.org/library/c220
- TOGAF® Series Guide: Business Capabilities, Version 2 (G211), published by The Open Group, April 2022; refer to: www.opengroup.org/library/g211
- TOGAF® Series Guide: Business Models (G18A), published by The Open Group, April 2022; refer to www.opengroup.org/library/g18a
- TOGAF® Series Guide: Value Streams (G178), published by The Open Group, April 2022; refer to: www.opengroup.org/library/g178
A key factor in the success of an Enterprise Architecture is the extent to which it is linked to business requirements, and demonstrably supporting and enabling the enterprise to achieve its business objectives. Any architectural effort must begin with a baseline view of the needs to be fulfilled by the solution or solutions. Consider guiding the construction of a warehouse building without understanding why the warehouse is needed. This could result in a fine warehouse solution for housing large-scale mechanical parts; however, the need was a warehouse for household goods. Creating an architecture without understanding “why” typically results in mismatches between solutions and needs.
The Business Scenario method is a technique to validate, elaborate, and/or change the premise behind an architecture effort by understanding and documenting the key elements of a Business Scenario in successive iterations where:
- Each iteration requires planning, data gathering, analysis, documentation, and review
- Each iteration should improve one or more of the key elements
- Iterations are repeated until your understanding is fit-for-purpose for deciding to move forward
Not examining all elements of a Business Scenario carries a risk of producing an incomplete solution, but care must be taken not to iterate unnecessarily.
The Business Scenario method may be used at various stages of developing an Enterprise Architecture – principally the Preliminary, Architecture Vision, and Business Architecture phases – but in other architecting phases as well, if required, to derive the characteristics of the architecture directly from the high-level requirements of the business. The technique is used to help identify, understand, and document business needs, and thereby to derive the business requirements that the architecture development has to address. These business requirements are documented as a Business Scenario.
A Business Scenario is a uniform description of:
- Real business problems
- The business and technology environment in which those problems occur
- Value streams enabled by capabilities
- The desired outcome(s) of proper execution
- The human and computing components (the “actors”) who provide the capabilities
A good Business Scenario is also “SMART”:
- Specific, by defining what needs to be done in the business
- Measurable, through clear metrics for success
- Actionable, by:
— Clearly segmenting the problem
— Providing the basis for determining elements and plans for the solution
- Realistic, in that the problem can be solved within the bounds of physical reality, time, and cost constraints
- Time-bound, in that there is a clear statement of when the solution opportunity expires
Chapter 9 provides detailed examples of outcomes that should be considered. Whatever outcomes are used, the idea is to make those outcomes SMART.
Below are further notes on Business Scenarios and the Business Scenario method:
- Business Scenarios are not just about IT, even though that was their genesis
Business Scenarios are just as much about understanding business value, value streams, and business outcomes and what resources in general are required to improve the value streams and meet outcomes to deliver business value.
- Business Scenarios are not specific to the IT industry, rather the technique can be applied to help understand the requirements in any industry such as Healthcare, Transportation, Oil and Gas, Lottery, etc.
- Business Scenarios are not just relevant to big problem areas; the technique can be applied to very large general problems areas such as standards for National Lotteries, or very small focused problem areas such as retail Point of Sale upgrades
- Business Scenarios, just like architectures, are not the end game – the end game is achieving the desired business outcomes
Thus, there must be a downstream path for using the Business Scenario to drive the architecture work which must faithfully drive implementation of solutions.
- Business Scenarios are statements at a specific time and should be updated to reflect significant changes
Business Scenarios are not:
- Use-cases (as in OMG, Rational SW, …); use-cases are:
— More detailed descriptions of human to computer interaction
— Typically used in software development projects
- Business models nor business cases nor Business Scenario plans (as in Forbes …):
— However, a Business Scenario can be informed by a company’s business model
— A SMART Business Scenario can inform a business case and/or a business model and/or Business Scenario plan
- SPIN (as in Situation, Problem, Implication, Need Payoff selling strategy):
— SPIN is a sales technique that can be used to gather information for a Business Scenario
— A Business Scenario can provide the seller some relevant “context” for a SPIN engagement
- A substitute for any typical engineering specifications (as from IEEE):
— Which are much more detailed, material-specific, and tied more to science
A Business Scenario is essentially a complete description of a business problem, both in business and in architectural terms, which enables individual requirements to be viewed in relation to one another in the context of the overall problem. Without such a complete description to serve as context:
- There is a danger of the architecture being based on an incomplete set of requirements that do not add up to a whole problem description, and that can therefore misguide architecture work
- The business value of solving the problem is unclear
- The relevance of potential solutions is unclear
Also, because the technique requires the involvement of business line management and other stakeholders at an early stage in the architecture project, it also plays an important role in gaining the buy-in of these key personnel to the overall project and its end-product – the Enterprise Architecture.
An additional advantage of Business Scenarios is in communication with vendors. Most architecture today is implemented by making maximum use of Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) software solutions, often from multiple vendors, procured in the open market. The use of Business Scenarios by a customer can be an important aid to vendors in delivering appropriate solutions. Vendors need to ensure that their solution components add value to an open solution and are marketable. Business Scenarios provide a language with which the vendor community can link customer problems and solutions. Besides making obvious what is needed, and why, they allow vendors to solve problems optimally, using open standards and leveraging each other’s skills.
Creating a Business Scenario takes time and effort and if done right there is a return on this investment summarized in the following list. If not done, or done wrong, more of the same issues will exist between solutions developers and the actual business.
- Better solutions – by understanding the real needs and how solving these needs are valued by the business, solutions can be brought to bear that are clearly aligned to the business and enable new capabilities
By meeting with the leaders of the business and bringing better solutions to the table, a relationship develops that is repeatable, resulting in a virtuous cycle of bringing in new capabilities.
- Faster to realize capabilities – by understanding the real needs, and the timeline requirements associated with fulfillment of those needs, solutions can be brought to bear in a timed sequence rather than in a single big-bang approach
This results in faster implementations of incremental value aligned to business needs. This is also consistent with Agile and DevOps approaches to solving problems.
- Cheaper costs – by understanding real business needs and addressing them incrementally the ultimate savings are in costs – both costs saved and costs avoided
Examples of costs saved are implementing only what is needed and eliminating redundancy. Examples of costs avoided are eliminating the costs of failed implementations and lowering the costs of integration and interoperation.
3.1 The Overall Process
Creating a Business Scenario involves the following, which ultimately documents the elements of a Business Scenario depicted in Figure 1:
- Identifying, documenting, and ranking the problem driving the scenario
- Identifying the business and technical environment of the scenario and documenting it in scenario models including value streams and business capabilities
- Identifying and documenting desired outcomes (the results of handling the problems successfully); get “SMART”
- Identifying the human actors (participants) and their place in the business model
- Identifying computer actors (computing elements) and their place in the technology model
- Checking for “fitness-for-purpose” and refining only if necessary
Figure 1: Creating a Business Scenario
Below are explanations of a few key terms:
- Outcomes are the changes, benefits, learning, or other effects that happen as a result of what the project or organization offers or provides
- A capability is an ability that an organization, person, or system possesses
When developing a Business Scenario, this means the ability to achieve an outcome within a known environment through application of human and/or material resources in a value stream
- A business capability is a particular ability or capacity that a business may possess or exchange to achieve a specific purpose or outcome
- A value stream is a representation of an end-to-end collection of value-adding activities that create an overall result for a customer, stakeholder, or end user
When developing a Business Scenario, this is a set of activities that a firm operating in a specific industry performs in order to deliver a valuable product or service for the market.
- A value proposition is “a clear statement of the concrete results a customer will get from purchasing and using your products and/or services. ... It is focused on outcomes. Your value proposition statement details the value you provide in an easy-to-remember synopsis that your client can easily grasp and remember. … your value proposition … should relieve their pain …”
Value propositions are not explicitly documented in a Business Scenario; however, the importance of understanding a customer’s Business Scenario to a solutions provider cannot be understated.
A Business Scenario is developed over a number of phases that formulate, verify, and refine a premise of the business requirements driving an effort. Each phase is comprised of steps to plan the phase, gather information, analyze information gathered, document the results, and review the results of the Business Scenario, as depicted in Figure 2.
In each phase, each of the elements of a Business Scenario (listed above) is successively improved. The refinement phase involves deciding whether to consider the scenario complete and go to the next phase of the TOGAF Architecture Development Method (ADM), or whether further refinement is necessary. This is accomplished by asking whether the current state of the Business Scenario is fit for the purpose of carrying requirements downstream in the architecture process.
The three phases of developing a Business Scenario and steps are described in detail in Figure 2 and Section 3.2.
Figure 2: Phases and Steps of Developing a Business Scenario
Since the steps are repeated in each phase they are described first. Within the phase descriptions any specific emphasis about the steps will be described if necessary.
3.2.1 Planning Step
The Planning step is used to ensure each iteration is well orchestrated as a mini-project, to get the right people and resources onboard, and to prepare all those involved.
Activities to be considered to plan include:
- Identify buy-side and customer-side participants
- Decide best data collection mechanism for gathering data (surveys, workshop, etc.)
- Set project constraints – time, people, money and document in project plan
- Identify sponsor by name
- Configure team
- Identify who is needed for roles (PM, BSC, BSA, BSE, etc.)
- Identify target buy-side representatives by name
- Identify target supply-side representatives by name
- Engage the buy and supply sides and ensure they are on-board
- Add tasks for dealing with logistics throughout the plan
- Set realistic target dates in a timeline for each step
- Hold a team meeting to get on the same page
- Update project plan – including notes, dependencies, etc.
3.2.2 Gathering Step
The Gathering step is where information is collected on each of the areas in Figure 1. The objective is to obtain valid data to shape, confirm, and/or deny the premise driving the effort. If information gathering procedures and practices are already in place in an organization – for example, to gather information for strategic planning – they should be used as appropriate, either during Business Scenario workshops or in place of Business Scenario workshops.
Multiple techniques may be used in this step, such as information research, qualitative analysis, quantitative analysis, surveys, requests for information, etc. As much information as possible should be gathered and preprocessed “off-line” prior to any face-to-face workshops (described below). For example, a request for information may include a request for strategic and operational plans. Such documents typically provide great insights, but the information that they contain usually requires significant preprocessing. The information may be used to generate an initial draft of the Business Scenario prior to the workshop, if possible. This will increase the understanding and confidence of the architect, and the value of the workshop to its participants.
A very useful way to gather information is to hold Business Scenario workshops, whereby a Business Scenario consultant leads a select and small group of business representatives through a number of questions to elicit the information surrounding the problem being addressed by the architecture effort. The workshop attendees must be carefully selected from high levels in the business and technical sides of the organization. It is important to get people that can and will provide information openly and honestly. Where a draft of the Business Scenario already exists – for example, as a result of preprocessing information gathered during this step, as described above – the workshop may also be used to review the state of the Business Scenario draft.
Sometimes it is necessary to have multiple workshops: in some cases, to separate the gathering of information on the business side from the gathering of information on the technical side; and in other cases simply to get more information from more people.
When gathering information, the architect can greatly strengthen the Business Scenario by obtaining “real-world examples”; i.e., case studies to which the reader can easily relate. When citing real-world examples, it is important to maintain a level of anonymity of the parties involved, to avoid blame.
Activities to consider in the Gathering step include:
- Create questions you believe should be answered
- Gather data that is openly available or employ early surveys
- Preprocess openly available data – note this is time-consuming
- Develop strawman “understanding” of the key elements based on open data
- Update questions for gaps
- Prepare all material to guide the gather mechanism
- Implement chosen information gathering mechanism
- Hold one or more workshops (if chosen method is a workshop)
— Get general agreement from stakeholders on the subject and scope of the problem
— Get champions from stakeholders and get them to supply names of representatives
— Send invitations and questions to invitees prior to workshop
— Obtain a facilitator and recorder
— Create an agenda
— Create workshop materials – including a “strawman” Business Scenario
— Prepare room with flip charts, U-shape table, white board, conference hook-up as appropriate
— Hold the workshop and capture all information from the workshop electronically
3.2.3 Analyzing Step
The Analyzing step is where a great deal of real Business Architecture work is actually done. The objective of this step is to develop a uniform view of the key elements of a Business Scenario. This is where the information that is gathered is processed and documented, and where the models are created to represent that information, typically visually.
The Analyzing step takes advantage of the knowledge and experience of the Business Scenario consultant using past work and experience to develop the models necessary to depict the information captured. Note that the models and documentation produced are not necessarily reproduced verbatim from interviews, but rather filtered and translated according to the real underlying needs.
In the Analyzing step it is important to maintain linkages between the key elements of the Business Scenario. One technique that assists in maintaining such linkages is the creation of matrices that are used to relate business processes to each of:
- Human Actors
- Computer Actors
In this way, the business process becomes the binding focal point, which makes a great deal of sense, since in most cases it is business process improvement that is being sought.
Activities to be considered in the Analyzing step include:
- Collect all raw data in one place and lock it as read-only
- Create a separate spreadsheet to collect all relevant data per key element
- Copy raw data into a raw data column(s) of the appropriate spreadsheet per key element
- Textual data collected must iteratively transform and normalize raw data – semantics!
— Break compounds into single points
— Using affinity analysis, synthesis, and abstraction transform raw data into a normalized list
— Using further affinity analysis create categories for the list
— Each transformation step should be recorded in spreadsheet
- For calculable data:
— Build the mechanisms to aggregate the data as findings – do the math!
- Create a new spreadsheet to build a matrix linking all the key elements
- Perform business and capability analysis to generate a set of business and technical requirements
- For each of the key elements assess answers for completeness and correctness
- Draft models of data collected as appropriate
3.2.4 Documenting Step
The Documenting step is for documenting the results and having the document edited for readability from the viewpoint of an average person, and also for developing models to support the text. The goal in this step is to create a record of reference.
Activities that should be considered in this step include:
- Draft the document and include models as drawings
- Conduct an informal internal review of content
- Update draft document and models
- Have the document proofread and edited
3.2.5 Reviewing Step
The Reviewing step is where the results are fed back to the sponsors of the project to ensure that there is a shared understanding of the full scope of the problem, and the potential depth of the technical impact. The goal is to get buy-in or stop.
Multiple Business Scenario workshops or “readout” meetings with the sponsors and involved parties are recommended. The meetings should be set up to be open and interactive. It is recommended to have exercises built into meeting agendas, in order to test attendees’ understanding and interest levels, as well as to test the architect’s own assumptions and results.
This step is extremely important, as the absence of shared expectations is in many cases the root cause of project failures.
Activities that should be considered in this step include:
- Vet the models and documentation
- Consider readout sessions
- Capture results
- Update document and models
- Identify internal and external reviewers by name
- Allocate specific sections to specific reviewers
- Craft review guidelines
- Send notification to reviewers
- Conduct a formal review of content
- Final update document and models
- Poll the stakeholders on moving forward based on the document
The steps above are repeated in the following phases that go from creating a premise to having a Business Scenario that has been approved by the leaders of the business. This Business Scenario document is then placed in the Requirements Repository as the high-level requirements statement that drives the architecture work downstream and is used to validate the quality of the architecture.
3.3.1 Premise Formulation Phase
Every effort starts with some notion of a problem and an approach to dealing with a problem. For example, an enterprise might have the problem of disparate systems that do not communicate and they may have the notion that to address the problem they may implement an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. This proposition is an example of a premise. This premise in essence presumes an answer to an unstated question – do ERPs actually reduce my problem of all my systems that do not interoperate? Sometimes this premise and the unstated question do not get examined, which can be a critical mistake. In this phase we attempt to develop an understanding of the premise and unstated question or questions that need to be examined to ensure an architecture project is on point.
Document the proposition behind the effort being considered along with targeted stakeholders which could elaborate upon, or validate, the proposition.
The approach here is to consider and document the motivation behind the effort, the likely stakeholders, their unstated questions, and to get their interest in engaging in the Business Scenario process to describe their problems.
What is driving an effort? It could be a fully documented project, or something as simple as an idea or concept. It also could be the lack of something; for example:
- No clear understanding of business need
- Problem looking for a solution
- Solution looking for a problem
- Dominance of technology speak
- Target market not identified
- “We just don’t know how to start”
Premise, key questions that need answered to validate the premise, and a list of stakeholders willing to help validate and detail the premise. This output is used in the next phase to plan, manage, and execute the validation phase.
3.3.2 Initial Verification Phase
Engaged stakeholders are a critical success factor to any significant change. And the earlier the engagement, the better the chances of success. This can be seen in most of the latest trends in development approaches such as Agile and DevOps. The Initial Verification phase takes the current premise, key questions, and targeted stakeholders and engages those stakeholders to validate and/or improve the understanding of the real problem and the real questions that need be addressed in order for a project to lead to a success.
Document a draft and incomplete Business Scenario based on input from actual stakeholders, though not necessarily representative of a market segment.
The approach here is to get face-to-face with various stakeholders and examine their real business issues. It is best to get sample stakeholders from different organizations to understand what business issues are shared.
Draft Business Scenario document with recommendations on next steps.
3.3.3 Refinement Phase
Having the stakeholder needs faithfully captured is important, but it mustn’t be done to the exclusion of moving forward. We have all heard of paralysis by analysis. This phase helps get a good enough statement of the business requirements.
An agreed statement of the business requirements, documented in the Business Scenario, along with an agreed path forward including commitments for developing to and preferring standards documented in the architecture.
The approach in this phase is to iteratively refine the understanding until there is agreement on proceeding along the lines suggested in the document.
Released Business Scenario document with recommendations on the next steps that will feed the architecture process.
The documentation of a Business Scenario should contain all the important details about the scenario. It should capture, and sequence, the critical steps and interactions between actors that address the situation. It should also declare all the relevant information about all actors, specifically: the different responsibilities of the actors; the key pre-conditions that have to be met prior to proper system functionality; and the technical requirements for the service to be of acceptable quality.
There are two main types of content: graphics (models) and descriptive text. Both have a part to play:
- Business Scenario models capture business and technology views in a graphical form, to aid comprehension; specifically, they relate actors and interactions, and give a starting point to confirm specific requirements
- Business Scenario documents capture details in textual form; a typical contents list for a Business Scenario is given below
Preface (general background and why use the Business Scenario method)
“So What?” or why is this Business Scenario needed?
Who will use this Business Scenario? “So that ….” or how used?
Background of Scenario
Purpose of Scenario
Definition of Terms (what does x mean)
Development of the Business Scenario
Business Process (aka Value Stream)
Human Actors and Roles
Relationship to Processes
Technical Process (aka Value Stream)
Computer Actors and Roles
Relationship to Processes
Business Scenario Analysis
Principles and Constraints
Resulting Architecture Models
Prioritized Areas for Standardization
Priorities by Process Area
Suggested Starting Points
Summary and Next Steps
It is important to realize that the creation of a Business Scenario is not solely the province of the architect. As mentioned previously, business line management and other stakeholders in the enterprise are involved to ensure that the business goals are accurately captured. In addition, depending on the relationship that an organization has with its IT vendors, the latter also may be involved to ensure that the roles of technical solutions are also accurately captured, and to ensure communication with the vendors.
Typically, the involvement of the business management is greatest in the early stages while the business problems are being explored and captured; while the involvement of the architect is greatest in the later stages and when architectural solutions are being described. Similarly, if vendors are involved in the Business Scenario process, the involvement of the customer side (business management plus Enterprise Architects) is greatest in the early stages, while that of the vendors is greatest in the later stages when the role of specific technical solutions is being explored and captured. This concept is illustrated in Figure 3.
Figure 3: Relative Contributions to a Business Scenario
Vendor IT architects might be able to assist enterprise IT architects with integration of the vendor’s products into the Enterprise Architecture. This assistance most probably falls in the middle of the timeline in Figure 3.
Business Scenarios figure most prominently in the initial phase of the TOGAF ADM cycle, Phase A: Architecture Vision, when they are used to define relevant business requirements, and to build consensus with business management and other stakeholders. They are also used in the Business Architecture phase to derive the characteristics of the architecture directly from the high-level requirements of the business.
The business requirements are referred to throughout all phases of an ADM lifecycle, as part of the TOGAF ADM Requirements Management, illustrated in Figure 4.
Figure 4: Relevance of Requirements throughout the TOGAF ADM
Business Scenarios can also be used in any ADM phase, if there is a need to derive requirements. For example, they can be used in the Preliminary Phase to define requirements for establishing an Enterprise Architecture capability.
Because business requirements are important throughout all phases of the ADM cycle, the Business Scenario technique has an important role to play in the TOGAF ADM, by ensuring that the business requirements themselves are complete and correct.
7.1 General Guidelines
The stakeholders (e.g., business managers, end users) will tell you what they want, but as an architect you must still gain an understanding of the business, so you must know the most important actors in the system. If the stakeholders do not know what they want:
- Take time, observe, and record how they are working today
- Structure information in such a way that it can be used later
- Uncover critical business rules from domain experts
- Stay focused on what needs to be accomplished, and how it is to be accomplished
This effort provides the anchor for a chain of reason from business requirements through to technical solutions. It will pay off later to be diligent and critical at the start.
7.2 Questions to Ask for Each Area
The Business Scenario workshops mentioned in the Gathering step are really structured interviews. While there is no single set of appropriate questions to ask in all situations, the following provides some guidance to help Business Scenario consultants ask good questions.
7.2.1 Identifying, Documenting, and Ranking the Problem
Is the problem described as a statement of what needs to be accomplished, like steps in a process, and not how (with technology “push”)?
If the problem is too specific or a “how”:
- Raise a red flag
- Ask “why do you need to do it that way?” questions
If the problem is too vague or not actionable:
- Raise a red flag
- Ask “what is it you need to do, or will be able to do if this problem is solved?” questions
Ask questions that help to identify where and when the problem exists:
- Where are you experiencing this particular problem? In what business process?
- When do you encounter these issues? During the beginning of the process, the middle, the end?
Ask questions that help to identify the costs of the problem:
- Do you account for the costs associated with this problem? If so, what are they?
- Are there hidden costs? If so, what are they?
- Is the cost of this problem covered in the cost of something else? If so, what and how much?
- Is the problem manifested in terms of poor quality or a perception of an ineffective organization?
7.2.2 Identifying the Business and Technical Environment and Documenting in Models
Questions to ask about the business environment:
- What key process suffers from the issues? What are the major steps that need to be processed?
- What is the location/scale of internal business departments?
- What is the location/scale of external business partners?
- Are there any specific business rules and regulations related to the situation?
Questions to ask about the current technology environment:
- What technology components are already presupposed to be related to this problem?
- Are there any technology constraints?
- Are there any technology principles that apply?
7.2.3 Identifying and Documenting Objectives
Is the “what” sufficiently backed up with the rationale for “why”? If not, ask for measurable rationale in the following areas:
- Return on investment
- Performance needs
- Compliance to standards
- Ease-of-use measures
7.2.4 Identifying Human Actors and their Place in the Business Model
An actor represents anything that interacts with or within the system. This can be a human, or a machine, or a computer program. Actors initiate activity with the system; for example:
- Computer user with the computer
- Phone user with the telephone
- Payroll clerk with the payroll system
- Internet subscriber with the web browser
An actor represents a role that a user plays; i.e., a user is someone playing a role while using the system (e.g., John (user) is a dispatcher (actor)). Each actor uses the system in different ways (otherwise they should be the same actor). Ask about the humans that will be involved, from different viewpoints, such as:
7.2.5 Identifying Computer Actors and their Place in the Technology Model
Ask about the computer components likely to be involved, again from different points of view. What must they do?
7.2.6 Documenting Roles, Responsibilities, Measures of Success, and Required Scripts
When defining roles, ask questions like:
- What are the main tasks of the actor?
- Will the actor have to read/write/change any information?
- Will the actor have to inform the system about outside changes?
- Does the actor wish to be informed about unexpected changes?
7.2.7 Checking for Fitness-for-Purpose and Refining, if Necessary
Is there enough information to identify who/what could fulfil the requirement? If not, probe more deeply.
Is there a description of when, and how often, the requirement needs to be addressed? If not, ask about timing.
8.1 Textual Documentation
Effective Business Scenario documentation requires a balance between ensuring that the detail is accessible, and preventing it from overshadowing the results and overwhelming the reader. To this end, the Business Scenario document should have the main findings in the body of the document and the details in appendices.
In the appendices:
- Capture all the important details about a Business Scenario:
— Situation description and rationale
— All measurements
— All actor roles and sub-measurements
— All services required
- Capture the critical steps between actors that address the situation, and sequence the interactions
- Declare relevant information about all actors:
— Partition the responsibility of the actors
— List pre-conditions that have to be met prior to proper system functionality
— Provide technical requirements for the service to be of acceptable quality
In the main body of the Business Scenario:
- Generalize all the relevant data from the detail in the appendices
8.2 Business Scenario Models
Remember the purpose of using models is to:
- Help comprehension
- Give a starting point to confirm requirements
- Relate actors and interactions
Keep drawings clear and neat:
- Do not put too much into one diagram
- Simpler diagrams are easier to understand
Number diagrams for easy reference:
- Maintain a catalog of the numbers to avoid duplicates
9.1 The Importance of Goals
One of the first steps in the development of an architecture is to define the overall goals and objectives for the development. The objectives should be derived from the business goals of the organization, and the way in which IT is seen to contribute to meeting those goals.
Every organization behaves differently in this respect, some seeing IT as the driving force for the enterprise and others seeing IT in a supporting role, simply automating the business processes which already exist. The essential thing is that the architectural objectives should be very closely aligned with the business goals and objectives of the organization.
9.2 The Importance of SMART Objectives
Not only must goals be stated in general terms, but also specific measures need to be attached to them to make them SMART, as described earlier.
The amount of effort spent in doing this will lead to greater clarity for the sponsors of the architecture evolution cycle. It will pay back by driving proposed solutions much more closely toward the goals at each step of the cycle. It is extremely helpful for the different stakeholders inside the organization, as well as for suppliers and consultants, to have a clear yardstick for measuring fitness-for-purpose. If done well, the ADM can be used to trace specific decisions back to criteria, and thus yield their justification.
The goals below have been adapted from those given in previous versions of the TOGAF Standard. These are categories of goals, each with a list of possible objectives. Each of these objectives should be made SMART with specific measures and metrics for the task. However, since the actual work to be done will be specific to the architecture project concerned, it is not possible to provide a list of generic SMART objectives that will relate to any project.
Instead, we provide here some example SMART objectives.
9.2.1 Example of Making Objectives SMART
Under the general goal heading “Improve User Productivity” below, there is an objective to provide a “Consistent User Interface” and it is described as follows:
“A consistent user interface will ensure that all user-accessible functions and services will appear and behave in a similar, predictable fashion regardless of application or site. This will lead to better efficiency and fewer user errors, which in turn may result in lower recovery costs.”
To make this objective SMART, we ask whether the objective is specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and time-bound, and then augment the objective appropriately.
The following captures an analysis of these criteria for the stated objective:
- Specific: the objective of providing “a consistent user interface that will ensure all user-accessible functions and services will appear and behave in a similar, predictable fashion regardless of application or site” is pretty specific; however, the measures listed in the second sentence could be more specific
- Measurable: as stated above, the objective is measurable, but could be more specific; the second sentence could be amended to read (for example): “this will lead to 10% greater user efficiency and 20% fewer order entry user errors, which in turn may result in 5% lower order entry costs”
- Actionable: the objective does appear to be actionable; it seems clear that consistency of the user interface must be provided, and that could be handled by whoever is responsible for providing the user interface to the user device
- Realistic: the objective of providing “a consistent user interface that will ensure all user-accessible functions and services will appear and behave in a similar, predictable fashion regardless of application or site” might not be realistic; considering the use today of PDAs at the user end might lead us to augment this objective to ensure that the downstream developers don’t unduly create designs that hinder the use of new technologies – the objective could be re-stated as “a consistent user interface, across user interface devices that provide similar functionality that will ensure …”
- Time-bound: the objective as stated is not time-bound; to be time-bound the objective could be re-stated as “by the end of Q3, provide a consistent ...”
The above results in a SMART objective that looks more like this (again remember this is an example):
“By the end of Q3, provide a consistent user interface across user interface devices that provide similar functionality to ensure all user-accessible functions and services appear and behave in a similar way when using those devices in a predictable fashion, regardless of application or site. This will lead to 10% greater user efficiency and 20% fewer order entry user errors, which in turn may result in 5% lower order entry costs.”
9.3 Categories of Goals and Objectives
Although every organization will have its own set of goals, some examples may help in the development of an organization-specific list. The goals given below are categories of goals, each with a list of possible objectives, which have been adapted from the goals given in previous versions of the TOGAF Standard.
Each of the objectives given below should be made SMART with specific measures and metrics for the task involved, as illustrated in the example above. However, the actual work to be done will be specific to the architecture project concerned, and it is not possible to provide a list of generic SMART objectives that will relate to any project.
9.3.1 Goal: Improve Business Process Performance
Business process improvements can be realized through the following objectives:
- Increased process throughput
- Consistent output quality
- Predictable process costs
- Increased re-use of existing processes
- Reduced time of sending business information from one process to another process
9.3.2 Goal: Decrease Costs
Cost improvements can be realized through the following objectives:
- Lower levels of redundancy and duplication in assets throughout the enterprise
- Decreased reliance on external IT service providers for integration and customization
- Lower costs of maintenance
9.3.3 Goal: Improve Business Operations
Business operations improvements can be realized through the following objectives:
- Increased budget available to new business features
- Decreased costs of running the business
- Decreased time-to-market for products or services
- Increased quality of services to customers
- Improved quality of business information
9.3.4 Goal: Improve Management Efficacy
Management efficacy improvements can be realized through the following objectives:
- Increased flexibility of business
- Shorter time to make decisions
- Higher-quality decisions
9.3.5 Goal: Reduce Risk
Risk improvements can be realized through the following objectives:
- Ease of implementing new processes
- Decreased errors introduced into business processes through complex and faulty systems
- Decreased real-world safety hazards (including hazards that cause loss of life)
9.3.6 Goal: Improve Effectiveness of IT Organization
IT organization effectiveness can be realized through the following objectives:
- Increased rollout of new projects
- Decreased time to roll out new projects
- Lower cost in rolling out new projects
- Decreased loss of service continuity when rolling out new projects
- Common development: applications that are common to multiple business areas will be developed or acquired once and re-used rather than separately developed by each business area
- Open systems environment: a standards-based common operating environment, which accommodates the injection of new standards, technologies, and applications on an organization-wide basis, will be established; this standards-based environment will provide the basis for development of common applications and facilitate software re-use
- Use of products: as far as possible, hardware-independent, off-the-shelf items should be used to satisfy requirements in order to reduce dependence on custom developments and to reduce development and maintenance costs
- Software re-use: for those applications that must be custom developed, development of portable applications will reduce the amount of software developed and add to the inventory of software suitable for re-use by other systems
- Resource sharing: data processing resources (hardware, software, and data) will be shared by all users requiring the services of those resources – resource sharing will be accomplished in the context of security and operational considerations
9.3.7 Goal: Improve User Productivity
User productivity improvements can be realized through the following objectives:
- Consistent user interface: a consistent user interface will ensure that all user-accessible functions and services will appear and behave in a similar, predictable fashion regardless of application or site; this will lead to better efficiency and fewer user errors, which in turn may result in lower recovery costs
- Integrated applications: applications available to the user will behave in a logically consistent manner across user environments, which will lead to the same benefits as a consistent user interface
- Data sharing: databases will be shared across the organization in the context of security and operational considerations, leading to increased ease-of-access to required data
9.3.8 Goal: Improve Portability and Scalability
The portability and scalability of applications will be through the following objectives:
- Portability: applications that adhere to open systems standards will be portable, leading to increased ease-of-movement across heterogeneous computing platforms – portable applications can allow sites to upgrade their platforms as technological improvements occur, with minimal impact on operations
- Scalability: applications that conform to the model will be configurable, allowing operation on the full spectrum of platforms required
9.3.9 Goal: Improve Interoperability
Interoperability improvements across applications and business areas can be realized through the following objectives:
- Common infrastructure: the architecture should promote a communications and computing infrastructure based on open systems and systems transparency including, but not limited to, operating systems, database management, data interchange, network services, network management, and user interfaces
- Standardization: by implementing standards-based platforms, applications will be provided with, and will be able to use, a common set of services that improve the opportunities for interoperability
9.3.10 Goal: Increase Vendor Independence
Vendor independence will be increased through the following objectives:
- Interchangeable components: only hardware and software that have standards-based interfaces will be selected, so that upgrades or the insertion of new products will result in minimal disruption to the user’s environment
- Non-proprietary specifications: capabilities will be defined in terms of non-proprietary specifications that support full and open competition and are available to any vendor for use in developing commercial products
9.3.11 Goal: Reduce Lifecycle Costs
Lifecycle costs can be reduced through most of the objectives discussed above. In addition, the following objectives directly address reduction of lifecycle costs:
- Reduced duplication: replacement of isolated systems and islands of automation with interconnected open systems will lead to reductions in overlapping functionality, data duplication, and unneeded redundancy because open systems can share data and other resources
- Reduced software maintenance costs: reductions in the quantity and variety of software used in the organization will lead to reductions in the amount and cost of software maintenance – use of standard off-the-shelf software will lead to further reductions in costs since vendors of such software distribute their product maintenance costs across a much larger user base
- Incremental replacement: common interfaces to shared infrastructure components allow for phased replacement or upgrade with minimal operational disturbance
- Reduced training costs: common systems and consistent Human Computer Interfaces (HCIs) will lead to reduced training costs
9.3.12 Goal: Improve Security
Security can be improved in the organization’s information through the following objectives:
- Consistent security interfaces for applications: consistent security interfaces and procedures will lead to fewer errors when developing applications and increased application portability; not all applications will need the same suite of security features, but any features used will be consistent across applications
- Consistent security interfaces for users: a common user interface to security features will lead to reduced learning time when moving from system to system
- Security independence: application deployment can use the security policy and mechanisms appropriate to the particular environment if there is good layering in the architecture
- A 25% reduction in calls to the help desk relating to security issues
- A 20% reduction in “false positives” detected in the network (a false positive is an event that appears to be an actionable security event, but in fact is a false alarm)
9.3.13 Goal: Improve Manageability
Management improvement can be realized through the following objectives:
- Consistent management interface: consistent management practices and procedures will facilitate management across all applications and their underlying support structures; a consistent interface can simplify the management burden, leading to increased user efficiency
- Reduced operation, administration, and maintenance costs: operation, administration, and maintenance costs may be reduced through the availability of improved management products and increased standardization of the objects being managed
In order to develop a Business Scenario, there are multiple roles that need to be filled. There are roles that can be filled by the same person, so the sum of the roles means you may not need that many people. Configuring the people to perform the roles is something that should be done in the Planning step:
- Project Manager: plan, execute, and monitor a project that results in a documented and vetted Business Scenario in time and on budget
- Business Scenario Consultant: guide the project so that it is moving in the right direction to result in a quality Business Scenario
- Business Scenario Analyst: apply data gathering and analysis techniques that result in consensus views of the elements of a Business Scenario
- Business Scenario Author: produce a faithful and objective narrative description of the Business Scenario
- Business Scenario Editor: take a draft and produce a high-quality publishable document deserving of The Open Group brand identity
- Business Scenario Facilitator: conduct well-orchestrated meetings and workshops that result in satisfied and fulfilled attendees
- SME Contributors: provide expert advice and content in a specific subject germane to the propose premise
- SME Reviewers: review and provide objective and constructive recommendations pertaining to the Business Scenario document
- Host: provide the welcome environment for participants that represents the impetus for the effort to reassure attendees to be open
- Sponsor: represent the executive-level “buy side” of the importance of moving forward with the effort to reassure attendees that they will support the effort and its follow-up
- Workshop Primary and Secondary Questioner: ask probing planned and follow-up questions that pull out information germane to the subject
- Workshop Recorders: faithfully capture the answers to questions and notes of workshops and meetings
11.1 Checklist – Premise Formulation
• Have a simple premise
• Have initial capstone question
• Have a candidate sponsor
• One or more triggers present:
• No clear understanding of business need
• Problem looking for a solution
• Solution looking for a problem
• Dominance of technology speak
• Target market not identified
• “We just don’t know how to start”
• Identified target buy-side participants
• Identified target customer-side participants
• Engaged target supply-side participants
• Engaged target customer-side participants
11.2 Checklist – Plan
• Named Project Manager
• Named Business Scenario Consultant
• Selected data gather mechanisms
• Set project constraints:
• Resourced engagement activities
• Resourced logistic activities
• Resourced other roles
• Held initial team meeting
• Set up the dependencies
• Established a reasonable timeline
• Documented in a project plan
• Resourced logistic activities:
• Meeting and workshop logistics
• Practice sessions
• Greasing the wheels
• Thank you notes
11.3 Checklist – Gather
• Questions are crafted
• Data that is openly available is gathered
• Preprocessed data that is openly available
• Developed strawman of the key elements
• Data gathering material prepared
• Participants named
• Participants on board
• Taken steps to maintain desired anonymity
• Focus groups
• Market research, etc.
• Have an agenda
• Workshop scripted and rehearsed:
• Facilitator and host
• Questioners and recorders
• Room prepared (as appropriate):
• Flip charts
• U-shape table
• White board
• Conference hook-up
• Invitations and instructions sent to SMEs
• Prepared to capture all information electronically
• Considered two separate workshops (buy-side and supply-side)
11.4 Checklist – Analyze
• All data collected in one place and locked as read-only
• Prepared worksheets per element to analyze text
• Prepared worksheets per element to analyze calculable data
• Populated worksheets with raw data
• Transformed textual into normalized and categorized list
• Done the math
• Prepared a unifying matrix to connect all key elements
• Assessed for completeness and correctness:
• Should be at least one outcome for each pain point
• Generated a set of business and technical capabilities
• Drafted models of data collect
• Drafted text of the results
11.5 Checklist – Document
• Named a primary author:
• Should have been done in the Planning step
• Named the editor:
• Should have been done in the Planning step
• Drafted the document
• Included models as drawings in the document
• Described the models in text form
• Numbered drawings
• Used a modeling language:
• The ArchiMate® modeling language
• Articulated the business-oriented issue and the desired outcomes
• Have a “so what”
• Have a “so that”
• Conducted an informal internal review of content
• Updated draft document and models
• Proofread and edited for business folk
11.6 Checklist – Review
• Named the internal reviewers
• Named the external reviewers
• Allocated specific sections to specific reviewers
• Provided formal instructions to reviewers
• Formally managed change requests
• Agreed on updates
• Polled stakeholders on path forward
• Updated document and models for publication
• Sent document to publication process
• Sent participants publication status and thank you notes
The following tips and techniques can be used in various situations during workshops and analysis:
- Use real-world examples
- Use exercises to solve a real and relevant issue
- Use roundtables and ensure you solicit everyone’s views
- Use active and reflective listening
- Use brainstorming with affinity analysis in meetings
- Use “introduce your neighbor” technique
- Use “we believe” exercise
- Use money or “credits” voting for prioritization
- Consider using multi-voting and/or rank ordering
- Consider using role play
- Consider using alternative analysis with a decision matrix
- Check the checklist
12.1 On Active and Reflective Listening
- Use whenever you want to ensure that someone is being heard – not just by you, but by everyone
- Active listening from Wikipedia:
— A communication technique used in counselling, training, and conflict resolution, which requires the listener to feed back what they hear to the speaker, by way of re-stating or paraphrasing what they have heard in their own words, to confirm what they have heard and, moreover, to confirm the understanding of both parties
- Reflective listening from Wikipedia:
— A communication strategy involving two key steps: seeking to understand a speaker’s idea, then offering the idea back to the speaker, to confirm the idea has been understood correctly; it attempts to “reconstruct what the client is thinking and feeling and to relay this understanding”
12.2 On Brainstorming and Affinity Analysis
- Use when you want to engage the entire team to put out ideas
— A structured technique to gather all participant ideas – it is not a free-for-all
— Describe the exercise subject
— Describe rules for brainstorming
— Ask everyone to jot down their thoughts on the subject (set some limit like “in one sentence”)
— Proceed to get each participant’s ideas one at a time and record on sticky notes in a roundtable manner
— Post sticky notes
— Do affinity analysis on ideas
- Affinity analysis:
— A means to identify and group similar or related ideas
— Useful to faithfully combine many ideas into a manageable list
12.3 Introduce your Neighbor
- Use when you want to build a team from a group that doesn’t know each other well
- Pair people up; e.g., Al and Betty
- Have them chat and introduce each other for a few minutes:
— Limit to five minutes maximum
— Ask them to chat about name, where they live, business, hobbies, etc.
- Then go around the room and have them introduce each other:
— Al introduces Betty and Betty introduces Al
— Have all participants introduced
— Have facilitator pair up if there is an odd number of participants
12.4 We Believe
- Use when the team is not converging or they are arguing in a non-constructive way
- Take a step back and go to the original premise
- Ask “do we believe in this?”
— If not what do “we believe in”?
- Maintain a list of “we believes”
- Limit the list to important beliefs
- These “we believes” could become or lead to principles
12.5 On Money or Credit Voting Prioritization
- Use when you want to get a sense of what people will really put their resources into
- Use fake money or “credits”
- Give each person a budget:
— Can’t spend over the budget
— Can apply to one item, or more
— If you have other rules then announce them
- Ask participants to allocate their budget against a list:
— Can do anonymously (preferred)
— Make it real by asking everyone to be prepared to defend their allocation as if defending it to their boss
- Tally the budgets
- Expose the results and discuss
12.6 On Multi-Voting and Rank Ordering Prioritization
- Use whenever you want to get to a consensus view on the priority of items in a list
— Structured system where votes are taken in successive steps where each step reduces a list ultimately to three to five items
- Rank ordering:
— Where items on a list are ranked 1 to n and the average of all the ranking produces a collective view
12.7 On Role Play
- Use when you want to expand people’s perspectives and especially consider another perspective:
— Often useful if you want two people or two groups to think about another person’s or another groups views
- Describe a situation and put two viewpoints on the table
- Ask a person or a group to take a specific role within that situation and describe their views and concerns:
— Put a supplier in the situation of a buyer
— Put a buyer in the situation of a supplier
— Put a patient in the role of a doctor
— Put a doctor in the role of a patient
12.8 On Alternative Analysis and Decision Matrix
- Use when there are too few approaches on the table, maybe looking as if there may be bias towards a given approach
- Brainstorm alternatives and put in a normalized list
- Put list items in a matrix with additional columns for:
— Required resources
— Contribution to problem
— Calculated Rank
- Ask people to rank each cell 1 (worse) to 5 (best)
- Add weight if necessary and calculate
Alt 2 …
Business Scenarios help to address one of the most common issues facing executives: aligning significant transformation, such as those supported by IT changes, with the business.
The success of any major project is measured by the extent to which it is linked to business requirements, and demonstrably supports and enables the enterprise to achieve its business outcomes. The Business Scenario method is an important technique that may be used at various stages of defining an Enterprise Architecture, or in support of any other major project, to derive the characteristics of the architecture directly from the high-level requirements of the business. Business Scenarios are used to help identify and understand business needs, and thereby to derive the business requirements that the architecture development, and ultimately the solution, has to address.
However, it is important to remember that Business Scenarios are just a tool, not the objective. They are a part of, and enable, the larger process of architecture and downstream development. The architect should use them, but not get lost in them. The key is to stay focused – watch out for “feature creep”, and address the most important issues that tend to return the greatest value.