A Transformation Tip From the Kitchen

Who would argue the fact that flour, that white powder made from ground-milled wheat, is critically important to our way of life? But despite the fact that there is flour in just about every food pantry in the planet, there are few people who would voluntarily scoop up a handful and shove it in their mouth.

The truth is: by itself, flour is dry, chalky, and makes a huge mess. I don’t know for sure, but I imagine if we ate it raw, it would turn into glue and give us a stomachache. The same can be said for the various products that we use to enable transformational activities in the Department. Enterprise Architecture, for example: By itself, Enterprise Architecture (EA) has been labeled as dry and hard to digest.

Magic happens, however, when we combine a few ingredients and add some heat. Flour, when mixed with sugar, butter, eggs, milk and maybe some cocoa, pecans, and a few drops of vanilla – and baked at 325 for 35 – 40 minutes – makes some pretty awesome brownies. When my wife makes brownies, I swear people smell them for miles and come running.

The same kind of magic happens when we combine our transformation products. An investment review, for example, that is mixed with Enterprise Risk Assessment Methodology (ERAM) wisdom, Standard Financial Information Structure (SFIS) constraints expressed as EA compliance criteria; placed in context, and “baked” under pressure at the decision making table for 30 minutes can produce results that people will love. The whole is truly better (and much more effective) than the sum of the parts.

* Investment review without EA or ERAM is like pure sugar. We get an empty short-term rush when we get funds certified, followed by a crash when long-term consequences are eventually realized.
* An Enterprise Transition Plan (ETP) without solid content in it is like a recipe card without anything written on it. A paper cut is about the best thing we can hope to get out of that.
* The whole mix of content provided by the EA, the ETP and investment review is like raw batter without heat If we don’t find a way to get it to the decision making table. It will eventually spoil if it’s not cooked & we’ll find ourselves making new batter.

The point is that we need it all. We need the finest ingredients, we need the recipe for assembling them, and we need heat and time to bake them. In the end, if we do a good job, we will have something that everyone wants a piece of.

For more posts on Defense Business Transformation, see my Blog on the subject.

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