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Classes of Business Engineering Projects

Projects can be classified into three broad classes. Projects triggered because:

You have                      the wall

You                       the wall

You                       the wall

These classes help the business to classify their situation in order to select the correct methodologies. The situation determines the methodology.

You have HIT the Wall

Hit the Wall
Characteristics of the Situation

These are projects that are triggered by events or situations that were not anticipated. It definitely originates from a business that either has a very reactive nature to problems, or has no strategic visioning. Alternatively it could be an organisation that has been experiencing a comfort zone in terms of its target environment for too long, and has neglected the continuous analysis of its target and external environments.


The situation is triggered by a combination of events or situations that are only recognised the day they occur, and that are of such a nature that the organisation will
go out of business if they are not addressed immediately and correctly the first time.

Image by James Pond
Characteristics of the Project

Projects aimed at addressing these problems are typically constrained by the lack of skill from within the organisation to aid the strategic re-alignment of the business. The people manning the organisation are typically not visionaries and are people that fail to understand the implication of this kind of change.


The project will have a high dependency on how effectively the governance and mindset of the organisation can be addressed in a very short period of time. There will initially be a lot of accusations and uncertainty about the future. There will also initially be a lot of resistance to change, as it impact on that people that have been doing the same thing for a very long time. They are threatened by new styles of working and by suddenly doing different things. There will also be a very high participation from external people that bring fresh ideas and strategic information to the project. The project could be coupled with a change in work force or at least with a massive re-skilling of the organisation.


Due to the criticality of the situation one would typically develop a project influenced purely by business criticality. See The Business Influence on the Implementation Plan. A quick deliverable is needed to address an immediate problem that could force the organisation out of business. For the sake of saving the organisation in a very short time frame one could deliberately abandon architectural considerations. The provision of the short-term solution must be accompanied by an investment aimed at immediately addressing the lack of continuity of the solution. One must also understand that there is a huge throwaway component within the potential solution.

Avoid thewall

You AVOID the Wall

Characteristics of the Situation

These projects are triggered by an anticipation of change of factors from the target business environment. The business has a culture of continuously analysing the target environment and of interpreting its effect on them.

The tactical management aspects of these organisations are working fairly well. They have a culture of looking for changing influences and attempting to address them in advance.

Characteristics of the Project

These types of projects are typically focused around the change of offerings. Thus, implementing new processes for new offerings. The project is normally triggered by
anticipation rather than by the need to survive.


In most cases this means that a blend of business and architectural influences need to be accommodated in the approach of the project. See Accommodating the
Architectural and Business Influences the Object Way. One needs to implement the required change in a short period of time, but one also requires continuity within the solution.


Architecture plays a more prominent role and the skill to develop and exploit this has to be resident in the project team, although not necessarily in the organisation.

Create the wall

You CREATE the Wall

Characteristics of the Situation

The business is running under limited operational pressure but in a highly competitive environment. Businesses such as this continuously analyse their target and external business environments, in terms of the effect of changes on themselves, their customers, their suppliers and their competitors.


They also interpret the factors from their target and external environment in terms of how they could leverage these factors to represent more threats to their competitors and to exploit their competitor’s weaknesses.


By this strategy it is possible to get oneself into a situation where one creates the new demands rather than waiting for them to happen.

Characteristics of the Project

These are projects that are highly focused on architecture as one is going for a definite long term benefit coupled with the ability to generate variances of the solutions, or alternative solutions quicker. See The Architectural Influence on the Implementation Plan. Architecture will provide us with the ability to construct new solutions quicker and solutions that are architecturally better integrated.


As far as the protection of current ineffective building blocks are concerned these projects typically start off with a clean slate. They are driven from brand new strategies that will mostly be focused around brand new products. Architecture will provide us with the ability to generate the new business systems quicker as we will have existing architectural frameworks to work from. We will also inherit a number of architectural building blocks that will provide us with a springboard into the solutions.

Due to the high dependency on architecture and the longevity of business systems it is vitally important that the architectural component of the project organisation structure is built up from an internal human resource base.

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