Basic Milky Way Intro

What sparked the Milky Way map?

When I entered the field of business architecture in 2006/7 I came from a background as a business controller gone business developer, forced to at least understand IT and information structures. I studied psychology for a year during a maternity leave with a focus on cognition and knowledge creation among other things.

I had also meet really experienced product lifecycle management consultants with long experience from both Ericsson, a large telecom company, and Scania,, early in my consultantcy carrieer. They showed me how a product or service is created based on market/customer needs, developed, sold, delivered and maintained by the processes in the company and/or by the partners in the network.

In 2012 I worked as a business architect and even trained other professional in business architecture, information & process modelling and architecture planning. But the tools I used felt too thin, the questions we tried to tackle were all related to getting an overview, to document the current state. All of this way too far from the customers.

A growing feeling of doubt came over me, there must be better ways of addressing the challenge of how large (and not so large) organizations can evolve and prosper over time then the one I was using.

What if we tried to create better overviews where all, almost all important structures were visible and related to each other? Visualizing the dependencies skilled architects saw but had such a hard time describing to others.

One important part of the puzzle, the business capability concept, entering the scene in 2012 made the first steps towards the Milky Way easier and in heinsight obvious. Instead of being forced to create overviews of each perspective, information, process and IT systems we could combine them all in one business capability map.

My first attempt to place IT applications in a business capability and relate the position in the map to where in the value flow the capability provides support. It was really a case of exploring and trial and error….

The first draft of a business capability with supporting IT application

First hub visualizing the value flow of TUI Nordics. (The same stages are valid today)

An other thing paving the way towards something new were a number of large architecture initiatives following the old game book with a lot of upfront planning and documentation failed badly.

There was a search for new ways of doing architecture. Less documentation, less upfront planning, better visualizations, easier to communicate, support scenario planning, tighter cooperation with the developers, both business and IT developers…

So we started to explore “how might we make architecture more valuable by making it easier to understand, communicate and really useful while developing, shaping the organization for the future?”.

The next post will describe more about the Milky Way map, what it consists of, how it is structured and some initial first situations I used the map in the very beginning.


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