Layering Cultural and Business Transformation (Part 4)

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Civilian Agency X Case Study

“X” agency Reacts multiple ways

Policy Management attempts to be Level 3 Upper Left “C”, but revolving door limits Level 1 as a Left Side “I”– “X” agency reacts to societal change in view or mission needs (resource use, protection, etc.) but has yet to implement effective performance management. Still reacting to long-term goals (with century forward looking impacts), much of societal pressures are only …

Program Management waffles between Maturity level 2 and 3 – At best they are a Right “C” – “X” agency is responding quite well to the upper part of the “C” based on OMB guidance and has implemented several initially stove-piped approaches.

IT Management is purely a Level 1 Right “I” – “X” agency still has 40% or so of its IT investments under this approach – under the O&M budget, and possibly more given many scientific applications are funded via grants bypassing local/direct need for business and governance involvement. Technologists are driving blind to business needs, not because of lack of competence, but there are language barriers between hard science approach and soft-side approach limiting managements capability to sponsor initiatives. Total Cost of ownership each year run up, and user experience gets impacted, thus solution relevancy leans towards an online DMV line metaphorically.

Real Examples:

– “X” agency plays to longer-term goals of managing the stewardship responsible resources. Short-term goals which take a lot of resources, but as their goals are not in national spotlight, but more national resource infrastructure, they will get prioritized higher due to the societal reaction to advance and legislate more there. Because of that the mission of “X” agency gets compromised and sub-cultures have reacted autonomously to meet their missions.

– This allowed technology investments to pass thru immediately to their specific products and services thus likely duplicating many supporting products, services, and components thru O&M budgets rather than centralized financial controls.

– Middle-management efforts to integrate, in recent decades at “X” agency for instance, have failed to establish integrated change management as the O&M folks still controlled the strings to their purse, and didn’t have to step up to bat.

   – These integrated change management approaches

Whats this mean to “X” agency Transformation efforts?

Performance measurement – Planning, proof of alignment to strategic planning, and capability to actually measures performance for intermediate proof is QUITE needed. Outreach that CIO driven transformation is not a silo’d change management and need to combine with other processes in Capital Planning, Workforce Planning, Security, etc., but integrated hard science techniques with program and policy offices and executives is simply a necessary beast of technology advancement. Without this – transformation will not succeed. Transformation would go in assuming the culture will accept the fact they will perform and it will work if you simply manage the business…

BUT ALAS, this is not true, and CIO leaders are guilty til proven innocent by our performance, mostly under own demise of initial and true hard science governed role as cost center compliance executives instead of service center relevance enabler.

The final part of this study calls out the recommended steps to consider to help bring the cultures together before undertaking or to help in risk mitigation when undertaking a business transformation

Layering Cultural and Business Transformation (Part 3)

Blog post
edited by
Matt Tricomi

Varying Maturity Levels – Change Reaction

So what are ways to view the maturity levels?

Maturity LevelsName/PatternDescription
1Side “I” RoutesBound for failure – Driven by either all Soft Science or all Hard Science
2Corner “L” routesTransitional, Hope – Driven by historic Soft or Hard, and afterfact looks at the other
3Middle “C” routesMission Integrated – Analysis blends cross-organization as part of the culture
4Mixed – Top “Y”, lower “Z” RoutesUser Integrated – Analysis understands and can manage to the customer experience and needs
5UtopianOnly exists on earth in business school textbooks

Maturity Level 1

Side “I” Routes

Engineering change – Frustrated by governance or business, typically through skewed perception of imprint, technology is streamlined out. This is usually cut out IF the advance is widely impacting, but not cut out if localized.

Visionary change – Visionary without execute sets out a new unit to establish new objectives, but never gets it into business, policy, or has the organization to manage a business to implement services


– Change gets implemented in a segregated fashion due to the reaction to the imprint – Organizations are truly split (Figure 3)

  • Examples: Dot-bombs were soft (financial market) or tech (new silver bullet invention)

Maturity Level 2

Corner “L” routes

Hype Change – They can take a societal change of acceptance to a new technology innovation, put it through legislation, implement technology, but without seeing how to measure performance and properly manage the business

PR Change – They can take a societal reaction to a short-term fiasco (i.e. public corruption), bypass legislation, state how will be measured, and implement service on existing approach


– Momentum based organizations are split, but sub-culture has some alignment to allow for bullish efforts(Figure 3)

  • This is unfortunately the current management model in Civilian Government. Mostly due to legislative instability in external drivers which has fostered a copycat culture within agencies

Maturity Level 3

Middle “C” routes

Consumer Change (left)– Consumer demands on service and product providers drive the organization to adapt policy, and change performance within business, but uses the old ways to produce, not to integrating new advancements that could improve mission objectives

Management Change (right) – Management reacting to new innovations establishes policy and new investments to take advantage of such, but investments tend not to live up to policy goals as never took into accounts mission objectives, and still focus on silo’d objectives


– Not until recently with legislation change due to societal values to stop this overspending, has the investment in technology been governing resources through a channeled mechanisms.

– This change is causing the sub-cultures to move slow based on the imprint (bad taste) left when they tried to execute the mission as a whole decades ago. They have little faith that performance can be achieved.

– This requires strong executive showing and demonstration of follow-through, smart teaming, and experience in transformational leadership

  • This is for organizations ready for business transformation – either in response for relevancy (upgrade business model) or in response to modernization (upgrade experience and total cost of ownership impact)

Maturity Level 4

Mixed – Top “Y”, lower “Z” Routes

Integrated Performance Management – Balancing Societal needs and Innovation to both set realistic objectives that are measurable and governing new innovations to better achieve those goals

Integrated Change Management – An integrated approach across all sub-organizations involved with business and IT Management allowing for proper maturation and expectation setting by legislation while implementing innovations to better achieve the mission.


–          Strategic Planning and Performance Management focuses on the Top Y (Imprint)

–          Business and Technology Management focus on the lower Z (Reaction)

–          More integration between the two will allow for true integrated change (Blends Soft and Hard Science together)

  • This is the ultimate model when traditional softer science executive management bodies (executive, operations, financial, product lines) work closely with engineering, service centers, and process, line, or data lifecycle managers to ideate together. The more successful private organizations are in this model.



Maturity Level 5

Utopia? Through utopia is a dream we all may not want, the best integrated approach would include:

  • combination of societal change and innovation External factors and Timing dependent
  • vetted through governance Assured boundaries of change
  • setting performance objective Assured Measurement of boundaries
  • Proper funding for business management  Held accountable by objective measure
  • Finally, provision of products and services that meet cost and relevancy needs in continuously improving fashion

Next section will cover some case study examples and what goes beyond pattern identification.

Layering Cultural and Business Transformation (Part 2)

Blog post
edited by
Matt Tricomi

Imprints of Time

Change seems to be the key when culture comes into play.  Depending on the cultural imprint that has been left on the organization and how long the imprint(s) have been in play, change will be effected differently.

Cultural Imprints at the Civilian government are effected by seemingly three major areas –

Society Value Framework – Values embraced and ousted by the society. Large concepts including historical reactions to change help establish these values and changes in resources and innovations

Resources – Historical Availability, Past Management, and existing legislation. Resources being economic, workforce, capital, neighboring support/aggression, environmental, ecological, medical, etc.

Technology – Advances in technology are embraced differently in different organizations based on historical success (capability to implement meeting objectives or not), societal values, and societal threats/needs

The imprints of history of course are not directly experience by the people reacting to it now, but reacting to either the historical or living information of that – through societal reaction, existing legislation, or proof or use of historical advancements

Reacting to the past for the present and future

The reaction is broken into 3 integrated parts :

  • Society drives performance needs
  • Resources drive business management [as set by performance]
  • Technology drives products / services [as set by business ]

Society + Resources = Technology .

Below is a way to view in a framework



Using civilian Government as an example, the paths through vary between as it depends on their perspective on :

  • Imprint – How old is the organization? How do they view it? How long has current leadership been there?
  • Historical Reaction – What are their perceptions on recent and enterprise mission success/failure? What are failed concepts that are being promoted? What is seen in different stages of lifecycle than how industry perceives it?
  • Time  – How has leadership perceived time? What characteristics of different leaders have impacted their view on time?
  • Organization – Size? Number of sub-cultures and sub-culture size? Their characteristic differences?
  • Hard/Soft Science – Finally, Balance of Liberal Arts and Technology in culture – How much has management kept to pure soft science models and how much adopted, tried, success/failure on engineering models? 

The next section discusses capturing the profiles of an organization

Layering Cultural and Business Transformation (Part 1)

Blog post
edited by
Matt Tricomi

Cultural impacts on federal civilian departments is laden with historical impacts, perceptions of that history, societal values and reactions, and differing orders of domains – ranging from serving, business, policy, and innovation.

This can be centralized at a high-level into the larger picture of how historical imprints create varying reactions in the civilian government sub-cultures. The softer sciences have historically had a large influence on management theory on how to address, but as the technology revolution, driven by the uncontrollable force of Moore’s Law weighs in, the future of management is being more driven by harder science.

The recent history of current few-decade managers are impacted by the organizations and industries history over several score (i.e. four score and seven years ago type of imprint). Finally, any organization history is impacted by the societal values put upon it as driven by a long-term revolution, or nature of humanity towards the industry.

History and precedence has fundamentally driven the  value models for selecting value frameworks in societies (i.e. despotism, democracy, hiring models), as well as managing and governing resources for business (i.e. distributed, products, services, aggregator, manufacturer, service provider). It is those investment approaches the have yielded technologies, that are controlled to within a certain society or set of societies

– and those investment approaches have yielded technologies, that once invented, are or can be controlled to within a certain society or set of societies

It is the latter that is changing the landscape ever since the industrial revolution. Oil discovered in the U.S. meant an infrastructure needed a lifeblood economy. That yielded exploration world-wide, in non-allied countries. Geo-politicism changed from sea-based conflict to oil-based. Yet, most other countries didn’t have the manufacturing power to use it. And they didn’t have the value framework to incent growth – quite the opposite, many used propaganda against western imperialism to maintain their current value-system.

Post-World War II began investment in new allies. Investment in manufacturing in Japan that led to 40 years later having other countries develop value frameworks around those business models. Yet, the U.S. research investment model followed the spot university innovation fund model that funded disparate projects based on its success during World War II – meaning, incubation project funding versus segment or “hub” funding. In the 1980s manufacturing business models moved to Asia and in early 2000s. It took near 80 years for manufacturing after massive oil exploration to create a new economy. Softer sciences were used in management to grow relationships, learn from history.

But looking forward, mostly due to the digital world which since the 1970s has been on a doubling every 18-24 months in capability, softer science management techniques are failing. The external driving our core architecture concepts we have expressed . A huge bellweather of change is looking at how the NSF and other research funding organizations are finally revising the 60 year old approach used to fund research, as a result of university support in World War II is now changing to more coordinated models to garner faster research to stay ahead. As offshoring models move services to Asia in similar vein of manufacturing, the United States management techniques are still relying on softer sciences to address cultural change. This is why Our concepts are biased towards the next “generations” concept .

Example Application of this theory

The approach stem from looking at External Pressure Trends observed in working with our executive clients in this space for developing a shared services environment. The summation below, to some, this may seem a bit dramatic, but consider the following factors happening globally.

First, the change in World Population to grow two-times in a single generation – for the first time in the history of the earth by no means is insignificant to how to address innovation. In addition, with the baby boomer population, who has lead the U.S. during this period, retiring en masse, there is a looming U.S. brain drain and not as many Generation X’ers to transition leadership to.

Second, legacy Physical Resources reaching limits which has put new larger focus on geoscience, planning, and resource managers which many of those infrastructures have not been stood up to prepare for such a large collective information and policy response. Delays to decisions and action on climate change has not changed consumption patterns of the U.S. and the rest of the world is following the natural resource and outdated suburban planning growth models. Furthermore, the change in 24/7 news media has further complicated through sensationalism without context and put under a lens with higher scrutiny how science is presented and perceived to a population that is continuously overloaded with information and cannot digest this complex set of scenarios.

The rapid change in consumer patterns of information is not helping matters either, as faster and more global transactions are outpacing the capability to get the message out. Information delivery and consumption has been logarithmic-ally accelerated by the Moore’s Law, yet the science community has not kept pace.

In reaction to this pace, there have been many more shorter term policy approaches, yielding disparate funding models, focus on building the technology in hopes that scientists and planners will come and build investments upon such. This has exacerbated the challenge to integrate the scientists and planners, and there has become a data analysis obsession for the wrong data as policies have not focused on organizing the supplier and assuring the quality data is used.

These shorter term policies, a focus on technology “Build it and they will come” approaches ultimately does not yield the true desire to have environments that will allow scientists, planners, and providers of data to collaborate on more complex problems in a shared environments.

Transformation Toolsets

Though Innovation in America is still seen as the leader of the world – as expressed to us by Japanese contracting partners on a few occasions in collaborative work – the American management style is struggling to adopt more measured techniques to deal with the rapid transformation. Technology investments in corporation, either be in management information systems, user self-service models, or data science issues have shorter lifespans on architectures developed just a few years before deemed to be multiple iterations. 

Given such, toolsets such as transformation methods that adopt a myriad of architecture techniques, enterprise analysis, business process modeling, compliance analysis, maturity model comparison, logical architecture and pattern analysis, and other measure methodologies are going through growing pains to help address this needed gap in management models with more hard science and objective analysis.

Xentity has looked at what we developed in the Methodology for Business Transformation and we presented to the Federal Enterprise Certification body and experts some concepts to overlay on top Cultural Transformation concepts that help address the management understanding gap. The following few blogs look to capture analysis approaches on how to do just that.