In the business world a Methodology can be defined as:
“A System to Build Systems”, be they Manual or Computer systems.
premise of our Methodology:
Satisfying the customer’s need should be the central "reason for being" of any organization. This should
be reflected in its organizational structures and its human and computer systems. (Note that a “Customer” isn’t always a human, for
example a point in time such as the End of the Year or a Fire can be the “Customer” triggering a response in an organization.)
other words every structure and supporting system in the organization should be designed and operated so that it is part of a customer-centric
solution and not a high tech version of old system configurations. Ideally, the workflow paths of customer-satisfying processes and
their needed data will be the shortest distances between the two points of the customer's initial request and the meeting of their
Knowing how to design and run these systems and structures derives from understanding an organization's essential business and
the Stimulus/Response nature of meeting its customers' demands.
The Stimulus/Response Events “out there”.
I’ll pick on three basic
Stimulus/Response Event systems, one from nature, one from our own biology and one from business.
• An example of an Environmental
The Event - A storm, produces the Stimulus rain, and the Response, over time, can be something as significant
as the Grand Canyon in Arizona.
• An example of a Biological Stimulus/Response system:
The Event - A Hammer blow to the body produces
the Stimulus Pain and the body’s Response being to remove the body part (and maybe some verbal response also).
• An example of an
Organizational Stimulus/Response system:
The Event - A customer wanting to buy our product or service produces the Stimulus an Order
and the Response is an invoice and product to the customer. In the business world this is obviously the one in which we are most interested.
important thing to acknowledge here is each Stimulus arises from an EXTERNAL Event, in other words from a business point of view we
are most interested in satisfying the needs of our external customer.
Note that the organization has no control over the occurrence
of their selected EXTERNAL Customer Events; it simply responds to the arrival of the stimuli from the Events, for example, a Customer
Order. If we do have control over the Event we’re probably not looking at the edge of our business; we’re looking at an internal fragment
of an Events response. Or we may be looking at an Internal System Event and not a Business Event.
Examples of External Events in the
Each external customer need to which an organization responds is called a “Business Event.” From an organization’s
point of view the first thing it sees is the stimulus, not the event – that’s external. For example here’s a person thinking,
• I need
to fly to San Francisco…Which makes them contact an airline.
• I need some cash…Which makes them go to the bank or ATM.
• Its tax time…Which
makes them send their tax documentation to the Government.
• I need to buy a briefcase…Which makes them purchase a product.
all external Business Events to the organizations that are going to respond to them. If we focus in on the last event we may see more
detail of the Order processing stimulated by the incoming Order to the organization. The Order stimulus may traverse through a whole
bunch of departments, computer systems, and databases before it comes out as a Response.
If we take a disciplined approach to specifying
the various aspects of an organization we need to capture and define many components. For example: Functional Processes/Procedures,
Data Groupings with Relationships, States and their Transitions, Controls etc. In our methodology we recommend using Business Events
as a means to group/partition that documentation into Business Event Compartments.
Here’s a definition:
A “Business Event Compartment”
consists of a set of business components required to completely satisfy one need of a Customer.”
Orienting an organization's structures
and systems around Business Event Compartments (rather than around exiting departments/bureaus or systems/processes) provides a truly
rational basis for creating a customer-centric organization.
How a Typical Organization Fragments a Business Event’s Implementation.
talk about an all-too-typical fragmentation of the implementation of a Business Event’s characteristics. Unfortunately, the typical
organization has allowed old departmental structures, haphazard systems development efforts and purchased software packages to fragment
the “cohesiveness” of a Business Event’s characteristics. (Author’s note: After my extensive career in information systems I don’t
believe there are many functional systems out there – there are a lot of dysfunctional ones though.)
In fact the predominant design
and implementation structure seems to be based on human implementation reasons rather than customer focused reasons, with the resultant
structure looking more like a military hierarchy with jig-sawed, batched-up, similar tasks grouped together.
We solve this problem
by using a Business Event Methodology when producing a manual or computer system and within that methodology focusing on the important
aspect of Business Analysis to model and implement a Business Event Compartment.
Doing this produces a functional, agile, unbeatable
business. It’s that important and a business that follows this methodology will be:
• The most responsive to the customer (it’s the
shortest distance between two points – their request and your response),
• Easier to maintain (because manual procedures and computer
code are specific to one Business Event and not bundled with other unnecessary and unexecuted processes and data),
• Easiest to Modify
(because business rules/policy changes and new lines of business (new Business Events) are easier to make for the same reason above),
• Even easier to build (as business rules/policies are specific to one Business Event and therefore there are less design documents
and record “codes” and so less testing required).
This article is just an introduction to our total methodology. If you think these
concepts make sense and you would like to know more please look at our video courses and books on this website.