VPEC-T is a Systems Thinking framework with 5 dimensions (Values, Policy, Events, Content and Trust). VPEC-T is useful in the context of Enterprise Architecture, particularly in terms of exploring the full breadth of the Information System and their related concerns.
VPEC-T Enterprise Architecture Mind Map (click to enlarge)
Architectural Frameworks such as TOGAF will be very familiar to Enterprise Architects, VPEC-T perhaps less so. How then does VPEC-T’s dimensions knit together with familiar and traditional architectural concepts such as TOGAF’s domains?
A high-level view is given in the VPEC-T Enterprise Architecture MindMap above.
The PEC Dimensions of VPEC-T
As outlined in the ‘must read’ book Lost In Translation the PEC dimensions of Policy, Events and Content have a close mapping against Enterprise Architecture concerns such as Governance, Business Architecture, Information Architecture, Application Architecture, Technical Architecture, Security Architecture, and Integration Architecture.
Lost in Translation – the origins of VPEC-T
Lost In Translation – a handbook for information systems in the 21st century
The mappings below are intentionally high-level and therefore non-exhaustive. The purpose is to highlight the mapping between VPEC-T and high level architectural concepts.
The Policy Dimension of VPEC-T maps naturally to:
- Information Architecture in terms of Data Retention policies, Information Handling Models etc.
- Security Architecture in terms of security policy and legislation, Confidentiality, Integrity and Availability requirements and business continuity
- Business Architecture in terms or organisational design and roles and responsibilities.
The Events Dimension of VPEC-T Maps Naturally To:
- Integration Architecture (SOA, REST etc.)
- Event Driven Architecture
- Information Architecture (Real-time analytics, Complex Event Processing, Pattern Based Strategy, Predictive Analytics, Big Data Analytics)
- Security Architecture – Protective Monitoring, SIEM, Fraud Detection, Alerts
- Strategy in terms of external events and reaction to market forces.
The Content Dimension Maps Naturally To:
- Patterns, Anti-Patterns, Reference Architecture and Principles
- EA Artefacts (Models, Meta-Models, Semantics)
- Information Architecture (Canonical, Logical, Physical Data Models, Data Flows, Formats, Transformation, Taxonomies, Data Dictionaries)
- Technical Architecture concerns such as storage, scalability, sizing, availability, device independence, mobile access, consumerisation
- Strategy – reporting strategy, KPIs, tolerances
The V & T Dimensions
The Values and Trust dimensions are equally useful.
The Values Dimension Maps Naturally To:
- Values Analysis (Value Stream Analysis, Value Network Analysis etc.)
- Strategy (Ethics, Sustainability, Corporate Responsbility)
- Target Operating Model (how do we want to do business and what do we stand for)
- Business Architecture – organisational design, corporate values and behaviours and how this affects the People and Process dimensions of the Information System.
The Trust Dimension Maps Naturally To:
- Security Architecture (Trust Domains, Identity Management, Registration, Enrolment, Authentication, Authorisation, Non-repudiation, digital signatures)
- Business Architecture (optimising organisational design, Social Network Analysis, Human Factors, Transformation and Change)
- Technical Architecture (Delivering Security Enforcing Functions in the infrastructure and application designs)
- Risk Management
- Data Architecture (data quality, provenance etc.)
- Stakeholder and Communications Management
The Beauty of VPEC-T
VPEC-T has many virtues. I think some of the most important are:
- It maps naturally to Enterprise Architecture concepts (as described above)
- It is simple to tailor for small / large problem domains
- Problem solving is easily geared towards a particular dimension. This is a useful for gaining new perspective on old problems, or tackling system weaknesses
- It focuses thinking on ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ aspects of problems. This ensures holistic Information Systems thinking, not just Information Technology ‘solutioning’
- It is intuitive and has a shallow learning curve.
Thanks to Nigel Green (VPEC-T co-creator) for providing comments on an early draft of the MindMap.
Some other resources for further study:
- http://taotwit.posterous.com/vpec-t-a-thinking-framework-presented-to-scio (by Nigel Green)
- http://servicefab.blogspot.com/2010/06/chris-bird-applying-p-e-c-sabre.html (PEC led Design, by Chris Bird)
- http://servicefab.blogspot.com/2006/08/problem-with-processes.html (the blog post that eventually gave birth to VPEC-T and Lost In Translation
Further Reading on Systems Thinking
- Systems Thinking: Coping with 21st Century Problems (Industrial Innovation Series)
- Systems Thinking in the Public Sector: The Failure of the Reform Regime… and a Manifesto for a Better Way
- Systems Thinking for Social Change: A Practical Guide to Solving Complex Problems, Avoiding Unintended Consequences, and Achieving Lasting Results
- The Systems Thinking Playbook: Exercises to Stretch and Build Learning and Systems Thinking Capabilities
- Draw How to Make Toast – an introduction to Systems Thinking and Wicked Problem Solving by Tom Wujec