Chapter 6. Department Context

This short chapter catalogs the patterns you can use within a departmental level.

Principles, Practices, Tools

This pattern helps you organize your thoughts, and consider the department holistically in the following situations:

  • Aligning teams around a vision, especially a new direction

  • Setting up a new department

  • Creating a new structure within your department

  • Creating a new methodology

  • Introducing a new process or changing an existing one

  • Developing an enterprise architecture

  • Creating a “get well” plan

  • Creating a Roadmap for a turnaround or change management plan

  • Creating an efficiency plan or streamlining activities

  • Choosing a toolset

  • Making a build/buy/partner decision

  • Aligning around a platform

  • Devising a portfolio management plan

Its purpose is to help you and your teams get a clear picture of how your department works and to show them how their daily work supports the vision.

This pattern helps you create alignment in your department by showing the linkage between the principles you have, the practices you have, and the tools you employ. It helps you create a unified and efficient department because you are drawing a connection between these three things. That means first that you must have each of them in place.


A principle is a proposition (as we saw in Chapter 2). It serves as the foundation for a system of beliefs. As propositions, principles are abstract, but they should precipitate actions on the ...

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