The OMG BMM provides an excellent framework and metamodel to understand and communicate the motivation behind change and for developing and defining business plans. The BMM is very thorough, providing the user with a comprehensive set of concepts and relationships to analyse and model motivation and it is very well suited, in fact designed, for large enterprises.
Successful enterprises are aware of change and will develop business plans to manage change, regardless of size. The BMM provides an excellent conceptual framework to do this, and with minimal effort it can be tailored to suit enterprises of all sizes.
This blog is the first in a short series that discuss the BMM within the context of a small to medium enterprise. In this article I will introduce the BMM and discuss the key concepts that can be usefully applied to any enterprise. Subsequent blogs will introduce a few more BMM concepts and then take a look at how to map these concepts onto a formal modelling language called Archimate, how to model motivation, and how to use it to inform road mapping activities.
Throughout this article I will use the term ‘enterprise’ rather than business, organisation, company etc. It can be legitimately used as a synonym for these terms and allows the discussion to be applied to a wider context than purely commercial operations. The word is also used to describe the desire or ability to to do something difficult or risky, which is certainly appropriate for the topic – change is difficult and risky, so it would be prudent to have considered any action carefully.
What is the BMM?
An enterprise does not exist in isolation. Instead, it lives in a world surrounded by many other enterprises, all of which have an influence on its own health and wellbeing. The BMM provides the language to describe these influencers and what an enterprise may choose to do about them. That said, it is important to note that BMM is not a formal definition of a metamodel. If we are to model it, then we must map it to a suitable formal language. It is also important to note that BMM is not a methodology that defines how to do this, but it does provide an excellent scaffold with which a strong business plan can be built.
As mentioned in the introduction, the BMM is a very detailed model that has been developed to support the definition of business plans – specifically, the definition of well informed business plans. To do this the BMM looks at the reasons why an enterprise may choose to change, what it may want to change to, and how it may go about changing. These are modelled respectively by the concepts of Influencers, Assessment, Means, and End.
Reducing an OMG specification into a short set of blog posts necessitated some omissions and simplifications, and I will certainly have introduced my own interpretation along the way as well. Furthermore, following a simple principle of ‘just enough modelling’ I have also removed elements of BMM that are not relevant in the context of small to medium sized enterprises. If you are interested in the full text and official definitions, you can find it on the OMG BMM site.
In the next few sections I provide a quick introduction to Means and End, the others will be dealt with in the next blog. The following diagram provides a simplified view of the concepts and their relationships – there are many versions of this view so it may well look familiar.
The basic idea is that business motivation and strategy can be split into two categories, an end state (or states) and a set of means and plans to get there, where the means help realise the end. Read on for more details.
Ends (actually often just End in the BMM – maybe to allow them to talk about ‘Means to an End’) are descriptions of the things an enterprise wants to achieve or to become. They describe the result of doing something. The core End concepts are Vision, Goal, and Objective.
A Vision is an aspirational statement of a future state, although it could also capture current state as well where this is of value. Goals are qualitative statements that describe an achievable part of an enterprise’s Vision, which are in turn quantified by one or more Objectives.
Means are descriptions of how an enterprise will go about achieving the desired Ends. They describe the actions and activities that must be performed in order to achieve an outcome. The core Means concepts are Mission, Strategy, Tactic, and Directive.
A Mission provides statements about operational, day-to-day, activities that will realise Vision. Strategies describe agreed approaches to achieve a particular Mission, and thereby realise a Goal or Vision. Strategies are definitions of longer term plans and activities which are comprised of shorter term Tactics. The role of a Tactic is to implement part of a Strategy, and thereby realise an Objective or Goal.
In this blog I have introduced the BMM model and how I think it can be used to help enterprises of all sizes, if used appropriately. I have described two of the core concepts, Means and End, and will go on to discuss Influencer and Assessment in the next blog. After that we can get into the details of how to use BMM.
John Owen, Principal Architect at Cyma Limited
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @jiowen and @cymaltd
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.