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#8 Clear Accounatbilities

Today's Enterprise Design pattern is about defining clear ownerships for elements of your Enterprise Design (like capabilities, processes, or information). Owners are responsible for the whole lifecycle (designing, building, maintaining, budgeting) of what they own.


“You need an accountability framework that balances autonomy and alignment.” - Jeanne Ross et.al.

You need decisions (small or big) to support the direction of a coherent Enterprise Design.


Without clearly defined ownerships, people make isolated decisions that lead to the decay of a coherent Enterprise Design. When responsibilities are unclear, decision-makers and autonomous teams take responsibility for their own domains only, not for the enterprise as a whole. Design decisions are made without understanding the impact on the wider enterprise.


You help establish clear ownerships and dependencies based on architectural elements and their relationships (e.g. journeys, products, capabilities, processes). You use this framework to: . Show that owners are responsible for the whole lifecycle (designing, building, maintaining, budgeting) of what they own; . Help assign ownership to committees, teams and individuals; . Define clear accountability for committees, making sure to leave enough design freedom for autonomous teams.


You have a strong counterforce in place against the common decay of Enterprise Design, which helps you support a managed evolution towards a well-designed enterprise.

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About the author

Milan Guenther

Milan Guenther

Intersection Group
Paris, France

Milan’s work is about design applied to the enterprise level. He is president of Intersection Group and a co-founder of Enterprise Design Associates, working with enterprises like Google, SAP, Toyota, ThoughtWorks, OECD and the UN, and scaling startups such as Back Market and Raisin. 12 years back, Milan launched a social software startup and designed a patented innovation for Boeing's flight decks. Today, he works with enterprises of all shapes and sizes to bring entrepreneurship to life: designing brands, products and organisations, operations and systems, to make enterprises deliver and useful to people. His first book Intersection introduces this Enterprise Design approach, and he is co-organising the Intersection conference series since 2014. He is co-author of the book Enterprise Design Patterns and key contributor to EDGY, an Open Source tool for co-creating better enterprises, adopted by organisations around the globe. Milan teaches design for innovation and transformation in master level and executive education programs at Télécom Paris and Sciences Po Paris. He is a frequent keynote speaker and workshop facilitator at international events on Enterprise Design and Architecture.