Behaviour

Definition of Behaviour/Behavior

Definition Last Updated 17-Dec-2015 12:51

A behaviour is an activity attributed to an entity, i.e. a behaviour is a description of the way that an entity changes in time, intrinsically or in response to external changes.

For comparison, the current UML1OMG Unified Modeling Language™ (OMG UML), v2.5 pdf here. definition of a behaviour is:

a specification of events that may occur dynamically over time

The significance of “dynamically” in the UML definition is unknown.

Examples

Treacle oozes; dogs chase cats; wasps sting if annoyed.

Relationships

Behaviours are expressed as relationships of the forms:

[Behaviour] is an [activity] attributed to [entity]

[Activity] attributed to [entity] is [behaviour]

[Behaviour] of [entity] is [activity] of [entity]

Scope

Behaviour is a defined term of Enterprise Architecture. Behaviour is a defined term of Business Analysis

Discussion

Article Last Updated 17-Dec-2015 12:51

Activity vs. Behaviour

Section Last Updated 17-Dec-2015 12:51

All behaviour is activity, but not all activities are behaviours: behaviour requires the identification of an entity to which the activity can be attributed; activity does not.

Examples:

  • “The lioness is creeping through the long grass.” describes a behaviour: the lioness is attributed the activity
  • “Some of the long grass is waving.” describes an activity: some grass is not an entity to which the activity can be attributed
  • “There is movement in the long grass.” is ambiguous: “in” suggests that only part of the long grass is moving, but it is not well-identified enough to be an entity; but, if the emphasis were on “the long grass”, suggesting a defined border separating long grass from shorter grass, the long grass might be in fact be an entity in its own right2If this type of ambiguity (not some actual threatening movement in long grass somewhere) turns out to be a significant problem for anybody I would a) be surprised b) like to know about it. .

Notes   [ + ]

1.OMG Unified Modeling Language™ (OMG UML), v2.5 pdf here.
2.If this type of ambiguity (not some actual threatening movement in long grass somewhere) turns out to be a significant problem for anybody I would a) be surprised b) like to know about it.

Benefit

Definition of Benefit and Disbenefit

Definition Last Updated 17-Dec-2015 12:51

A benefit (disbenefit) is a change in state such that the outcome has greater (lesser) value than the initial state, where improvement (deterioration) is determined by reference to a standard that defines improvement (deterioration), i.e. by the application of rules employing particular criteria.

A benefit (disbenefit) may be an increase in something desirable (undesirable) or a decrease in something undesirable (desirable); if more than one condition applies, there are multiple benefits (disbenefits).

Scope

Benefit and Disbenefit are defined terms of Enterprise Architecture. Benefit and Disbenefit are defined terms of Business Analysis.

Discussion

Article Last Updated 17-Dec-2015 12:51

Delivering benefits in general, and business benefits in particular, is the goal of all directed activity, which therefore requires management to ensure that as much benefit as possible is obtained.

Benefits are important elements in the rationales for action; they provide the connection to value that results in the motivation to do something.

Examples

  • Business Benefit: Reduced operating cost (for fixed output) – a decrease in an undesirable
  • Technical Benefit: Reduced network latency, Lower power consumption
  • Financial Benefit: Reduced operating cost (for comparable output), Increased Return on Investment
  • Personal Benefit: More time to spend with family – an increase in something desirable

Note that in these examples the values that make reduction in cost, power consumption, desirable are implicit: this is usually the case in reality because certain values are known to be shared or the chain of reasoning to a shared value is short.

In the case of “reduced operating cost” for example, there is still room for ambiguity: reduced costs may increase profitability which may increase shareholder value and hence share price at a time when the cost of capital is especially important to a business, or reduced costs might allow the business to reduce the price of its goods or services in order to gain greater market share or improve public perceptions of “value for money”.

For this reason, benefits should be traced to explicit statements of organisational priority and value as far as possible.

Related Entries

Business Analysis

Definition of Business Analysis

Definition Last Updated 17-Dec-2015 12:51

Business Analysis is the art and discipline of framing questions and answering them for the benefit of the business, or…

Business Analysis is the art and discipline of asking and answering the questions

  • who, what, when, where, why, how much and how1And/or whither, whence, to whom, which, etc. which are no doubt also of vital importance under appropriate circumstances; the indefiniteness of the number of interrogatives only serves to emphasise how artificially limited traditional Enterprise Architecture model “views” may be.,

things

  • should (not) have been, could (not) have been, were (not), are (not), could (not) be and should (not) be2Obviously should (not) be etc. also encompass the permissive/prohibitive may (not) be, etc. Exhaustive enumeration is exhausting. 

for the benefit of the business.

Other Definitions

International Institute of Business Analysis

the practice of enabling change in an organizational context, by defining needs and recommending solutions that deliver value to stakeholders.3Defined by International Institute of Business Analysis retrieved 09/04/2013. 

Wikipedia

[the] discipline of identifying business needs and determining solutions to business problems. Solutions often include a systems development component, but may also consist of process improvement, organizational change or strategic planning and policy development.4See Business Analysis retrieved 09/04/2013. 

Scope

Business Analysis is a defined term of Business Analysis.

Discussion

Article Last Updated 17-Dec-2015 12:51

As “the art and discipline of framing questions and answering them for the benefit of the business,” everyone who does not dumbly do only that which they are told to do is a “business analyst”. That having been said, business analysis competences vary widely among the uninitiated and there are distinct domains of specialisation and competences for the professional business analyst.

Insofar as the job of the business analyst is to answer questions for the benefit of the business, unless he or she also has the authority and resources to act upon those answers, she or he must be skilled in communicating the answers to those who can act upon them.

The importance of being able to frame questions well follows from the fact that business analysts are often required to address issues and answer questions expressed in high-level business terms that require careful decomposition before they can be answered in terms of lower level terms, such as entities observables and tags.

Where others’ definitions of business analysis include the development of solutions, the business analyst is answering the question how best to make (beneficial) changes by comparing solutions; business analysts do not usually design solutions themselves, though in the case of identifying inefficiencies in current capability implementations (i.e. the systems that deliver them, e.g. process flows) better solutions may be implicitly identified.

Notes   [ + ]

1.And/or whither, whence, to whom, which, etc. which are no doubt also of vital importance under appropriate circumstances; the indefiniteness of the number of interrogatives only serves to emphasise how artificially limited traditional Enterprise Architecture model “views” may be.
2.Obviously should (not) be etc. also encompass the permissive/prohibitive may (not) be, etc. Exhaustive enumeration is exhausting.
3.Defined by International Institute of Business Analysis retrieved 09/04/2013.
4.See Business Analysis retrieved 09/04/2013.

Business Driver

Definition of Business Driver

Definition Last Updated 17-Dec-2015 12:51

A business driver is a relationship between enterprise or environmental states (attributes and characteristics and their values, in both senses of quantification and worth) and enterprise capabilities expressing a rationale for past, present or future change in enterprise state.

To say that something is a business driver is to say that its value has a significant effect on the strength or breadth of an enterprise’s capabilities collectively1A business driver might imply the need to create a new capability, so it cannot be required to refer to extant capabilities. and is therefore a significant factor in assessing the need for the enterprise to change if it is to fulfil its goals.

Note that even if a change in the environment is ultimately sought (e.g. increasing perceived brand value) it can only be achieved if the enterprise exercises capabilities, which entails changes in the state of the enterprise, such as changes to task priorities, goals, policies, etc.

Relationships

Business Drivers are expressed as relationships of the forms:

[State] is a [business driver] for [entity] because [rationale]

[Rationale] makes [state] a [business driver] for [entity]

[Entity] has [state] as [business driver] because [rationale]

[State] is driven to by [business driver] for [entity] because [rationale]

[Business driver] for [entity] drives [state] to [state] because [rationale]

[State] is driven to [state] by [business driver] because [rationale]

Full specification of a business driver requires the definition of relationships between the enterprise or environmental attributes that affect capabilities, the capabilities affected and a rationale expressed in terms of rules that communicates why and how the business is driven by the effect of the business driver on its capabilities and the benefits they deliver.

Other Definitions

The Financial Times, defines a business driver more concisely (but incorrectly) as,

A descriptive rationale, ideally measurable, used to support a business vision or project to clarify why a change or completely new direction is necessary.2Financial Times Lexicon 

See the main article for the reasons this definition is incorrect.

Scope

Business Driver is a defined term of Enterprise Architecture. Business Driver is a defined term of Business Analysis

Discussion

Article Last Updated 17-Dec-2015 12:51

A business driver is simply something the business needs to attend to in maintaining and developing its strategy. Note that the definition places emphasis on the quantification and worth, thereby providing the rationale of the FT definition.

The FT’s definition,

A descriptive rationale, ideally measurable, used to support a business vision or project to clarify why a change or completely new direction is necessary.3Financial Times Lexicon [http://lexicon.ft.com/Term?term=business-driver], retrieved 25 Sept 2015 

is incorrect because the rationale is the reason for there being a business driver, not the driver itself.

As an example of the usage of business driver, the FT gave the example,

A business driver to improve the e-commerce capability of a website could be to reduce the number of customers who drop out (i.e., leave the checkout) before purchasing a product.4Rachel Cartmail, Head of Business Analysis, Financial Times

What is here described as a business driver is in fact the goal of reducing the number of e-customers who “drop out”; the “E-commerce drop-out rate” (whatever it’s specific value is) is the state, and the correct relationship description of the business driver is,

E-commerce drop-out rate is a business driver for The Business because drop-outs are missed sales and lost profit, and optimising corporate profit is a corporate goal

Notes   [ + ]

1.A business driver might imply the need to create a new capability, so it cannot be required to refer to extant capabilities.
2.Financial Times Lexicon
3.Financial Times Lexicon [http://lexicon.ft.com/Term?term=business-driver], retrieved 25 Sept 2015
4.Rachel Cartmail, Head of Business Analysis, Financial Times

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