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Processes are goal-directed sequences of activities or tasks that are enabled by resources. They access or consume resources in order to enhance or produce other (hopefully more valuable) resources. For example, a process may consume a person's time to produce a document describing another new process. The document is a resource that has been produced by the process. Since processes may be nested to any level of granularity (all OPRs are fractal), they can represent high-level workflows as well as highly granular tasks. In the IT-organization model, we distinguish two types of processes to represent the granularities we require.
The granularities and names used for these processes are in full alignment with the rational unified process. They are
■ Workflows. Long-term, identifiable groupings of logically related activities.
■ Activities. Identifiable groups of logically related tasks. Tasks are measurable, atomic units of work that usually are associated with a specific technique. They are the smallest unit of planned and assigned work in an organization.
Resources are intelligent units of value, cost, and action in an organization. They represent sources of business value, work, and information used by other OPRs. Three types of resources of particular relevance exist in the IT organization:
■ Workers. Humans are important resources for an organization, of course. Moreover, the roles a person can fulfill are resources. In the IT-organization model, the relationship between a human resource and a role fulfilled by a human is known as a worker. This corresponds to the term worker as used in the rational unified process. A single person may have many worker relationships. For example, if Susan possesses the skills to fulfill the role of component developer or lead developer in a project, she may be assigned as the worker fulfilling both these roles.
Chapter 5: The IT-Organization Model
This explicit separation of humans from their potential roles, as well as the representation of the worker relationship between these two, is another important pattern in convergent engineering. As part of their responsibilities, workers coordinate all other, inanimate resources within an organization such as machinery, money, time, and so on.
■ Artifacts and change sets. Also in line with the Rational Unified Process (RUP), we denote the resources produced or used by the IT organization in the context of system development as artifacts.
Artifacts may be versioned alone or grouped into versioned sets. Such versioned groups are known as change sets. A change set may contain one or more artifacts. Change sets are managed using a configuration and change management (CCM) system, as described later. Thus, for our purposes, change set and artifact are synonyms, except that a change set may contain several named artifacts. We use the term change set when we speak of the artifacts grouped by the change set. In the IT-organization model, the artifacts and the change sets to which they belong are presented together with their respective managers. How and when these artifacts are created, and by whom, is the topic of the process model.
■ Technologies (reference technologies). The IT organization practices the same rules of technology management that it applies to other organizations of a business. Just as the IT organization rigorously plans and optimizes the application of technologies in other business organizations, the coordinated and planned use of technology is important for its own effective operation. Technologies developed outside the IT organization have been conceived in their own technological scope, oblivious of the concepts unifying a particular architectural style. This requires that certain critical technologies be positioned properly within the architectural style to avoid pollution of its concepts. At the same time, the architecture should leverage modern technologies effectively. To this end, the IT organization recognizes externally developed technologies as a special set of artifacts. It specifies those technologies used to support highly specialized activities in the IT organization. It does not specify a technology in cases where the choice of technology is noncritical (tangential) or noninvasive (for example, general office tools) from the perspective of the architectural style. In addition, the manager of the technology and its intended use in the IT organization are presented. Naming specific technologies in critical areas helps an IT organization get off to a running start. Clearly, the technologies specified here are reference technologies because they may be somewhat different in a particular instance of the Convergent Architecture. Even so, it is easier to get started based on a concrete, tried-and-true reference set. These technologies also will evolve with time, but the types of technologies used and their roles will remain stable. In other words, their evolution will be steady and clearly visible, not abrupt and obscure. As time goes by, the experience of the chief architect, in accordance with this worker's responsibilities, certainly will suffice to make the appropriate adaptations.