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POET effectively defines an Operating Model for the Enterprise Transformation domain. As such, POET should be used in the same way as any other Operating Model - a means to organise and orchestrate all the parts together into a coherent whole, whose focus is the end to end efficiency and effectiveness of the whole domain, not the efficiency or effectiveness of only its parts.

An Operating Model does not tell people exactly what to do, when, how and with what. If it did, it would not be an Operating Model and it would not fulfil its purpose.

POET does not tell you what frameworks to use to improve the Transformation domain. It does not matter if an Enterprise wishes to use PEAF, ITIL, MSP, TOGAF, COBIT, RUP, MoV or any of hundreds of frameworks that currently exist. What does matter is that an Enterprise adopts the frameworks they select within the holistic and coherent context that POET provides.

Think Strategically. Act Tactically.

“How should I use POET?” is a common and perfectly reasonable question. However, it can be closely followed by …

“It’s too big - I can’t tell someone we are going to improve the Methods, Artefacts, Culture and Environment of everyone and everything related to Transformation - it’s just too big! No one is going to go for that!”

Which incorrectly implies:

We are advocating that there should be a massive project to improve the whole of the Transformation domain in one fell swoop.

Whilst POET encompasses the entire Transformation domain (from Strategy to Deployment) this does not mean that an Enterprise should embark on improving the entire Transformation domain in one fell swoop.

Tactical and piecemeal changes to parts of the Transformation domain is a perfectly reasonable way to improve things (evolution no revolution) but these changes need to be made in the context of a wider plan and an understanding of how the part that is being changed, relates to the larger and more important whole.

Most Enterprises do make some (not enough) changes to How they effect Transformation. Maybe they adopt ITIL or COBIT or PRINCE2. Maybe they buy some software tools to help manage the risks or requirements. There is nothing wrong with that per se. What is wrong, and where many problems come from, is that they do so without a clear understanding of how the part they are changing is related to other parts of the Transformation domain.

POET allows Enterprises to think strategically so they can then act tactically with respect to the Transformation domain instead of just acting tactically.

But the people in Enterprises can only think strategically if they are given time to think. If an Enterprise constantly drives its people to act and discourages them from doing anything else (because if you are not acting then you are not working) then they will be acting tactically without thinking strategically. This means that you will almost certainly win the battle. It also means that you will almost certainly lose the war.

“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory.

Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat”

- Sun Tzu

“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory.

Tactics without strategy is the fastest route to defeat”

- Kevin L Smith (Pragmatic EA)


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Questions to ponder...

What Operating Model for Transformation does your Enterprise use?

If it doesn’t use one, does that cause any problems?

Does your Enterprise think strategically and act tactically or just act tactically (with respect to improving How it effects Transformation)?

What initiatives has your Enterprise undertaken to improve How Transformation is effected?

What did your Enterprise use to ensure that those initiatives fitted into a holistic and coherent strategy?

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