Performance

Definition of 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.

Discussion

Article Last Updated 17-Dec-2015 12:51

No discussion yet.

Performer

Definition of 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.

Discussion

Article Last Updated 17-Dec-2015 12:51

The behaviour of the entity must be specified as part of the performance otherwise behavioural side effects of activity during a performance could give the appearance that what is in fact incidental activity is considered essential to the performance.

For example, a thrown ball typically spins, but if its spin is usually irrelevant to moving the ball from A to B, and the ball is passive, i.e. material; if the spin of the ball is relevant (for example in cricket, soccer, baseball, football, snooker, pool, hockey, etc.) then the ball is an active participant, since its failure to spin may might lead the performance to fail insofar as the ball was supposed to spin in some specified way.

Policy

Definition of Policy

Definition Last Updated 17-Dec-2015 12:51

A policy1The 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 prescriptive2Permissive or proscriptive. rules that apply to an organisation, or to members3Where the members may be people or other organisations. of an organisation4Of 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.

Discussion

Article Last Updated 17-Dec-2015 12:51

In addition to specifying the behavioural obligations of members to the organisation, each other or to others, policies may also govern the organisation itself in its relations with other organisations and individuals, in which case (the organisation having no existence other than as constituted by its members) the obligations of the organisation necessarily become obligations on the members.

In addition to the primary obligations set out by policies, in the event that the primary obligations are not fulfilled other obligations are also typically specified. A well-written policy necessarily includes primary obligations, which constitute quality assurance provisions, but should also include:

  • A rationale, providing traceability to higher level policies (including laws etc.), corporate values etc.
  • Quality control provisions stating how compliance or non-compliance is to be determined
  • Provisions for motivating compliance and for managing instances of non-compliance

The development and establishment of policies is an aspect of management generally and governance in particular.

The rules embodied by a policy are not dependent on the validity of the rationale, or the effectiveness of the motivational, management or quality control measures. However, the existence of the rationale ensures that the relevance of a policy is easy to maintain: if higher level policies change, lower level policies should be reviewed lest their rationales cease to be sound.

Notes   [ + ]

1.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.
2.Permissive or proscriptive.
3.Where the members may be people or other organisations.
4.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.

Post

Definition of 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

Discussion

Article Last Updated 17-Dec-2015 12:51

Whereas one person may have many roles, a person usually has only one post i.e. place in the organisational hierarchy. The exceptions to the general rule are typically seen in very senior positions within organisations, where for example the Chief Executive Officer might also be the Chair of the Board. For the purposes of organisational modelling, posts are usually the basis of the hierarchical structure.

Every post is associated with one or more roles: in the case of the one person who “is” the CEO & Chair of the board, one could also say that he or she fulfils the roles of chief executive and chair of the board.

In describing organisational structure, the hierarchy of, or relationships between, posts should be supplemented by clear associations between the posts and the roles, otherwise the rationale for the relationships between the posts may be unclear.

The topic of posts vs. roles is somewhat complicated by the fact that, when a post is largely defined (and possibly named) with respect to a very limited set of roles (sometimes single a single role), it may not always be clear in discussions whether the post or the role is under consideration. For example, “project manager” might be a post with just one role – “project manager”.

Related Entries

Procedure

Definition of 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 glossary1Best Management Practice portfolio glossary, Version 1, October 2012 (may require acceptance of terms) pdf here includes the following alternative definitions2Unfortunately, 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.

Discussion

Article Last Updated 17-Dec-2015 12:51

BMP

A series of steps taken to achieve something.

The BMP generic definition is not easily distinguished from the BMP definition of Process, which is “A structured set of activities designed to accomplish a specific objective.” given that BMP defines activity as “A function, mission, action or collection of actions.”

ITIL

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

The ITIL definition is confuses activity with outcome; the ITIL definition of process does not refer to procedures.

General

A procedure describes what must be done and in what order to achieve a particular outcome, which is therefore the objective of the procedure. Note that unlike process, procedure need not refer to those who are to perform the specified activities.

The “what vs. how” debate is complicated in English because one could ask both “What do I have to do to achieve…” and “How do I achieve…”, expecting the same answer. Nonetheless, “What” should refer to the individual, atomic (i.e. indivisible) steps and “how” should refer to how those steps are organised, sequenced or choreographed. Note that atomicity is not absolute and only applies at the presented level of detail: a procedural step may have internal structure (i.e. be divisible) but if it is not shown or described at some level, it is atomic at that level. “How” doesn’t make sense without steps to refer to and knowing “what” on its own won’t reliably achieve the desired result – this is why the “hat” and “how” questions are effectively the same.

Procedure vs. Process

Section Last Updated 17-Dec-2015 12:51

Compare the following procedure and process for making an omelette.

A procedure outlines a sequence of steps and says what should be done without reference to who performs individual steps; the process introduces the performers, who may be defined in terms of roles or individuals according to context.

This is part of a procedure for making an omelette,

Step 1: Open fridge

Step 2: Collect 1 dozen eggs

Step 3: Collect mixing bowl >=1L capacity

Step 4: Break eggs into bowl

Step 5: Beat eggs…

This is part of the omelette making process that implements the omelette-making procedure in the context of a small non-domestic kitchen with two staff roles, the Cook and the Kitchen Assistant.

Step 1: Kitchen Assistant opens fridge

Step 2: Kitchen Assistant collects 1 dozen eggs

Step 3: Kitchen Assistant collects mixing bowl >=1L capacity

Step 4: Kitchen Assistant gives bowl & eggs to Cook

Step 5: Cook breaks eggs into bowl

Step 6: Cook beats eggs…

Notice that Step 4 in the process is a new step that deals with a change in performer, which can only occur when performers have been specified. A process is therefore necessarily more detailed insofar as it must deal with changes of performer. The orchestration of a process therefore includes management of roles and individuals.

ISO Alignment

Note that according to ISO, process is whatever actually happens and procedure is the documented description of a process. One can ask (in ISO terms) what the process for something is without there necessarily being a procedure for it, but if the question is answered (i.e. other than by pointing at the process in progress) a procedure will have been created (though it may not be formal.)

Summary

  • A procedure is an orchestrated set of activities
  • Every procedural step has an initial state and a final state
  • Every procedural step therefore realises a capability, however small or limited in scope
  • Unlike processes, procedures need not specify who performs the individual activities (who the performers are)

Related Entries

Notes   [ + ]

1.Best Management Practice portfolio glossary, Version 1, October 2012 (may require acceptance of terms) pdf here
2.Unfortunately, the BMP common glossary referenced does not cite specific sources.

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