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Business Architecture - Glossary of Terms

Affinity Diagram

A technique used to organize a group of related statements, terms or business artifacts into categories based upon some underlying similarities between the items.

Business Artifact

An abstracted, named category or subcategory of a business that is used to construct a business knowledge base. Examples include organization unit, capability or process.

    Note: This aligns well with the traditional use of the term. Webster states that an artifact can be:

1 a: Something created by humans usually for a practical purpose

1 b: Something characteristic of or resulting from a particular human institution, period, trend, or individual 2: A product of artificial character (as in a scientific test) due usually to extraneous (as human) agency

Business Architecture

A blueprint of the enterprise that provides a common understanding of the organization and is used to align strategic objectives and tactical demands.

    Source: and

Business Process

A collection of interrelated tasks, which solve a particular issue.


Business Asset


A particular ability or capacity that a business may possess or exchange to achieve a specific purpose or outcome.

Source: “A Business-Oriented Foundation for Service Orientation”, Ulrich Homann, 2006      Source: “A Business-Oriented Foundation for Service Orientation”, Ulrich Homann, 2006

The capacity or quality of having the potential to provide one or more functions or services.

Source: “Capability Cases: A Solution Envisioning Approach”, Polikoff, Coyne and Hodgson, Addison Wesley - Pearson Eduction, 2006      .

An activity which can be performed for a variable set of circumstances.

Source: Enterprise Agility, working definition.

Capability Map

A diagram of the capabilities for a particular business.

Decision Model

A technique for identifying the set of decisions that must be made to support a gate along a gated process for approving an initiative. Decisions may also be broken down hierarchically to decompose decisions.


Enterprise Blueprint

A map, similar to a blueprint of a city, building or ship, of an enterprise.

Heat Diagram

A technique for graphically illustrating how elements of a diagram, typically a process or capabilities map, are impacted by one or more other factors. For example, a process model highlighted to indicated the which activities have received significant levels of investment.

Indirect Metric






An administrative and functional structure.

    Source: Webster’s Online Dictionary

Organization Unit: A part of an organization.

    Source: OMG Business Motivation Model


A portfolio refers to a collection of projects or programs and other work that is grouped together to facilitate effective management. The projects or programs of a portfolio may not necessarily be interdependent or directly related. For example, an infrastructure firm that has the strategic objective of “maximizing the retum on its investments” may put together a portfolio that includes a mix of projects in oil and gas, power, water, roads, rail, and airports. From this mix, the firm may choose to manage related projects as one program. All of the power projects may be grouped together as a power program. Similarly, all of the water projects may be grouped together as a water program.

Portfolio management refers to the centralized management of one or more portfolios and inc1udes identifying, prioritizing, authorizing, managing, and controlling projects, programs, and other related work. Portfolio management focuses on ensuring that projects and programs are reviewed to prioritize resource allocation,

    Source: PMI, A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, 4th Edition, 2008.

Process-to-Capability Mapping


A program refers to a group of related projects managed in a coordinated way to obtain benefits and control not available from managing them individually. Programs may include elements of related work outside the scope of the discrete projects in the program. Sorne examples of programs include:

  • A new car model program that involves projects for the design and upgrades of each major component (e.g., the transmission, engine, interior, and exterior) while ongoing manufacturing occurs on an assembly line, and
  • An electronics firm that has program managers who are responsible for both individual product releases (projects) and the coordination of multiple releases over a period of time(an ongoing operation).

Program management can be viewed as the centralized, coordinated management of a group of projects to achieve the program's objectives and benefits. Programs can involve several repetitive or cyc1ical undertakings. For example, utility companies may combine a series of projects into an annual “construction program.”

    Source: PMI, A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, 4th Edition, 2008.


Projects are a means of organizing activities that cannot be addressed within the organization's normal operational limits. Projects are often utilized as a means of achieving an organization's strategic plan.

Projects are typically authorized as a result of one or more of the following strategic considerations. Some examples of these include, but are not limited to:

  • Market demands (e.g., an oil company authorizes a project to build a new refinery in response to chronic gasoline shortages),
  • Organizational needs (e.g., a training company authorizes a project to create a new course to increase its revenues),
  • Customer requests (e.g., an electric utility authorizes a project to build a new substation to serve a new industrial park),
  • Technological advances (e.g., a software firm authorizes a new project to develop a new generation of video games after the introduction of new game-playing equipment by electronics firms), or
  • Legal requirements (e.g., a chemical manufacturer authorizes a project to establish guidelines for the handling of a new toxic material).

Projects, within programs or portfolios, are a means of achieving organizational goals and objectives, often in the context of a strategic plan. Although a group of projects within a program can have discrete benefits, they often also contribute to consolidated benefits as defined by the program.

    Source: PMI, A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, 4th Edition, 2008.




A Strategy is one component of the plan for the Mission.

    Source: OMG Business Motivation Model



A Tactic is a Course of Action that represents part of the detailing of Strategies. A Tactic implements Strategies.

    Source: OMG Business Motivation Model


Trade-off Matrix


A tangible or intangible good or service, knowledge, or benefit that is desirable or useful to its recipients so they are willing to return a fair price or exchange.

    Source: The Value Evolution: Addressing larger implications of an intellectual capital and intangibles perspective, Verna Allee, Journal of Intellectual Capital, Vol. 1, No. 1, 2000, pp17-32.

Value Chain

Depicts major segments of the business that contribute to the lifecycle of a product to deliver value to the customer.

    Source: “Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance” Michael Porter, 1985 

Value Model

    Source: “Value Based Requirements Engineering:Exploring Innovative e-Commerce Ideas", Jaap Gordijn, Vrije Universiteit, Hans Akkermans, Vrije Universiteit and AKMC Knowledge Management, February 4, 2003 

Value Network

A value network is any web of relationships that generates tangible and intangible value through complex dynamic exchanges between two or more individuals, groups, or organizations.

    Source: "A Value Network Approach for Modeling and Measuring Intangibles", Verna Allee, White Paper Presented at Transparent Enterprise, Madrid, November 2002

Value Stream

An end-to-end collection of activities that create a result for a customer.

    Source: “Enterprise Business Architecture”, Whittle & Myrick, Auerbach, 2005


glossary.txt · Last modified: 2010/01/12 14:22 by nmcwhorter