Rethinking Zachman – a summary

To summarise this overall review of the Zachman framework over the past few posts:

The rows or perspectives:

  • Row 0: ‘Universals‘ (Zachman: not present) – core constants to which everything should align
  • Row 1: ‘Scope‘ (Zachman: ‘Planner’) – core entities in each category – the key ‘items of interest’ for the enterprise
  • Row 2: ‘Business‘ (Zachman: ‘Owner’) – core entities described in more detail, including relationships
  • Row 3: ‘System‘ (Zachman: ‘Designer’) – entities as implementation-independent designs – includes attributes
  • Row 4: ‘Develop‘ (Zachman: ‘Builder’) – entities and attributes as implementation-dependent designs
  • Row 5: ‘Implement‘ (Zachman: ‘Sub-contractor’ or ‘Out of Scope’) – actual implementations of designs
  • Row 6: ‘Operations‘ (Zachman: usually implied but not described) – individual instances in real-time operations

The columns or content-types and primitive-types:

  • What: assets of any kind (Zachman: ‘Data’, ‘entity / relationship’) – physical objects, data, links to people, morale, finances, etc
  • How: function (Zachman: ‘Function’, ‘process / input/output’): – activities or services, described independently from the agent (machine, software, person etc) that carries out that activity
  • Where: locations (Zachman: ‘Network’, ‘node / link’) – in physical space (geography etc), virtual space (IP nodes, http addresses etc), relational space (social networks etc) and suchlike
  • Who: capabilities clustered as roles (Zachman: ‘People’, ‘people / work’) – may be human, machine, software application, etc, and either individual or collective
  • When: events (Zachman: ‘Time’, ‘time / cycle’) – may be in time, or physical, virtual, human or other event
  • Why: decisions (Zachman: ‘Motivation’, ‘ends / means’) – as in strategy, policy, business-requirements, business-rules etc.

The segments or sub-categories within the columns: may be cut multiple ways, but typically:

  • physical: tangible objects (What) , mechanical processes (How), physical locations (Where), physical events (When); also align to rule-based skills (Who) and decisions (Why)
  • virtual: intangible objects such as data (What), software processes (How), logical locations (Where), data-driven events (When); also align to analytic skills (Who) and decisions (Why)
  • relational: links to people (What), manual processes (How), social/relational locations (Where), human events (When); also align to heuristic skills (Who) and decisions (Why)
  • aspirational: principles and values (What), value-webs and dependencies (Where), business-rules (When); also align with principle-based skills (Who) and decisions (Why)
  • abstract: additional uncategorised segments such as financial (What, How), time (When) etc

More posts to follow on how these all link together as primitive and composite models; and how the heck to put it all to practical use. 🙂

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