Solution Status Template for fast pacing Solution Architects


Good Solution Architects are not always renowned for keeping people up-to-date with status reports whilst solution is unfolding… right? …. mostly because the excitement at hand is creating the solution.

Being in that position many times I have created the following Solution Status Template for myself….   Download and see if it works for you.


Get a running start on a CIO Dashboard


Outside the BoxWith IT being under continued pressure, the ability to measure and align is becoming ever more important.

Here is one of my versions you may download and modify to get a running start.

It is based on Excel with simple way to add data for reporting.  Optionally you can also download and run the supporting cartridge for Telco’s and in so doing, modify the base Dashboard to become Telco/Mobile Network Operator specific.

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Becoming the Acord Conversation using a Tablet


SupermapperLike many other industries, those of us operating in the Financial Services and more specifically Insurance need to start Business conversations fast, to the point and with minimum fuss.  Please click here to explore unfolding Primer using Acord for Tablets and Mobile devices to help start the Business Conversation.  It was generated with freshInsight SuperMapper a service from Deon Pollard & Associates.  Notice that  materials may be copyrighted,subject to T & C’s and therefore you should be a Acord member.

These “fast and to-the-point” conversations by enlarge implies ready made industry collateral and what better way to make use of a specific Industry Reference framework to get going.  In Insurance-talk it make sense to based it on Acord, the Industry Reference Model and Standard.





Seeing What Others Don’t


The remarkable ways we gain insights and why some people understand things and others don’t was brilliantly positioned  by the book of Gary Klein with the same title.

This also help me in adding some specific features to  freshInsight  the go-to tool of choice for the professional Consultant.  This bring me to the point of connecting the dots and determining which dots to connect.

In freshInsight Visualisation is used to help:

  1. removing the non-dots
  2. clarifying the ambiguous dots
  3. grouping the dots that look different but are really the same and therefore arguably help you connect the dots for real Insight!




DONE is better than Perfect

doneVolume, complexity of work and relentless deadlines have a tendency that we somehow loose control in the outcomes we seek.

Those outcomes always influenced by the size of the task and the amount of polishing required, force most of us to try and improve the deliverables to a shiny gloss before sharing.  It is even harder for those of us that seek true perfection.

One way to clear the head and engineer specific outcomes is to adopt the notion of “Done is better than Perfect“.

For Enterprise Shapers this means:

  1. if it is too big make it smaller
  2. get in the habit of shipping your work-products at regular intervals
  3. allow it to be experienced sooner than later – that means force yourself to share the “work-product” before set deadline e.g. 11 a.m or before closing up for the day.


Waffle Charts in Powerpoint

WaffleMany times one want to position things relative to others or provide an indication of status in a visually compelling way.  Enter Waffle charts also known as square pie charts.  Ideal for early high level positioning or where indicative positioning is required. They are completely unsuited for specifics and precision values, however, I have seen them used quite successful in Company Annual reports where internal divisions are compared relative to each other.

Herewith my interpretation of Waffle charts and how one can use them in Powerpoint.  Created sample prep pack that you can download, modify and use non-commercially for your own purposes.

Always check-in for latest copy, because I habitually update these when I found more time and/or inspiration.

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication

EAViewBusiness is not that complex…. it is just that there are too many people making it complex.  What is sometimes more worrying is that the very people that should embrace simplicity is shrouding the Enterprise into more complexity.

For a long time I hold the view that one could shape an Enterprise Architecture by just compiling some lists.  Hold on I hear some of you say.  What about TOGAF, what about all the EA Toolsets, what about Enterprise Models, what about….

Well proof is in the pudding and I have just completed a big EA Project doing just that.    In the process I have also created a SuperMapper Toolkit in Excel which allows creation of these lists and using a simple dynamic facility to interconnect these.  Result …. always easier for business and technical audience to make a couple of lists than trying to complete a meta-model.

I have also found that I could generate clear, concise viewpoints from these that genuinely address essential issues and establish a concrete course of action.

SuperMapper Toolkit is now part of freshInsight, the preferred go-to tool for Business & Technology Shapers

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Make sense of the Enterprise


Latest statistics show more than 1 Billion installed copies of MS PowerPoint with an estimated user base of more than 500 million.   Consequently 30 million presentations are created every day.  Of these more than 120 million people are creating PowerPoint collateral for Business & Education use alone.  Therefore this means that most Business Conversations, Strategies, Project Statuses and Business IP are embedded in some or other form within PowerPoint.

In order to make sense of this,  I have a released the DIY PowerPoint Harvester Toolkit in the form of a macro enabled Excel spread sheet.  It is part of the freshInsight Visualisation service which you may already be making use of.
Accompanying graphic from freshInsight Service showing how the conversation changed during the lifespan of a large Project.  This is one of the visualisations available from the Service using the Toolkit as input.

Using the DIY Toolkit one can:

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Paint the Big Picture

BigPic You are the Enterprise Architect and most often you will be required to develop the “BIG-PICTURE” for the organisation.  Specifically this is the diagram that shows the complete architecture at a 50K feet level.  So how do you do that?

Firstly create a Canvas which makes sense to your environment upon which you can lay out the different building blocks.  Without the Canvas the design space will be too big and empty and you will struggle to get traction.   One way that works quite well is a Canvas consisting of Front-Stage(Customer facing), Back-Stage(Resource facing) & Supporting( things supporting).

Secondly compile a set of course grain Domains  and finer grain Building Blocks within that makes up the architecture.  Craft it specifically to fit into the canvas groupings.

Lastly only ever “paint” the WHAT dimension and never the “HOW”.    Of course How will eventually need to be answered but never at this level, otherwise your “Big Picture” will be complex and difficult to interpret.  Some Tips:

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