Using the Business Motivation Model: Influencers and Assessments

The first blog provided a brief introduction into what BMM is and isn’t, and then discussed the two most popular concepts of the model, Means and End. To recap, the basic idea is that business motivation and strategy can be split into two categories, an end state (or states) and a set of means and plans to get there, such that the means help realise the end. The following diagram provides a simplified view of these concepts and their relationships.

Means and End Visual 

Means and End Visual 

This post will go on to describe three other essential concepts (Influencer, Assessment and Impact) as well as return to the Means concept to explore the idea of Directives. The previous diagram can be expanded to conclude these new concepts.

Drivers Means and End

Drivers Means and End

Influencers, Assessments, and Impacts are all about understanding the reasons why an enterprise wants (or needs) to change – they are the Drivers for change in an enterprise.

The basic idea is to examine the environment in which the enterprise exists in order to identify Influencers and then make some Assessments about them.  These Assessments can then be used to guide and direct how an enterprise may respond to an Influencer in order to take advantage of (or mitigate) its Impact.  Assessments may also help in identifying and defining the End statements.

Remember that BMM is not a methodology, the arrows indicate relationships not process flow.  That said, you can probably see that this form of modelling lends itself to an iterative approach.

Influencer, Assessment and Impact

Influencers are the things that affect an enterprise. They may be internal or external, and are often grouped or categorised in ways that are meaningful to the enterprise. For example competitor, customer and partner are examples of external Influencer groups while infrastructure, capability, and culture are examples of internal Influencer groups. Most importantly, an Influencer is a neutral statement of fact which must then be assessed to identify the impact.

An Assessment is a judgment of an Influencer that discusses how the Influencer may affect Means and Ends.  Assessment can be grouped if needed. The BMM does not mandate any specific categorisation but discusses the use of SWOT based grouping.  Personally, I am not the biggest fan of SWOT for many reasons.  There are plenty of other approaches that could be used, such as SCORE, PEST, NOISE, SCOPE. You can find plenty of information on the Interweb, but a good starting place can be found at Sideways Thoughts.

An Impact provides an evaluation of an Assessment describing the potential effect of an assessment in more quantitative terms (where possible). Again, no specific grouping is provided, but the BMM does discuss a simple split between risk and reward.

BMM Risk and Reward

BMM Risk and Reward

Means revisited

Means was discussed in the previous post, but for simplicity I left out the concept of Directive. Whereas Mission, Strategy and Tactics are all descriptions of how an enterprise will go about achieving the desired Ends a Directive is more about governance of action than action itself. They can be viewed as requirements that are used to guide and constrain Strategies and Tactics.

Some key concepts deliberately omitted

In the first post I mentioned that in the interest of creating readable blog posts and avoiding the trap of over analysis by applying a ‘just enough modelling’ principle, I deliberately simplified or omitted some concepts. Here are some of those with a brief explanation of what they and why they are omitted – just jump to the conclusion if you aren’t too concerned.

Concepts Left Out Of BMM

Concepts Left Out Of BMM

The BMM has a complex set of relationships between the various concepts. I have limited this to a few simple relationships such as influences, realisation, aggregation and association.  The main reason for this is to provide a clean mapping to the relationships available in Archimate.  I also find that the relationships could be verbose but still added little extra meaning beyond what can be achieved with the four I selected.

Course of Action and Desired Result are two concepts used to encapsulate the more tangible Means and Ends concepts. Course of Action can be either a Strategy or Tactic; Desired Result can be either a Goal or Objective. Because I chose not to model all of the relationships in BMM these two concepts became largely irrelevant. Even in BMM they are treated more as containers than as concepts with specific meaning.

A Directive is modelled in BMM either as Business Rule or Business Process. This can be easily achieved by grouping Directives, just as Assessment and Impacts can be grouped.  For this reason I decided to keep things as simple as possible and not model them explicitly.


So far I have introduced the BMM model and described some of the core concepts, focusing on those that I feel are useful when modelling motivation for small to medium sized enterprises. This is sufficient to start modelling in an unstructured manner on paper or using common drawing tools. But if the goal is to create a persistent architecture artefact that can be share, enhanced, and used to inform business improvement activities, then we need to model in a more formal and structured manner. The next blog post will look at how we can do this by using Archimate to define a BMM metamodel.

John Owen, Principal Architect at Cyma Limited

Email:  Twitter: @jiowen and @cymaltd