6.6.3 The process of enterprise modeling

As stated on page 93, an overall purpose of studying the strategy project was to learn more about the process of enterprise modeling, investigating in more detail the activities undertaken. Table 6.4 describes a number of them observed in TEK-S using the following columns: In the activity descriptions in table 6.4, the communities of knowing are either the developers (the project group), the users and customers (the enterprise), or both. The perspectives concern either the project or the enterprise.
 
Label  Activity description  Kind 
A1  Planning: The making of a perspective that concerns a future reality (e.g., an enterprise or a work process) and preparation for this reality. Planning is modeling: To envision a future reality, represent it and manifest it as a plan (e.g., as M1).  SRM 
A2  Assess status of work: Make an estimate of what has been accomplished in a given task, and thereby contribute to perspective making (when the perspective concerns work in a project or an enterprise). 
A3  Develop objectives: Envisioning a preferred state of affairs in a future reality. From an enterprise modeling point of view, A3 is imagination of how enterprise models may be used, making sense of actions planned to attain the objectives. 
A4  Develop methods: Closely related to planning, but planning of a work process. A4 concerns assessment of the sufficiency of a series of actions to reach a preferred state of affairs.  SRM 
A5  Involve actors: An act to ensure that multiple perspectives contribute in the perspective making. It is also a way to tear down the borders between communities of knowing, and thereby ensure that communities more easily make sense of others' perspectives. 
A6  Define terminology: Perspective making through construction of a vocabulary. Involves both understanding of definitions and an ability to find an appropriate term or phrase for a concept.  SR 
A7  Read case documents: Study information in order to understand what has been done previously. Hence, A7 may be considered perspective taking as it involves attempting to understand the work of other communities (like the presentation of existing strategies in WS1).  SR 
A8  Being creative: In the context of enterprise modeling, being creative can be seen as actively inventing reality, being an element in perspective making. Both the development of intermediate artifacts and the use of brainstorming at WS2 can be seen as construction of reality. 
A9  Posing questions: A characteristic of sense-making (Weick, 1995:15), as it focuses on the active invention or construction of reality. Questions were an explicit part of the strategy development method M2. Finding the right questions was just as important as being able to answer them, which can be seen as a characteristic of sense-making. 
A10  Informal discussion of ideas: To be able and allowed to propose preliminary thoughts and receive feedback. This is an element in any perspective making process. 
A11  Make assertions about reality: Contribute to perspective making by stating personal beliefs about reality -- which not necessarily have to be "correct", but is represented and manifested in the organization in some way. The term "guesstimate" was used for a similar activity at page . 
A12  Categorization: To associate a phenomenon with something else and thereby influence the meaning of the phenomenon as more relationships are introduced. Categorization contributes to perspective making.  SR 
A13  Summarize: To recapitulate a situation or idea by providing a coherent account that only incorporates elements that are perceived to be central to the situation or idea for some purpose (in modeling, summarizing implies abstraction). Summarizing contributes to perspective making. 
A14  Reflection: Questioning the validity of a community of knowing -- is the perspective correct with respect to the enterprise that is modeled? 
A15  Refer from other meetings: Communication of the perspective developed within a community of knowing to actors potentially belonging to another community, playing a role in both perspective making and taking.  SD 
A16  Learn from other organizations: To study the perspectives of other communities of knowing. Occurred both internally (listening to experiences from business units in WS1) and externally (traveling abroad to study strategy work in other organizations).  SD 
A17  Create intermediate artifacts: To represent and manifest a preliminary understanding of a phenomenon. Creation of intermediate artifacts is an element in perspective making.  SRM 
A18  Write final deliverables: Careful selection and manifestation of terms and symbols, seeking to ensure that the future readers of the deliverable will understand what the author intends to communicate. Hence, A18 corresponds to the creation of boundary objects.  RM 
A19  Presentation: To communicate an understanding -- to externalize a local reality. The presentation itself is a matter of expressing the understanding (although the preparations for a presentation implies both sense-making and representation). 
A20  Provide feedback: Respond to presentation and thereby contribute to perspective making. Observed in a number of different settings, but most importantly in WS3, where the work groups received comments on their assessments of strengths, weaknesses, etc. Stating disagreement is an example of feedback.  SD 
A21  Enterprise modeling: To understand both current and possible future enterprise level work processes, represent them and manifest them as drawings or diagrams. They did not have any model of enterprise modeling, i.e., modeling was done ad hoc. Enterprise modeling was not perceived problematic (the perspective was strong already).  SRMD 
A22  Storytelling: The construction and recapitulation of concrete accounts of reality (factual or fictional stories). Storytelling was observed as a means to communicate an idea, an argument, a position, etc. Stories are particularly valuable in sense-making (Weick, 1995:61). 
A23  Structuring: The decomposition of a perspective into elements and relationships, and thereby introducing a certain order in the perspective. Corresponds to analysis of a perspective. 
A24  Enactment: The execution of a perspective by acting (either through speech or deed). The project models were enacted. 
Table 6.4: Activities related to enterprise modeling in the strategy project

The activities listed in are mostly in the language of the strategy project actors. I.e., if the actors say they are planning, planning is an activity. Hence, little effort has been spent on rephrasing the activities.

A note on the assessments in the Kind column: An activity is assessed to concern sense-making if it mainly involves the professional language of the actors. An activity concerns representation if it involves what may be considered a modeling language to the actors. Manifestation implies that the representation is embodied in some artifact, and distribution implies the communication of artifacts, preferably outside the originating community of knowing.

Most of the activities in the strategy project concerned sense-making 51; to be able to create a sensible account of reality, the expectations from the customer, the needs of the future users, etc. Hence, the problems related to enterprise modeling was to understand first and foremost the project, but also the enterprise (making assessments).

The representation and manifestation elements of modeling were not observed to be problematic to any significant extent, except for the terminology discussions (A6): To find a term or short phrase to fit a concept is to look for a representation of the concept. Some disagreement on categorization was also observed (A12).

Problems with manifestation were to some degree observed when the strategy document was to be implemented as an interactive World Wide Web presentation (as none of the actors had any experience with HTML). Drawing of the M3 model was also done by a specialist on illustrations.

Distribution was neither observed as problematic: Enterprise models were communicated directly in meetings, in the Web version of the strategy document or through the Lotus Notes database.