Glossary Homepage

Terms in Alphabetical Order

This glossary is not intended to be exhaustive or authoritative, it exists solely to provide quick reference to key terms of Enterprise Architecture and Business Analysis as they are used on this website as a complement to the Kumu wherein the ideas and principles are examined and discussed at greater length.

Where the definitions depart from those given by others, the associated full length articles in the Kumu typically compare and contrast and provide rationales for the departures.

All links lead to the kumu.

Action

Definition Last Updated 17-Dec-2015 12:51

An action is a unit of activity for which no internal description is provided, i.e. it is an event (potentially of extended duration), characterised entirely by a specified change in state. Defined thus, in terms of changes of state, an action may be seen as the occurrence of an exercise of a capability; actions may be performed by a performer – but they might also simply be reactions, i.e. an effect arising from a particular cause.

It may be possible, and indeed it usually is, to divide an action into smaller actions; whilst this may appear to convert an action into an activity (given that the description of a thing should be fixed unless it is acted upon), activity is the fundamental concept: an activity may be described as an action only for the actor who is unable to interrupt it.

Scope

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


Activity

Definition Last Updated 17-Dec-2015 12:51

Activity is continuous change in one or more observables during a specified period of time, which, if the activity is current, is open-ended to the future and may be open-ended in the past; an entity engaged in activity has that activity as a behaviour is an performer.

An activity is recognised pattern of change, i.e. a mapping from particular initial states to particular outcomes, which may or may not be goals.

Scope

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


Agreement

Definition Last Updated 17-Dec-2015 12:51

Agreement is the mutual commitment of two or more parties (individual or organisational entities including political states) to adopt specific policies (normative specifications), typically subject to the provisions of implicit or explicit higher-level policies, such as may govern failures to meet the commitments made.

An agreement is a specific policy.

Examples

Contract, treaty, memorandum of understanding.

Note that a law is not an agreement: it is a policy of a state (or supra-national) organisation whose norms apply to its members (citizens or subjects) irrespective of explicit commitment to them.

Scope

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


Analysis Paralysis (Alternate)

Definition Last Updated 17-Dec-2015 12:51

Analysis paralysis is the inability to do something because the analysis supposed to explain what, why, when, how and by whom it is to be done is, apparently, insufficiently complete. It is prima facie evidence of a lack of understanding of the nature of the something to be done, in which case further analysis is recommended.

If, upon further analysis, it appears, contrariwise, that the analytical process is at fault, the process of analysis should be analysed instead.


Architecture Model

Definition Last Updated 17-Dec-2015 12:51

An Architecture Model is a description of one or more entities in terms of other entities (contained components and components of the environment) and their attributes, specifically including innate properties and behaviours as well as the relationships between entities.

A formal architecture model is such a description codified in accordance with an (architecture) standard (which may reference subsidiary standards), such as an architectural Framework or Metamodel.

A formal model should identify the specific standard (by reference to dates and times, version numbers, standard document status, etc. as necessary) so that the compatibility of two or more models is determinable.

Scope

Architecture Model is a defined term of Enterprise Architecture.


Attribute

Definition Last Updated 17-Dec-2015 12:51

An attribute is a state comprising one or more characteristics, i.e. observables1Though not necessarily under all circumstances, it must be observable in principle. or tags, that has been attributed2i.e. given to, from the latin attribuere (to give to) formed by composing ad (to) and tribuere (to give), typically implying intrinsicality or innateness; the appropriate verb for connecting characteristics to places and times in the absence of identified entities would be allocate, ad (to) and locare (to place). to a specific entity (i.e. some thing that has been identified3See the article on Entity for information on the identification of entities.). If the characteristic is named4Here name means a simple designator, such as mass; the characteristic whose name is mass could also be described as, “the intrinsic constant of proportionality between force and acceleration”. In general, anything that designates may be called a name, but some things are more naturally names than others., it may also be referred to as a property.

Behaviours and relationships are also attributes: a state may effectively describe an activity, which, when ascribed to an entity, may be referred to as a behaviour, and tags encode relationships, .

Distinct entities may have attributes bearing the same name: the assignment of characteristics to things is achieved via the specification of observations; this is discussed in detail in the main article.

Relationships

[Attribute] is [state] attributed to [entity]

[State] attributed to [entity] is [attribute]

[Entity] has [state] as [attribute]

Scope

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


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 UML5OMG 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


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.


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 how6And/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) be7Obviously 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.8Defined 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.9See Business Analysis retrieved 09/04/2013. 

Scope

Business Analysis is a defined term of Business Analysis.


Business Analyst

Definition Last Updated 17-Dec-2015 12:51

A business analyst is one who performs Business Analysis.

Scope

Business Analyst is a defined term of Business Analysis.


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 collectively10A 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.11Financial 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


Characteristic

Definition Last Updated 17-Dec-2015 12:51

A characteristic is something that can be said about12Formally, predicated of the content of a particular region – somewhere with defined extent in space – at a particular time. Characteristics are divided into observables, which are intrinsic, and tags which are extrinsic. The noun characteristic is a generalisation, and does not necessarily imply is characteristic of, in the sense of being a distinguishing feature.

The value of a characteristic, quantitative or qualitative, is determined under particular conditions (i.e. of time, place, environment, etc.) by:

  • Observation, or
  • Inference, i.e. calculation or reasoning from the values of one or more other attributes, which may also be considered as the application of standard rules of mathematics and logic, such as Area of Circle = πr2

Scope

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


Competence

Definition Last Updated 17-Dec-2015 12:51

A competence is a capability of a person.

Scope

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


Condition

Definition Last Updated 17-Dec-2015 12:51

A condition is either,

  • A criterion, a comparison element in a rule, or
  • A state, a description of the way things are, either by enumeration of the entities involved and the values of one or more of their fundamental attributes or by simple characterisation of a region under observation.

Scope

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


Constraint

Definition Last Updated 17-Dec-2015 12:51

A constraint is a criterion associated with a rule that places limits of one of two types on the value of an associated characteristic (observable or tag); the nature of the enclosing rule determines whether the constraint is normative or declarative as follows:

  • normative, i.e. the rule contains a word or phrase13And sometimes people say cannot when they mean may not, which is not the end of the world except when they say they cannot do something they obviously should be able to do as though being asked to break a fundamental law of physics rather than apply a quantum of common sense. If, for them, the rule is fundamental, it probably would be the end of their world if they broke it. Which is sad. such as “shall” or “must not” to say, typically, what conditions can (not), must (not) or should (not) obtain, happen or be done when the criterion is satisfied (true), or
  • declarative, or descriptive, i.e. the rule simply states the fact that a certain characteristic cannot or does not have particular values

Constraint is therefore a secondary concept; criteria are fundamental.

For examples, see the main article.

Scope

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


Contract

Definition Last Updated 17-Dec-2015 12:51

A contract is a kind of agreement (i.e. the mutual commitment of two or more parties) to adopt specific policies, whose form is in accordance with other policies (including laws) that typically govern the enforceability of commitments, recourse for non-compliance (breach of contract), processes for the resolution of disputes, etc., and the mutual commitments entered into typically include financial remuneration to one party for providing goods or services to another.

Scope

Contract is a defined term of Enterprise Architecture. Contract is a defined term of Business Analysis. Contract is a defined term of Management.


Criterion

Definition Last Updated 17-Dec-2015 12:51

A criterion is a premise in a rule, i.e. a logically connected set of relationships between the values of certaincharacteristics and given reference values for those properties.

Examples

In the rule “If Battery Voltage < 11V, then the battery is flat", "Battery Voltage <11V" is the criterion, and Battery Voltage is a placeholder for a value of the property named “Battery Voltage”. When the battery voltage has been measured, application of the rule determines whether or not the battery was flat14Strictly speaking, application of the rule implicitly states that the battery is (or is not) flat at time t without reference to whether t is now or some time in the past, thus obviating discussion about the shift from is in the definition to was in its application. at the time of measurement.

In the rule “If (animal-in-the-window is doggy AND animal-in-the-window has waggly tail) THEN animal-in-the-window IS cute,” there are two criteria (“is doggy” and “has waggly tail”) logically connected by “and”.

Scope

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


Database

Definition Last Updated 17-Dec-2015 12:51

A database is a set of structures or patterns according to which multiple instances of defined types of information (including database rules) are or may be organised (i.e. physically arranged in accordance with a specification) in such a way that subsets of data satisfying particular criteria (which may themselves be stored within the database or supplied dynamically) may be retrieved and re-organised for further processing.

A database application is part of a system for manipulating (creating, reading, updating, deleting, etc.) databases.

Scope

Database is a defined term of Enterprise Architecture. Database is a defined term of Business Analysis. Database is a defined term of Information Technology.


Description

Definition Last Updated 17-Dec-2015 12:51

A description is a set of one or more criteria referencing the values of named characteristics; descriptions are independent of describable things or stuff.

A description comprising a single criterion is either a true or a false description of a particular thing accordingly as that thing satisfies that criterion or does not.

A single description comprising multiple criteria describes something to an extent determined by rules for the combination of the results from the application of individual criteria.

Descriptions determine the identification and characterisation of entities through the characterisation of observables, which by association with an identified entity may become attributes of that entity, i.e. its properties, relationships and behaviours.

Description is contrasted with specification, which is a set of one or more prescriptive rules, i.e. a set of instructions for making something that conforms to a description or for defining something.

Something is said to satisfy a specification to the extent that it satisfies the criteria given by the specification, i.e. the extent to which an accurate description of the thing matches the description desired for it.

Scope

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


Disruptive Technology

Definition Last Updated 08-Feb-2016 11:04

A disruptive technology is a novel capability15Originally described as a novel package in Disruptive Technologies – Catching the Wave (paywall) by Joseph Bower and Clayton Christensen in the Harvard Business Review. Note that a novel package does not necessarily imply fundamental technological novelty such as the use of graphen instead of silicon for transistors., offered by a business which does not – at the time of initial offering – compete directly in already well-defined business sectors or against specific established businesses, that is recognised16Typically through comparative assessment of performance trajectories as having the potential to achieve (or having already achieved), through subsequent sustaining innovation and general business activity17Sales, marketing, achievement of economies of scale, etc., a reshaping of the competitive landscape such that a significant fraction of the customer base of established businesses comes within its reach and incumbents are placed at a significant disadvantage by virtue of the novelty of the offering (and the attractiveness of its value proposition), which they cannot quickly or easily match. Disruptive technologies (or innovations) may be considered existential threats to established businesses.

Disruptive Technology or Disruptive Innovation is contrasted with Sustaining Innovation, which aims to deliver evolutionary and incremental improvements in value propositions to customers, and is driven by strong understanding of the past and the future needs of existing customers – as perceived by either the business or the customers themselves, or both.

Defined by a List of Criteria

A disruptive technology

  • is a novel capability (not necessarily including any fundamentally new technology)
  • offered by a business which does not – at the time of initial offering – compete directly in already well-defined business sectors or against specific established businesses
  • that has reshaped, or has the potential to reshape, the competitive landscape
  • through subsequent sustaining innovation (and other business activity)
  • such that a significant fraction of the customer base of established business comes within its reach
  • placing incumbents at a significant competitive disadvantage by virtue of the novelty of the offering (and the attractiveness of its value proposition)
  • which the incumbents cannot quickly or easily match
  • and which therefore presents an existential threat to established businesses

Scope

Disruptive technology is a defined term of Business Analysis. Disruptive technology is a defined term of Strategic Analysis.


Enterprise Architecture

Definition Last Updated 08-Feb-2016 11:04

Concise

The mission of Enterprise Architecture is to deliver organisational insights and establish governance that facilitate safe, efficient and beneficial enterprise transformations.

Note that whilst this definition might seem overly broad, it is in fact strictly true; for details see the main article.

Full

Enterprise Architecture is the practice whose continuous processes18Hence mission in the concise definition., governance and coherent descriptions of organisational structures (expressed in terms of the enterprise’s component entities and the relationships between them, i.e. architecture descriptions and architecture models etc.) – inform the specification of the enterprise transformations sought in response to changing internal or external circumstances, and facilitate their safe, efficient and beneficially managed execution.

Here safe means not exposed to unmanageable risk, rather than not exposed to (any) risk. Unmanageable is used here rather than unacceptable because EA should provide information that helps provide insight into the nature of risk (including likelihood and impact) and it is explicitly not the role of EA to determine whether a risk is acceptable or unacceptable: that is a business decision.

Scope

Enterprise Architecture is a defined term of Enterprise Architecture.


Entity

Definition Last Updated 17-Dec-2015 12:51

Physical Entity

A physical entity is something deemed to exist and to be identified as a thing by virtue of satisfying a particular specification embodying a description19i.e. a set of observables satisfying given criteria. over an extended spatio-temporal region that, to the limits of the methods of observation, has a closed, orientable boundary20See the technical note on physical extent in the main article.. (See the main article for discussion of the boundary condition.))

The extent of an entity is usually determined by surfaces marking sharp transitions in the values , where the definition of sharpness depends on the precision, resolution, etc. of the observations. The requirement that the bounding surfaces be closed and orientable is what makes entities countable21Thereby justifying the use of the plural..

Entity is synonymous with thing and object but distinguished from stuff. The sea is a thing; sand is stuff. Entities may have parts, i.e. comprise other distinguishable entities; to the limits of the particular observation, stuff does not have parts22October 29, 2015: some stuff, such as sand, might constitute a non-physical entity; I’m not sure yet..

Examples of physical entities include: a (specific) dog, chair, house, personnel record, CPU, magnetic field, etc.

Non-Physical Entity

A non-physical entity23October 29, 2015: the basis for describing non-physical entities is a recent addition to this entry and neither the approach nor the implementation may be as well worked-out as others; the idea that relationships might be non-physical entities seems necessary but may have untoward complications. Feedback is invited via Twitteror the contact page. is something deemed to exist and to be identified as a thing by virtue of the existence of a set of physical entities (i.e. more than one) whose elements’ relationships satisfy a particular specification that describes the elements as having

  • certain relationships in common, or
  • certain relationships between other relationships.

The set of physical entities that satisfy the specification comprise the non-physical entity, i.e. the elements of the set are variously members or parts of the non-physical entity so described.

Note that, thus defined, relationships are also non-physical entities.

Examples of non-physical entities include: a business or enterprise, school of thought, a terrorist cell,

Scope

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


Event

Definition Last Updated 17-Dec-2015 12:51

An event is a change in the state of something, i.e. a change in characteristics occurring somewhere during some interval of time and indirectly including activities and relationships; the occurrence of an event may be observed or inferred from its natural consequences. An event is indivisible only at a particular level of description: an event may therefore comprise lower level events24The incandescent light came on being describable as electricity began to flow through the filament, the filament began to heat up, the filament began to emit visible light, the filament grew brighter and hotter until a steady state was reached..

According to the current UML specification25OMG Unified Modeling Language™ (OMG UML), v2.5 pdf here., an event is

something that may occur at a specific instant in time

Scope

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


Expectation Management

Definition Last Updated 17-Dec-2015 12:51

Expectation Management is a disorder of corporate management manifesting as belated communication about some problem in the – usually forlorn – hope of avoiding an even bigger problem; the biggest problem being that tardy communication is not even recognised by management as a problem in the first place.

Expectation Management is “necessitated” by the inability or unwillingness (or both) of a group to communicate with its stakeholders in an honest, transparent and timely fashion, for one or more of the following reasons:

  • Management doesn’t know what it is doing, so has nothing to communicate
  • Management knows what it’s doing but doesn’t know what matters to the stakeholders, so doesn’t bother to communicate
  • Management does know what it is doing and does know what matters to the stakeholders, but doesn’t care about them enough to be bothered to communicate
  • Management knows what it is doing, knows what matters to the stakeholders, cares passionately about them but refuses to communicate with them because it cares more for itself and knows full well that the stakeholders would be upset with it if it did communicate with them honestly, transparently and in a timely fashion
  • Contrary to naïve expectations, management sincerely believed that honest, effective and timely communication was not in fact in the stakeholders’ best, long-term interests, and the fact that some benefit might have accrued to management by not communicating as it should is entirely incidental and irrelevant

Withholding information may be predicated on the belief that knowledge is power, that all-round ignorance is bliss, or that in the dark, since you can’t see the monster, the monster can’t see you. In management meetings, no one will hear you scream.

Scope

Expectation Management is a term of contumely for and of those who practice it.


Goal

Definition Last Updated 17-Dec-2015 12:51

A goal is an outcome that has intrinsic value, such as “business value”, to a specific individual who intends that outcome to be achieved, i.e. a performer; goal contrasts with objective, which has no intrinsic value and is desirable only insofar as it contributes to achieving one or more goals. A goal of one performer may be an objective to another.

Relationships

Goals (and objectives) are expressed as relationships of the forms:

[Outcome] is a [goal] for [performer] because [rationale]

[Rationale] makes [outcome] a [goal] for [performer]

[Performer] has [outcome] as [goal] because [rationale]

Scope

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


Governance

Definition Last Updated 17-Dec-2015 12:51

Governance is the management of management, particularly by the establishment policies to constrain the exercise of capabilities, i.e. the behaviours of managed entities.

Corporate governance typically includes specific consideration of ethical norms, with particular reference to legal and regulatory environments.

Scope

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


Law

Definition Last Updated 17-Dec-2015 12:51

A law is a policy of a (political) body, typically a nation or supra-national entity, i.e. a set of positive and negative normative rules, a specification of permitted and proscribed behaviours.

Law is distinguished from agreement by the absence of volition in acceptance: law has no “opt-out”.

Scope

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


Management

Definition Last Updated 17-Dec-2015 12:51

Management is the task of continually monitoring, complying with, developing and updating specifications that direct and constrain activity aimed at achieving specific objectives.

Management tracks the achievement of targets and does what it can within the constraints of governance to maximise the likelihood that they will be achieved.

Scope

Management is a defined term of Management. Management is a defined term of Business Analysis.


Mission

Definition Last Updated 17-Dec-2015 12:51

A mission is a behaviour intended to achieve a specified goal which does not terminate on achievement of that goal, since it is recognised that the benefits delivered by achieving the goal may be lost or diminished should the activity cease.

Note that as a behaviour, a mission is an attribute of a performer for whom the performance may be an outcome or goal.

Relationships

Mission is expressed as relationships of the forms:

[Mission] is an [activity] for achieving goal

[Performer] has [mission] as [goal] (or [objective])

[Goal] requires [mission] because [rationale]

Scope

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


Objective

Definition Last Updated 17-Dec-2015 12:51

An objective is a necessary26Whether or not it is strictly necessary, it is sufficient that it is considered to be. intermediate state, i.e. an outcome along a specific path towards a target state. Other than contributing to the achievement of the target state, the intrinsic value of an objective is unspecified27It could be positive, zero or even negative: complete disassembly of a working car for restoration may be disadvantageous in the short term to the extent that it is cannot be driven while it is disassembled, the parts take up more precious room than the assembled car did, etc., however if an outcome has a positive value other than as an objective (e.g. delivers significant “business value” in its own right) to someone, that outcome may also be a goal for them.

Relationships

Objectives (and goals) are expressed as relationships of the forms:

[Outcome] is [objective] for [performer] because [rationale]

[Performer] has [outcome] as [objective] because [rationale]

[Rationale] makes [outcome] an [objective] for [performer]

Scope

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


Observable

Definition Last Updated 17-Dec-2015 12:51

An observable is that which determines the outcome of an observation, and is thus a kind of characteristic, i.e. something that can be said about28Formally, predicated of. the content of a particular region at a particular time.

Whereas tags (the only other kind of characteristic) are characteristics predicated on the identification of an entity, observables are intrinsic characteristics such as length or mass, whose values are independent of any entity identification.

The value of an observable is determined by inference from the quantitative or qualitative difference between the outcomes arising from observing and not observing.

Etymology & Derivation

According to Larousse29Specifically The Chambers Dictionary. Copyright (c) 1994 (c) Larousse plc., the relevant aspects of to observe are

to keep in view; to watch; to subject to systematic watching; to regard attentively; to watch critically and attentively in order to ascertain a fact; to ascertain by such watching; to notice; to pay attention to; to remark in words, to comment;

Scope

Observable is a defined term of Enterprise Architecture. Observable is a defined term of Business Analysis. Observable is a defined term of Quantum Mechanics.


Observation

Definition Last Updated 17-Dec-2015 12:51

Observation is an activity intended to determine the value of an observable.

An observation is, according to context, either
  • A specific instance of an observing activity, or
  • The result of the observing activity, i.e. the specific value30Or range encompassing the value, or probability distribution for the value, or… given that any observation is necessarily subject to uncertainty, whether arising from limitations or defects known or unknown in the observing apparatus or method. of an observable at the time and place of observation

Measurement is the observation of a quantifiable observable.

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


Orchestration

Definition Last Updated 17-Dec-2015 12:51

Orchestration is the management of two or more independent activities (typically attributed to entities as behaviours) to achieve a desired outcome, typically while also satisfying specified constraints, fixed or dynamic.

Scope

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


Outcome

Definition Last Updated 17-Dec-2015 12:51

An outcome is the state that obtains following the completion of an action or the passage of an interval of time (during which some activity occurs), which may be expressed as either a description of the final state in absolute terms or as the initial state plus the changes that are caused by the action or activity.

The end state of a capability, process, process step, etc. is always an outcome of that capability, process, etc.

An outcome is the end state of an event.

Relationships

Outcomes are expressed as relationships of the form:

[Outcome] is a [state] following an [action]

Noting that action is the transformation of one state to another, outcome may be any state causally connected to the final state of the action, as well as the final state itself.

Scope

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


Performance

Definition Last Updated 17-Dec-2015 12:51

A performance is an activity or behaviour specifically intended to achieve a particular outcome, whether as an objective or a goal. Peformance generalises all intentional transformations; a performance therefore aims to realise capabilities, Functions, Processes, Services, etc.

Any entity that performs a particular behaviour as a necessary part of a given performance is a performer; the behaviour may be voluntary or involuntary.

Anything not a performer (entity or stuff) in a performance is materiel.

Scope

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


Performer

Definition Last Updated 17-Dec-2015 12:51

A performer is an entity (piece of stuff) that performs a particular behaviour (activity) as a specified part of a given performance; the behaviour may be voluntary or involuntary.

Relationships

Performer is expressed as relationships of the forms:

[Performer] is [entity] whose [behaviour] is a specified part of [performance]

[Performer] is piece of [stuff] whose [activity] is a specified part of [performance]

[Entity] whose [behaviour] is a specified part of [performance] is [performer] in [performance]

Performer is synonymous with actor, agent, etc.; it is preferred here for its association with the concept of performance.

Scope

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


Policy

Definition Last Updated 17-Dec-2015 12:51

A policy31The etymology of policy is intimately associated with an archaic meaning of the term police as a set of rules for the preservation of order and enforcement of law (ultimately from the Greek polis, a city), leading to the (obsolete) use of policy as a (political) constitution; hence policy as guidance on what constitutes good conduct in an organisation. establishes the limits of acceptable organisational behaviour; it is kind of specification for the quality assurance of behaviour, a set of prescriptive32Permissive or proscriptive. rules that apply to an organisation, or to members33Where the members may be people or other organisations. of an organisation34Of any scale, from one person with specific accoutrements for a recognised purpose, e.g. a self-employed plumber as a “one person plumbing organisation”, through clubs, associations, committees, businesses, councils, assemblies, parliaments, congresses, states etc. to supra-national entities such as the United Nations. by virtue of their membership.

Not all rules necessarily apply to everyone all the time; the applicability of individual rules is determined by the criteria they embody.

Examples

A sexual non-discrimination policy may state as a primary obligation on all members of an organisation that they are not to prefer or disadvantage another by virtue of the other’s biological, perceived or self-perceived sexual identity – together with secondary obligations to investigate fairly allegations of discrimination in violation of the policy and take appropriate corrective or mitigating actions including discipline, education, provision of support, etc. as appropriate.

A law is a policy of a state or supra-national body.

Scope

Policy is a defined term of Enterprise Architecture. Policy is a defined term of Business Analysis. Policy is a defined term of Management.


Post

Definition Last Updated 17-Dec-2015 12:51

A post is a reference to the set of relationships and roles that define an individual’s place in an organisation.

Scope

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


Procedure

Definition Last Updated 17-Dec-2015 12:51

A procedure is specification for the performance and orchestration of activities to achieve a particular objective from a specified initial state, at least one of which activities is not assigned to an entity (i.e. is not a behaviour of a performer); a procedure need not refer to any performers.

Compare with process in which no activity is unassigned.

Whether an orchestration describes a procedure or process is therefore determined by the rule, If every activity in an orchestration is assigned to a performer, the orchestration is a process, otherwise it is a procedure.

Application of the process-procedure distinction allows processes to be audited for completeness.

Other Definitions

See the main Procedure article for commentary on the strengths and weaknesses of some of these alternative definitions.

The Best Management Practice portfolio glossary35Best Management Practice portfolio glossary, Version 1, October 2012 (may require acceptance of terms) pdf here includes the following alternative definitions36Unfortunately, the BMP common glossary referenced does not cite specific sources..

Generic: A series of steps taken to achieve something.

ITIL: A document containing steps that specify how to achieve an activity. Procedures are defined as part of processes.

PPM: A series of actions for a particular aspect of project management established specifically for the project – for example, a risk management procedure.

Scope

Procedure is a defined term of Enterprise Architecture. Procedure is a defined term of Business Architecture.


Process

Definition Last Updated 17-Dec-2015 12:51

A process is a complete set of instructions for the orchestration of behaviours (i.e. activities carried out by specified entities), intended to achieve a particular outcome from a specified initial state, where complete means that all necessary activities are performed by specified performers (i.e. no activity is unallocated a performer).

Compare with procedure in which at least one activity is not assigned.

Whether an orchestration describes a process or a procedure is therefore determined by the rule, If all activities in an orchestration are assigned to performes, the orchestration is a process, otherwise it is a procedure.

Application of the process-procedure distinction allows processes to be audited for completeness.

Other Definitions

See the main Process article for commentary on the strengths and weaknesses of some of these alternative definitions.

The Best Management Practice portfolio glossary37Best Management Practice portfolio glossary, Version 1, October 2012 (may require acceptance of terms) pdf here includes the following alternative definitions38Unfortunately, the BMP common glossary referenced does not cite specific sources..

Generic: A structured set of activities designed to accomplish a specific objective.

ITIL: A structured set of activities designed to accomplish a specific objective. A process takes one or more defined inputs and turns them into defined outputs. It may include any of the roles, responsibilities, tools and management controls required to reliably deliver the outputs. A process may define policies, standards, guidelines, activities and work instructions if they are needed.

PPM: A structured set of activities designed to accomplish a specific objective. A process takes one or more defined inputs and turns them into defined outputs.

ISO has its own definition:

[a] set of interrelated or interacting activities which transforms inputs into outputs.39ISO 9000:2000, Quality management Systems – Fundamentals and Vocabulary. I cannot find an accessible version of this standard online, but, believing that access to standards is “of particular interest to the public” (I would have said, “in the public interest”), the government of India has made its Indian Standard identical to ISO 9000:2005 and placed it online pdf here. The definition of process is identical.

Scope

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


Project

Definition Last Updated 17-Dec-2015 12:51

A project is the specification for, or realisation of, a specification for the delivery of a specific business change, i.e. a description of or performance of a capability.

Scope

Project is a defined term of Enterprise Architecture. Project is a defined term of Business Analysis. Project is a defined term of Management.


Property

Definition Last Updated 17-Dec-2015 12:51

A property is a named attribute, as opposed to an attribute identified by description. Being a property is therefore a contingent fact about an attribute, i.e. it is created by allocating a name to a quality that is attributed or attributable to particular entities.

In speaking of a specific property (meaning a specific characteristic) of a particular thing there is no ambiguity between property and attribute because the quality has necessarily been attributed to that thing; under such circumstances, property and attribute may be used interchangeably.

See also attribute.

Scope

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


Rationale

Definition Last Updated 17-Dec-2015 12:51

A rationale is an argument for or against something, which may be engaging in an activity or being in a particular state; a rationale is therefore a kind of rule.

Rationales necessarily include valuations because to argue for or against something is to say that it is absolutely good or bad, or relatively better or worse than something else.

Rationales should be sound arguments, i.e. arguments that apply valid reasoning to true premises.

Scope

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


Relationship

Definition Last Updated 17-Dec-2015 12:51

A relationship is a correspondence between sets of attributes of entities, either two or more sets belonging to a single entity or sets belonging to multiple entities, such that, according to the application of a rule the value of one set of attributes determines the values of others.

A relationship is not a direct correspondence between entities, even though diagrammatic representations of relationships might suggest this, nor is it a contingent relation between attribute values, i.e. a relation, such as “>” in “A > B”

Relationships typically express linguistic and logical truths such as, “If A is the father of B, then B is a child of A.”

Scope

Relationship is a defined term of Enterprise Architecture. Relationships is a defined term of Business Analysis.


Role

Definition Last Updated 17-Dec-2015 12:51

A role is a named collection of one or more competences or capabilities or, i.e. a specification of what someone or something does or should do.

Scope

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


Rule

Definition Last Updated 17-Dec-2015 12:51

A rule determines one state from another according to the results of applying particular criteria to the values of specified characteristics. Because capability is the fundamental type describing the evolution of states, a rule may be seen as an essential part of the description or specification of a capability; rules can have no effect without systems to give effect to them, i.e. to realise the capabilities they describe.

Scope

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


Service

Definition Last Updated 17-Dec-2015 12:51

A service is a capability exercised by a performer at the request of another entity; it is usually assumed that the requesting entity is a direct beneficiary of the service performance but it is not necessarily the case. Service contrasts with function in that a function is the exercise of a capability at the performer’s own volition or that of the entity of which the performer is a part, thus a request by one department to another to do X may count as an inter-departmental service from the perspective of the departments and a business function from the perspective of the business as a whole.

The definition of service as a relationship avoids all such conflicts:

Since a service cannot be requested unless the would-be requester knows where to obtain performance of the underlying capability, capabilities offered for performance on behalf of others must be advertised and it is shorter and easier to offer “Service X” than “to do X on your behalf”.

It is not the case that all services are always available to all, thus at the highest level of abstraction a service is defined in terms of descriptions of qualifying entities and

Service level derives directly from measures of the performer’s capability strength and breadth.

Service contracts provide specific details of capabilities offered (include measures of success) and conditions of eligibility for requesters

Relationships

Services are expressed as relationships of the form:

[Service] is the performance by [performer] of [capability] requested by [entity] ≠ [performer]

[Performer] offers performance of [capability] as [service] to (qualifying) [entity] ≠ [performer]

Scope

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


Specification

Definition Last Updated 17-Dec-2015 12:51

A specification is a set of prescriptive rules40i.e. instructions for the assignment of values to attributesproperties, relationships and behaviours., which, if not defining something, typically expresses the simple idea that something matching the implied description is, in some appropriate way, good, praiseworthy, acceptable, etc. – even if rules express a negative (deprecation, prohibition, etc.): what matters is not what is done or not done, but whether the doing or omission was prescribed.

In practice, specifications are full of normative words and phrases (shall, shall not, should, should not, etc.) indirectly expressing the goodness etc. of particular values of specific characteristics or combinations thereof.

Permissive words and phrases, such as may, may not¸ typically express conditional normatives, particularly in the negative, e.g. “The noise of the engine may not exceed 120dBA unless the aircraft’s altitude is greater than 10,000m” which means “Engine noise shall be less than or equal to 120dbA at altitudes less than or equal to 10,000.”

Sometimes, however, permissives such as may indicate a free choice normatively associated with something else, e.g. “The colour of the body may be any colour, but if it is not black the advantages of the chosen non-black colour should be clearly stated.”

Scope

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


Stakeholder

Definition Last Updated 17-Dec-2015 12:51

A stakeholder in an activity is an individual or group entity who might receive some benefit or disbenefit from the outcomes of some activity (characterised by both direct and indirect effects) whose interests the performers of that activity should consider by virtue of some policy, i.e. someone with a stake or interest in that activity whose stake in it must be considered.

Stakeholders in an enterprise are considered to be stakeholders in all activities (i.e. behaviours) of that enterprise.

Relationships

Stakeholders are expressed as relationships of the form:

(Simple) [entity] is a [stakeholder] in [activity ] because [rationale]

(Full) [entity] is a [stakeholder] in [activity ] because [rule] gives [benefit] to [entity] from [activity] [outcome] and [policy] requires [activity] [performers] to consider [activity] [benefit] to [entity]

Scope

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


Standard

Definition Last Updated 17-Dec-2015 12:51

A standard is a kind of policy, typically for definition, identification or valuation. As a policy, a standard embodies normative elements in rules associating descriptive criteria and outcomes.

Scope

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


State

Definition Last Updated 17-Dec-2015 12:51

A state is a description comprising the specified values of characteristics and the relationships and attributes (including behaviours) of enumerated entities at a particular place and time.

Scope

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


Stuff

Definition Last Updated 17-Dec-2015 12:51

Stuff is that which is deemed to exist and be identified by virtue of the satisfaction of a particular description41i.e. a set of observables satisfying given criteria. over an extended spatio-temporal region but does not, to the precision, resolution, etc. of the observations, comprise one or more distinct, identifiable entities.

Stuff is quantifiable but not countable.

Examples of stuff include: sand, money, electric current.

Scope

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


System

Definition Last Updated 17-Dec-2015 12:51

A system is a collection of physical entities, which may be individually referred to as resources or components of the system, having specific attributes (including both physical characteristics and behaviours) that, working together in a defined context, deliver a specific set of capabilities.

The name of a system is a reference to the complete working set of components. Membership of a system is non-exclusive: a resource or component may belong to more than one system simultaneously.

The physicality of systems does not exclude software, applications etc.; these are included as behaviours of systems arising from compliance with behavioural specifications, i.e. code, applications etc. do not have independent functional existence.

Scope

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


Tag

Definition Last Updated 2015-10-28 14:39

A tag is a kind of characteristic, i.e. something that can be said about42Formally, predicated of the content of a particular region at a particular time; tags differ from observables (the only other kind of characteristic) in that, whereas observables are intrinsic characteristics such as length or mass, tags are independent, extrinsic characteristics such as identity that are typically attributed to an entity once it has been identified,.

Being about something, a tag and its value constitute metadata.

Relationships are defined by attributing tags.

Scope

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


Technology

Definition Last Updated 17-Dec-2015 12:51

Technology is type of capability43See also Merriam-Webster’s definition of Technology.; whether a technology is hypothetical (e.g. antigravity) or real (e.g. smartphone) depends upon whether a system realising that capability exists.

Traditional definitions define technology in terms of the application of scientific knowledge or the equipment and machinery developed by applying of scientific knowledge to the achievement of specific ends.

Scope

Technology is a defined term of Enterprise Architecture. Technology is a defined term of Business Analysis. Technology is a defined term of Information Technology.


Value

Definition Last Updated 17-Dec-2015 12:51

Relevant meanings of value include:

  • A value, an answer to a question concerning a characteristic or attribute of an entity of the kind “What is the [attribute name] of [entity name]?” such as, “What is the Colour of Snow?”, where “What is the [attribute name]…” means “What value does [attribute name] currently have?”
  • The value as the worth of something: an assessment of something’s price or desirability according to a particular rule;
  • To value something, to ascertain its value or to state that its value ranks high (directly or indirectly according to a rule)

A value is not limited to being a single thing, number or otherwise; values may also be ranges (as limits or distributions) or more general objects such as sets.

Scope

Value is a defined term of Enterprise Architecture. Value is a defined term of Business Architecture.

Notes   [ + ]

1.Though not necessarily under all circumstances, it must be observable in principle.
2.i.e. given to, from the latin attribuere (to give to) formed by composing ad (to) and tribuere (to give), typically implying intrinsicality or innateness; the appropriate verb for connecting characteristics to places and times in the absence of identified entities would be allocate, ad (to) and locare (to place).
3.See the article on Entity for information on the identification of entities.
4.Here name means a simple designator, such as mass; the characteristic whose name is mass could also be described as, “the intrinsic constant of proportionality between force and acceleration”. In general, anything that designates may be called a name, but some things are more naturally names than others.
5, 25.OMG Unified Modeling Language™ (OMG UML), v2.5 pdf here.
6.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.
7.Obviously should (not) be etc. also encompass the permissive/prohibitive may (not) be, etc. Exhaustive enumeration is exhausting.
8.Defined by International Institute of Business Analysis retrieved 09/04/2013.
9.See Business Analysis retrieved 09/04/2013.
10.A business driver might imply the need to create a new capability, so it cannot be required to refer to extant capabilities.
11.Financial Times Lexicon
12, 42.Formally, predicated of
13.And sometimes people say cannot when they mean may not, which is not the end of the world except when they say they cannot do something they obviously should be able to do as though being asked to break a fundamental law of physics rather than apply a quantum of common sense. If, for them, the rule is fundamental, it probably would be the end of their world if they broke it. Which is sad.
14.Strictly speaking, application of the rule implicitly states that the battery is (or is not) flat at time t without reference to whether t is now or some time in the past, thus obviating discussion about the shift from is in the definition to was in its application.
15.Originally described as a novel package in Disruptive Technologies – Catching the Wave (paywall) by Joseph Bower and Clayton Christensen in the Harvard Business Review. Note that a novel package does not necessarily imply fundamental technological novelty such as the use of graphen instead of silicon for transistors.
16.Typically through comparative assessment of performance trajectories
17.Sales, marketing, achievement of economies of scale, etc.
18.Hence mission in the concise definition.
19, 41.i.e. a set of observables satisfying given criteria.
20.See the technical note on physical extent in the main article.
21.Thereby justifying the use of the plural.
22.October 29, 2015: some stuff, such as sand, might constitute a non-physical entity; I’m not sure yet.
23.October 29, 2015: the basis for describing non-physical entities is a recent addition to this entry and neither the approach nor the implementation may be as well worked-out as others; the idea that relationships might be non-physical entities seems necessary but may have untoward complications. Feedback is invited via Twitteror the contact page.
24.The incandescent light came on being describable as electricity began to flow through the filament, the filament began to heat up, the filament began to emit visible light, the filament grew brighter and hotter until a steady state was reached.
26.Whether or not it is strictly necessary, it is sufficient that it is considered to be.
27.It could be positive, zero or even negative: complete disassembly of a working car for restoration may be disadvantageous in the short term to the extent that it is cannot be driven while it is disassembled, the parts take up more precious room than the assembled car did, etc.
28.Formally, predicated of.
29.Specifically The Chambers Dictionary. Copyright (c) 1994 (c) Larousse plc.
30.Or range encompassing the value, or probability distribution for the value, or… given that any observation is necessarily subject to uncertainty, whether arising from limitations or defects known or unknown in the observing apparatus or method.
31.The etymology of policy is intimately associated with an archaic meaning of the term police as a set of rules for the preservation of order and enforcement of law (ultimately from the Greek polis, a city), leading to the (obsolete) use of policy as a (political) constitution; hence policy as guidance on what constitutes good conduct in an organisation.
32.Permissive or proscriptive.
33.Where the members may be people or other organisations.
34.Of any scale, from one person with specific accoutrements for a recognised purpose, e.g. a self-employed plumber as a “one person plumbing organisation”, through clubs, associations, committees, businesses, councils, assemblies, parliaments, congresses, states etc. to supra-national entities such as the United Nations.
35, 37.Best Management Practice portfolio glossary, Version 1, October 2012 (may require acceptance of terms) pdf here
36, 38.Unfortunately, the BMP common glossary referenced does not cite specific sources.
39.ISO 9000:2000, Quality management Systems – Fundamentals and Vocabulary. I cannot find an accessible version of this standard online, but, believing that access to standards is “of particular interest to the public” (I would have said, “in the public interest”), the government of India has made its Indian Standard identical to ISO 9000:2005 and placed it online pdf here. The definition of process is identical.
40.i.e. instructions for the assignment of values to attributesproperties, relationships and behaviours.
43.See also Merriam-Webster’s definition of Technology.

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