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B to A or A to B

I read some where that if you want get somewhere there are four steps:

  1. decide where you want to go
  2. make sure you know where you are
  3. plot a route
  4. and go!

This formula encapsulates one thing that I think is critical - that you don't think about the As-Is until you know what the To-Be is. 

Why is this?  The first reason is efficiency, you only need to know enough about the current state to be able to get out of it.  Another reason is that if you understand too much about the present then it will constrain your thinking.  You will look for feasible routes from where you are and almost inevitably take the path of least resistance.  The third reason is that you will almost always repeat the mistakes of the past as you begin to understand the apparent reasonableness of folly.

Focusing on the To-Be first frees the mind to be creative and create a stretch ambition.  The collective mind is then motivated to develop a better future and is much more prepared to meet and beat the apparently insurmountable problems of the past.

There is a corollary to this this is not clear from the formula.  When plotting the route, start from the destination and work backwards, i.e. right to left planning is best practice for migration planning.

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Reader Comments (2)

One of the blog subscribers sent in the following comment by email...
"Very nice note.

I am in the middle of redesigning our application database. Having this sooner would have helped guide me out of a few pointless discussions.


November 7, 2008 | Registered CommenterAlan Inglis

Knowing where you want to be might not necessairly be the right way. The To Be Architecture can be defined on the journey, by an iterative mode, using process orchestrations and continual testing of the EA.

November 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDevils Advocate

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