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Microsoft Motion Light: Rapid Business Architecture Techniques

Ric Merrifield and Jon Tobey have a new article on MSDN outlining a "Lite" version of Microsoft's patent pending Motion Business Architecture Methodology.  It is a tool that can be used to identify, prioritize and select enterprise projects.


Microsoft used its Motion methodology for identifying companies in the business software market.  This led to Microsoft's purchase of Dynamics for 1.5 Billion USD. 

Motion provides a hierarchical capability model of the complete business using this patent pending Business Architecture that spent 3 years in development.  By design, it is technology agnostic and for the most part, acronym-free.

This Business Architecture provides a relatively simple, stable and objective method to establish context and identifiy high value areas of focus to aid in the prioritization of investment.  It also provides a common language to facilitate communication between IT and the business.

Core to the methodology is the concept of a "Capability".  A Capability is focussed on "what" is done not on the "how" of getting it done.  People, processes and technology are properties of a capability.  A typical view of a capability includes the following Service Level Expectations:

  • who owns it
  • who is the customer of it
  • what is the measure of success: Financial, volume produced, numbers of errors, time-based etc...
  • inputs and outputs
  • alternate paths to take when part or all of the Capability is inoperable
  • escalation path
  • in total there are about 100+ properties for each Capability

As you can see, this is a pretty heavy methodology.  A full-blown Motion Methodology project is typically eight weeks in length.  Motion Lite is a two-day short course that introduces you to the concepts employed in Motion and gets you started on project prioritization using this technique.

The article on MSDN explores Motion Light in depth and also provides a case-study example of the methodology in practice.

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