Business Maturity and dealing with the unexpected

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Business Maturity and dealing with the unexpected

Watching Tom Graves’ excellent video presentation entitled ‘Same and different: architectures for mass uniqueness’ made me think seriously about how businesses, when assessing their maturity, include amongst their capabilities, the ability to handle the unexpected.

Three examples in the presentation particularly grabbed my attention:

  • How identity systems deal with names; with the full name of Pablo Picasso, if captured, likely to break many.
  • The case of the conjoined twins and the processes needed to support their unique situation.
  • The “United Breaks Guitars” scenario and the consequences of not dealing with a disgruntled customer.

It is extremely important that, as well as being able to deal successfully with the expected, that flexible processes be established to deal with the unexpected.

Whilst it can be ‘relatively’ simple to create an automated rules engine to deal with the known, what happens when there is an exception?

It is the exceptions, unless accommodated, which causes systems to break with consequences that may be highly undesirable.

When exploring individual business capabilities it is essential that the question “What if?” be asked frequently. Such as:

  • What if the parameters of a system are exceeded?
  • What if a situation occurs for which there is no business rule?

When a ‘what if’ scenario eventuates and it has not been mitigated the business needs to have a contingency plan?

When defining business maturity it is important that the business positions itself to ‘expect the unexpected’. True maturity involves being able to ‘cope’ when confronted with the unexpected.

UK based Tom Graves is a global thought leader in Enterprise Architecture, he is a regular presenter at international EA conferences such as the Open Group and the author of several extremely readable books on EA theory and practice.

The video can be seen at:

Tom’s weblog is located at and is well worth following.

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One Response to Business Maturity and dealing with the unexpected

  1. Peter t says:

    Very interesting indeed.
    Tom is coming down under to lead and EA masterclass too.


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