Why a Digital Transformation needs flow through substantive governance (2)

Published on Tuesday, May 18th 2021


Governance to create the ultimate state of flow (2-3)

I expect many of my readers are in a pleasing relationship and hope never to divorce. Getting things done in your household could be one of those “make or break” matters in your relationship. As long as you are living apart together or together without children it’s all fairly easy to get the household responsibilities sorted. When a family begins to expand with one or more children it becomes more or less a hassle to keep the structure and get things done. If partners have a very different approach, often one of them gets annoyed or even stressed out. They say relationships are about give and take, but if such differences don’t get solved in the first year or so, it will cause serious relationship problems over time. It is all about understanding each other in what the expected and perceived value of an organized household is.

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Understanding how we achieve this state and how to maintain it means that we are collaborating based on a mutual (sometimes unconscious) agreed structure and way of work. When we achieve this organized state in which we can perform with ease, it will give an enlightening feeling which we call flow.

Before we continue on how to conduct your household within an enterprise, let’s try to build up a sustainable definition of Digital Transformation. Let me take you back in time! Long ago we started using hand calculators to support the accounting (business) capability of our company, for example, even far before we had the first personal computers on our desks. By adding a calculator to our accounting capability the skill itself did not change but the performance increased.

This calculating functionality is still used today but the underlying technology and even infrastructure constantly changed. Which means that functionality with a positive impact on our business capability will stay as long as the economic value is large enough. The problem is the fact that over time we created a lot more functionality than we actually needed to support our business. This gives a negative impact on our capability performance.

Proceed with gaining new technology when you know how to replace the current one, and make sure you do not develop or purchase unnecessary functionality just because it’s trendy.

Cycle to Accelerate definition of Digital Transformation

Constantly increasing your enterprise capability performance through managing the ‘transience of technology’, delivering a minimal set of functionality to achieve maximum business impact.

While performing a digital transformation in which we constantly move out current technology and grow new technology to manage (https://architectural-thinking.com) transience of capabilities and our IT-landscape, we need an agreed structure to make it possible to become a high performer in conducting the never-ending process of Digital Transformation.

The following 10 points in a basic structure (pattern) will help you do your (enterprise) household tasks for conducting your Digital Transformation:

  • Discover The Milky Way and visualise business capabilities;

  • Define compliance rules for your business capabilities;

  • Identify which products use which Business Capabilities;

  • Mark why and when it is time to improve or innovate a business capability;

  • Map supporting functionality and applications on these capabilities - there could be more than one application supporting the same functionality for a different purpose;

  • Define the differences between the functionality of these applications, not the similarities;

  • Define non-functional requirements for new applications;

  • Conduct a gap analysis of current applications regarding the non-functional requirements for your new applications and define a vulnerability profile;

  • Define a modern goal architecture for your new applications matching the defined non-functional requirements;

  • Define a point of no return! When we have conducted the following checks and balances we will start using the new application and there is no way back.

This structure gives the fundamentals to build up your enterprise transformation administration to gain insights in your priority list for improvement and innovations to be delivered. Planning to deliver an outcome will depend on your past performance and level of flow within the organisation.


Do we get a 100% accurate administration with the use of this structure? The more classical Enterprise Architects will say: it is not sufficient. My experience and understanding tells me that having oversight and insight by capturing 80% is perfect because the other 20% will be solved in operations by passionate IT experts and business analysts. Good is better than best an old friend once told me. We need to understand that when we move forward in a cycling way, we accept the fact that we will make small mistakes to become more accurate. Also, our goals architecture - once we have transformed completely - will be outdated by the time we are done and we need to define a new one.

As in your normal household, you need to collaborate or sometimes even vote about substantive matters to make decisions and stay away from politics to keep on moving forward. That’s how you finally become a high performer and achieve the ultimate state of flow.

In the next chapter, going more into organizational governance, I will also give more attention to capability performance because I think it’s a manager's responsibility.