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Service Contracts

implied promises tell the real story of a service

Services are rooted in promises, and there are always two sides to any promise. Anything meaningful within a service: outcomes, activities, tasks or resources etc, needs to be explored reflexively; seen from both sides of the handshake.

A promise is an undertaking or assurance given by one person to another, agreeing or guaranteeing to do or give something or not do or give something, in the future.

Services emerge from promises.

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Framing Services

strategy and components in context of time and place

“Services” are a means of encoding and expressing strategy through design. Carefully chosen and well-defined vocabularies help reveal the contours of the solution space.

Services Frames provide a syntax for our taxonomies, a binding for our stories, allowing us to describe a Service without being overly prescriptive, preserving optionality.

A Frame is a proposal through which — by applying a particular pattern of relationship — we can create a desired outcome.

— Kees Dorst

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Death by KPI

the budget is the voice of the customer

Business process modeling typically starts with the assumption that the stated business objectives are the function and purpose of the service; on the surface of it, a seemingly reasonable proposition.

But think about the sum of all activities in a business … are they all explainable in terms of the officially stated objectives? Even when you subtract wasteful activities, there will still be many useful and essential activities which don’t map cleanly to the approved value streams.

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An Urgent Need for Understanding

language as articulation of reality

It would be wrong to assume that everyone has the same interest in resolving ambiguity. A lot can be hidden in the shadows cast by vague and uncertain terms. Equivocation can be an effective tactic for protecting turf. Unilateral change to an agreement can surface as a result of shifting interpretation of words; ambiguity can camouflage an ambush in waiting.

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