What are some patterns or anti-patterns where architecture and governance can help

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Architecture programs can be help to organizations – but for many different reasons. In same breath, by not identifying the needs for doing architecture, an architecture program can address problems that do not exist or leaders or team do not care about, and can become a waste of money or relegated to a compliance exercise.

At Xentity, we believe instituting architecture, governance or design guidance needs to address patterns, anti-patterns that create portfolio, solution and analysis management strategies that help deal with disruptions, investment in innovation, and shrinking budgets while improving services and aligning suppliers and partners.

Below are some example external pressure trends, common impact or anti-pattern trends cutting across cultural, business, and technology aspects of programs

  • Resistance to Change Planning: Intellectual approaches without balancing emotional or maturity context, not engaging leaders motives, pain, not seed-planting
  • Paving Cow Paths:  Automating management problems, function over form, not questioning assumptions, not looking at new (HR, IT, $) resource enablement patterns
  • Geek Speak Execs don’t get it, and its not their fault
  • Poor Modernization Blueprints: Mile-High, Inch-Deep, without proving pieces at time to gain momentum
  • Islands of Automation: aka Center of Universe – disparate sites, systems, apps, instead of services in user environment
  • Redundant Buying: Buying same item many times, no architecture  guidance to scale or change patterns

  • Program Management: Few delivered on time, on budget, on scope, on quality. Sponsorship lacking, not insuring/governing/buying risk, still not agile PM

  • Bad Data: Building GIGO Business Intelligence. Asking the wrong question of data which in turn leads to data collection failures.
  • Poor Cyber Security: IT security seen as lagging  IT cost, instead of asset-risk management issue
  • Too Much Change: Executives and Consultants promote constant flux, instead of unfreezing, adding change, and institutionalize new efforts and concepts
  • Problem seems insurmountable: Too large, complex leading to reversion to waterfall project planning techniques. The window for 2 years to test to new overhauling policies are gone. Business agility requires negotiation between business for prioritizing and agile project rollout.
  • Vision/Thought Leadership left to higher-ups only:  Challenging to staff to truly envision a change or target state not part of their incentive, even though best tactical ideas to enhance/meet strategy usually comes from within. Thinking gets bound up in current operational mire.
  • Revolving Door: Working to satisfy the management of today for organization political or self interest purposes. Middle management is often positioned or left to be soft with few exceptions on the drive needed to manage change. For example, with middle management and up are nearing or at retirement, large amounts started to retire, the churn caused by vacuum-effect at high level makes long term initiatives difficult to start or sustain.
  • Compliance Driven: Overwhelming amount of data calls with heavy-handed “fines”. Manage and plan to compliance – measuring to ineffectual measures
  • Compliance too complicated to understandCost/Price analysis on subcontractor costsSelf-monitoring/compliance reviews, manage contracting risks, methods and evidence used for estimation, understanding government acquisition regulations. Without expert help, small businesses are heavily limited to engaging.
  • Planning to the beast and not the customer: Fear at operational level of making decisions that lead to a innovative approaches or straying from norm – risk adverse. No reward for doing things better.
  • Delivering Value not part of Culture: Not sure of value of what we produce. no clarity on strategic outcomes and therefore have little recognition of recommended initiatives and what they mean to the workforce.
  • Blackbox Syndromes (aka Man behind the Curtain): Information Technology and management concepts and operations are overwhelmed by or shielded from the consumer of customer view. Programs/Mission are not informed of what IT has to do. Thus executive direction is disconnected, sometimes thus IT solutions or operations funding tie executives hands. Business agility gets put on backburner regardless of what Portfolio/Project Management is in place.
  • Surviving, not Thriving – Mission management model or system not designed to manage sustained change and transition. They are designed to deliver a product or service, if lucky.
  • Stovepiped Policy creates stovepipe programs: Cannot collaborate – need to get my task done now. Without collaboration, there is an inability for prioritization methods or techniques to be imparted and use effectively at all tiers of management.
  • Funding mismatch: Budget is a constraining variable in all work formulas precluding optimization across elements. These may be synthesied or aggrgated – mixed and matched as you see fit. Some programs may actually be funded right, but key functions of program budget are misaligned limiting what can be accomplished as a whole.
  • Enterprise Planning flavor of the day: Due to either past failures, or perception that new approaches are repackaged ways tried before kills internal buy-in towards integrated or collaborative techniques. Enterprise architecture, team functional/segment analysis, or agile project management may have been “tried” before, but instead of evaluating failure as tried to take on too much scope, other factors not resolved above, or simply, was over-engineered, are usually not labelled as the cause. The baby gets thrown out with the bath water or enterprise planning gets tossed aside due to lack of leadership, mistrust or burn-out.
  • Imbalance of Leadership Styles: Quick deciders, Stalling Stabilizers, Never-satisfied Challengers, Start-up Innovators – whatever the persona,  a lack of understanding of what each brings causes consternation or even over imbalance towards one style. Which leads to no decisions, status quo, low morale, or too much change.


Why the name “xentity”?

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There are two general small talk questions we get asked a lot. The first is “How do you pronounce xentity?” Our usual answer is ZEN-i-tee, CENT-it-ee, zen-ti-TEE, X-EN-ti-tee . Going through life with a name like Tricomi, you hear them all – tric-OH-mee, TRIC-uh-mee, tric-OH-my. To-MAY-toe, To-MAH-toe. Then, we are asked, “OK, so what does it mean“? Thats the fun answer, in which, pending the listening audience, we give a one-liner or the full gist. Below is the latter.

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One week after September 11, 2001, Xentity was founded to help businesses restart after the tragedy. Leveraging our previous successful experiences in Travel Architecture (among other sectors – Financial, Energy, Education), we left our previous jobs and gained a contract to help a small business specifically focused on getting people traveling again. Of least priority, was a name.

In 2002, we still didn’t have a name. We were halfway through the first contract, but nameless. At the time, we were proposing business model designs for a prominent venture capitalist who was looking to properly invest in both a business services firm and its enabling IT services. He wanted to understand – does he spin-off IT services, does he run as division, does he sell it to mitigate risks or focus, does he co-invest with us? This reminded me of Orbitz per their name and organization. When doing architecture  proposal support then, they, among several dot-com engagements, weren’t letting us know or didn’t yet know what they would become, so the architecture couldnt be referred to as T2’s architecture, or a certain airline partners architecture, so in the documents we had put x entity’s architecture. This happened over a few proposals, architectures, and spin-off support. 

So, in 2002, we did it again. It was at that time we simply merged x and entity to make xentity. We slapped our first logo and name on our co-investment option with xentity in lower case and in aqua green colors with a grey shadow branded prominently. We only made it official in 2003 once we started with Federal contracts requiring the full formalities.

But, beyond the novelty, what I liked about the name is the homonym nature of it. “entity”, just like the dot-com example, allowed us flexibility in adjusting to the client based focusing and needing change. I wasn’t hitting a rolodex like most consulting firms start out. We were delivering new architecture for new or changing business models, and well, relying on our performance, and the clients executive relationships to say “you got to check these guys out – look what they did for me”. I didnt know if the client based would change, or types of services, topical areas, subject matter, level of executive advisory would change, size of client?

And to us x meant change. To digress, x in math typically is the defacto variable for an equation. And, when you are born with an equation in your namsake – Euler–Tricomi equation –   – you tend to have math and lots of x’s on your brain. Add on top of the years of advanced study in engineering, you see x’s in your sleep. Whether its a DIFFY-q (differential equation) where you are mathematically deriving the function as x changes, or you are trying to connect the business drivers, goals, products, technology, resources, and costs – you need to design for change – design for the x or change in your entity . 

All I knew is we started to focus on changing groups, entities. We wanted to help clients be more relevant, efficient, and impactful. I knew I wanted to be in change, find people who wanted to make an impact (not a body shop). We started because we wanted to be a part of getting the world flying again. We looked ten years into the future. As noted in our core architecture concepts, We could see the positive and negative disruption of the recent then of offshoring.  We were looking beyond the marketing and selling craze of the internet and tracking Moore’s law on digitized solutions would look to change how the world would communicate, learn, discover, and solve new problems. We wondered how could increasing interaction following Metcalfe’s law impact solutions and knowledge. We looked into how the online could impact the offline and vice-versa especially where once abundant resources were now either trending towards scarce or requiring new solutions. We knew their were so many variables, that change design, analysis, architecture, and planning was needed. We were wowed by veteran innovators – for instance, of course a fellow College Alum Dean Kamen, who hit pop fame with the Segway, but interested or more socio-technology solutions such as water for 3rd world. 

So, xentity it was. 

In the world of transformation consulting, managing change, leading change, or even just handling change we believe strongly is what will make businesses of this century more relevant and more efficient. With that in mind, when you read the concepts and services, you can likely now see, hopefully clearly, our focus, even in our name is on helping change your entity.

-Matt 

Why is change so fundamental

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The heartbeat of our business model is that the largest generational change in history is occurring right now. A bit dramatic, but consider the following cultural, business, and technological factors happening globally.

Cultural – 6.8 Billion people pressuring boundaries, resources, and relationships impacting policy, environment, and security and locally mass retirements causing brain drain. The U.S.’s largest generation, which has led the world for the past 50 years, is retiring creating a vacuum on workforce replacement; during the same period the world population has gone from 2 Billion to 6 Billion. This large population has created immense pressures on boundaries, resources, and relationships impacting policy, environment, and security.

plus

Business – Efficiency needs pushing quality, finite resources breaking financial models, globalization pushing costs, fast-automated transactions, all causing bad eactive policy. To deal with this change, the new speed of automated transactions or dying conception of “infinite” resources, for example, are forcing new radical and early version policies into Law creating immaturity in governance and financial models, no analysis or paralysis. This is forcing leadership to consider new models and controls such as globalization, service organizations, new collaborative partnerships on product management, and massive supply chain workflow changes.

has resulted in

Technology – technology performance, management, and safety controls to be non-existent and logarithmic growth of IT capital. Either way, technology outpaces culture and business, or vice versa. New technologies are moving faster than can be absorbed or catalogued, introducing new Consequences via rapid deployment to keep up replace depleted U.S. labor forces , but challenges the “perishable value” of your technology capital portfolio causing inefficient controls, work, and impacts the quality of your products and services. Do I invest? Do I leapfrog?

This time is exciting, yet massive change causes massive confusion. These level of changes, describe from hot, flat, and crowded to too much information to many other are driving the need for change. We believe transformational activities start with the executive understanding the culture, policy, and environment first and foremost prior to engaging in major business transformation. We understand change is nebulous, inevitable, but less jaded – powerful. Whether the business change is enhancing, correcting, or repairing, Xentity’s transformation services are designed knowing your people are the heartbeat of your organization.

The ever-changing technologies provide new windows to enable more efficient and effective ways of doing business. Xentity has skilled, trained, and certified consultants in the areas of technology unique to lines of business or general to enterprises to properly institute technology change. Xentity promotes Technology change operationally, tactically, or strategically, but ultimately guided by the true business service, process, or management needs for such.

Xentity brings its knowledge of technology innovation trends to help take advantage of the correct acceleration points that the culture can absorb to support its community. 

What are our Integrated Change Management Concepts

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Improve Performance – Plan and Manage your change

Your project, program, or organization leadership typically hinges on your effectiveness to implement relevancy. Usually that means improving performance or integrating change – both of which helps garner the goals.

Issues clients may encounter requiring these services include:

  • Program Management: Few delivered on time, on budget, on scope, on quality. Sponsorship lacking, not insuring/governing/buying risk, still not agile PM
  • Planning to the beast and not the customer: There is a fear at operational level of making decisions that lead to a innovative approaches or straying from norm – risk adverse. And why not, what is the reward for doing things better?
  • Your Team is thinking about surviving, not thriving: Is your mission management model or system designed to manage sustained change and transition proactively and built into the culture? Or is it setup to run operations, and as issues come up, react distinctly to each issue. You may have organizing units by a product or service, but are your metrics setup about growing, increasing relevancy?
  • Enterprise Planning flavor of the day: Due to either past failures, or perception that new approaches are repackaged ways tried before kills internal buy-in towards integrated or collaborative techniques. Enterprise architecture, team functional/segment analysis, or agile project management may have been “tried” before, but instead of evaluating failure as tried to take on too much scope, other factors not resolved above, or simply, was over-engineered, are usually not labelled as the cause. The baby gets thrown out with the bath water or enterprise planning gets tossed aside due to lack of leadership, mistrust or burn-out.
  • Shopping hungry (aka Funding Mismatch): You have a great new change plan, great new architecture, but its unfunded both short and long-term. How do you work within your budget which is a constraining variable in all work formulas precluding optimization across elements. These may be synthesized or aggregated – mixed and matched as you see fit. Some programs may actually be funded right, but key functions of program budget are misaligned limiting what can be accomplished as a whole.

Many of these issues need to be addressed before engaging in a change management initiative, and many may be noted as part of the new change plan. But a concept, or set of recommendations is just that. There needs to be a way to continue buying back the risk of implementing the changes in an integrated, efficient, and effective pattern.

Our management services focus on introducing the right performance management or/and change management tools to help your initiatives achieve.

We use an Integrated Change Approach

The key to Xentity’s success at executing  business transformation, governance, and excellence in communication management has been in the knowledge of how to integrate and tie all domains of program engagements together to create a sum value greater than the individual parts. In 2006, Xentity published an approach on enterprise planning business intelligence and management for the Department of the Interior to improve the change management coordination between CIO investment and information management including CyberSecurity, Privacy, Capital Planning and Investment Control, Enterprise Architecture, Project Management Plans and coordinating OMB required PAR and other strategic performance reports. In commercial organizations, some of the rigor, policy, or other aspects may very, but the tenets remain the same.

To make changes among these previously disparate and uncoordinated efforts, an Integrated Change management approach was recommended. This includes an integrated oversight of the parts that need to be connected, understood, and communicated prior to significant investment, supported by excellent  communication and project management skills to facilitate the changes.

This is crucial to the executing of enterprise information management, program management offices (PMOs),and data lifecycle management concepts with multiple driving force directions pulling on it (i.e. policy change, regulations and compliance, mission direction including strategic plans and transformation blueprints, and change budget pressures). These approaches help ensure Enterprise Architecture plays a key role in being a coordination component to organizing strategic principles, product and service roadmaps, transformational blueprint recommendations, and resulting plans such as product, capital, integrated strategic, and even future business cases, yet at same time, is just one of many key change leadership and management components. 

Why we exist?

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Business flux has not been so fluid – for good and bad – since the Industrial Revolution or the Great Depression – this is especially true in science, engineering, and information technology. So, we sought to plan, design, discover for and with executives seeking to take on business as usual in these fields.

Our blended services take on cultural, business and technology transformation in an integrated fashion.  We seek to design transformation – for the next generation.

Our Niche is change

We are a niche consultancy – boutique firm if you will. We seek out and take on projects that typically align with our concepts. This is an advantage for the clients as we can bring truly unique subject knowhow and innovation in these areas creating actionable plans and designs.

Generations

In a world that is changing more than ever in history, we analyze the cultural of organizations with you to help truly enable our collaboratively developed plans to be executed. We cooperatively look and design for fundamental core changes in your business, with a solid background in leveraging new advances in technology and management models.

Transformation

All services, work, concepts, studies are thematic on designing executive-level change. Our approaches are published, open, and glue together industry-standard change processes. For example, the U.S. President’s Office of Management and Budget and U.S. Department of Interior’s Methdologies are both directly infused with Xentity approaches.

Xentity can help your company with executive level change to transform for the long-run with a combination of short-term operational improvements and longer term tactical and strategic direction changes. This puts the executive at large organizations back in a model that can manage the change.

Science and Engineering

Like in the premise of science and engineering research, all Xentity research outputs are open. Client-Privacy is maintained, but many assets developed during Gov’t efforts become citizen-property. With open-assets, Xentity certifies, trains and partners and clients on these methods, tools, and concepts.

Earth Change

Our Consulting focuses on business areas that positively impact earth change. As a consulting organization, we choose to support organizations that have a similar goals – whether that be sustainability, responsibility, and quality of life. Xentity is committed to bringing on top talent that has unique science, engineering, or research background to add to their strong consulting skills.

Founded in 2001, incorporated in 2004, 8(a) status in 2010, Xentity has guided clients beyond surviving the dot-bomb, but rebrand and reposition, avoid costs and improve efficiencies all to increase their relevance. Xentity role in helping clients create this true value has been in enterprise design, planning, communications and execution support.