Capability modeling seems simple but is hard to do in practice. If you browse literature or the internet you’ll find only very little advice. No ‘Capability Modeling Guide’ out there. To change that, the Architectural Thinking Framework includes a draft of detailed guidelines that show how to model capabilities step-by-step.
Last week we discussed how to apply industry-specific capability reference models and how to use your existing process- or value stream maps. Today we provide step-by-step instructions to design a map that is easy to be understood by business stakeholders. Enjoy!
Draw a crystal clear Map
When modeling a business capability, ask yourself the following questions:
- ‘Have I understood enough of my business to name the capability this way?’
- ‘Is this capability essential for the business?’
- ‘What if the company does not provide this capability?’
- ‘Are the names we gave the business capabilities suitable? Are these names common to most of the business people?’
The business capability model is the center-piece of your architectural effort. For this reason, it should be graphically lay-outed in a way that is self-descriptive and can be grasped instantly.
- Model approx. 6-10 capabilities on the top level;
- Model two max. three hierarchical layers of capabilities;
- Name capabilities consistently (e.g. ‘Contract Management’);
- Describe each capability with at least half a page of text. It is important that these texts are deeply understood by you and accepted by the business people;
- Write the description of the capabilities iteratively. Start with a few sentences, discuss them with stakeholders, and add more and more details in following iterations.
When drawing the capabilities as boxes in your graphical model, it is important to arrange them graphically in a logical order:
- Model customer-facing capabilities at the top (‘Sales & Service’);
- Model capabilities for core processes at the bottom (‘Operation & Execution);
- Model supporting capabilities on the right (‘Management & Support);
- Make sure that all of the boxes are of the same size and aligned well.
The following map is the result of applying the steps to a simplified example bank: