A Trail Map for the Book: The Journey Ahead
Structured as three integrated but separable parts, this book is accessible to readers ranging from business executives to practitioners to change agents and practice leaders:
Part I explains the rationale for and business value of using Solution Envisioning. The intended audience includes C-level executives, IT managers, business analysts, and solution architects responsible for making decisions about technology investments.
Part II is a practitioner’s handbook that provides a step-by-step guide in three progressive phases: Business Capability Exploration, Solution Capability Envisioning, and Software Capability Design. Practitioners include those responsible for organizing, conducting, and participating in solution envisioning engagements: business decision makers and analysts, enterprise architects, project managers, technology specialists, and software developers.
Part III answers the question: "How do we set up, tailor, and implement Solution Envisioning as a practice?" Through example cases, it shows how Solution Envisioning can be adapted to the needs of different situations. For change agents, champions, and others charged with implementing best practices, it provides additional guidance for planning, setting up, tailoring, and implementing Solution Envisioning.
The chapters in Part II of this book include a collection of techniques that are part of the Solution Envisioning method. These include critical thinking, root cause analysis, and exploration of known solution examples. We have also included a number of templates to assist the reader in developing key work products, such as a business case, concept of operations, architectural decisions, and non-functional requirements.
The end of this book provides indexes for techniques and templates. Although these techniques are an integral part of Solution Envisioning method, they can be (and have been) used productively on their own.
There are a number of ways to approach this book. Some suggested routes are depicted in the following trail map:
The core sequence of chapters is represented in the trail map as the "Main Loop."
Senior IT managers and business people may want to focus on the Introduction, Chapters 1, 2, 3, and 9—a "short loop." For a more a comprehensive overview, we recommend also reading Chapters 4 and 8. Some readers may also want to consult Appendix A.
Some readers may want to quickly jump into a more in-depth exposure to the process and techniques. They are likely to be experienced practitioners very familiar with the issues surrounding the business–IT gap and the recent changes in the world of business technology. We recognize these readers could become frustrated by the fact that we do not get into the details of Solution Envisioning and step-by-step instructions of applying it until Chapter 5. We suggest these readers take the "parachute route." This covers Chapters 2, 5, 6, 3, and 7, in that order, and, optionally, Chapters 8 and 9 for tips on getting started. Many of these readers may also want to consult the extra material in Appendices B and C.
Chapter 4 is an optional side excursion that may provide useful insights to many readers, whether taken in order or revisited. It explores the intent and design of Solution Envisioning, examining what makes it different and where it fits in the overall solution delivery process.