Systema: Some Basics

Chris Collins has written a good Introduction to the Zachman Framework that I recommend with a caution: I do not accept that John Zachman fully understands what he is talking about. What this means to me is I will be gradually divorcing myself from using the term Zachman Framework and use the term “Systema” instead. He himself acknowledges that he borrowed his concept from the six interrogatives and construction terminology and from all I’ve read I do not feel that John ever fully explored what he used indepth.

If he had he would have realized there is only one true dimension which are the six unities, which I borrow modified from Aristotle. Every new dimension is simply a repeat of the six unities.

My terminology continues to evolve:

  1. Causus: Problem – The Mavin – provides niche – possibility
  2. Cognitus: Hypothesis – The Connector – provides associations – compatibility
  3. Artus: Method – The Salesman – provides purchase rationale – reliability
  4. Datus: Apparatus – The Accountant – provides mass market – economy
  5. Eventus: Result – The Secretary – provides delivery schedule – accessibility
  6. Locus: Location – The Receptionist – provides product touchpoints – geography

This brings to mind The Innovator’s Dilemma and shows that the tipping point is between reliability and economy.

He would have also pointed out that there are only four fundamental verbs that can be performed on the six factors. I am still refining the icon design.


Systema: Mix Thirty-Six

I came up with this representation of de Bono’s “Six Thinking Hats” and Zachman’s “Framework Focuses” early in this blog’s lifetime. I am hoping I have achieved the final form as we see it here. The major change is the switch between the last two rows and the switch between the last two columns. I consider this structure a fixed hierarchy both vertically and horizontally.

As part of my reflection upon this I created a table to think about the various hexads I’ve encountered:

One thing I realize from this exercise is that events are the definitions of the system. If you do not define an event you will never observe it. In other words, you cannot see what you are not looking for. Nodes are the instances of the system and provide the affordances the outside world can manipulate.

You can also see here that I have categorized cause, energy and time as “logical” and observer, mass and space as “physical”. I am just playing here, but what are the potential implications? Could cause, energy and time be simply logical constructs? Could observer, mass and space be the only truly physical constructs?

Related Post:

Systema: Seven Hats, Seven Links

Systema: Fly With An Eagle

I just came from Karen López’s website and I really enjoyed going through the blog, articles and discussion forums. There is a wealth of information on enterprise architecture, data architecture, data modeling and data modeling tools. The quality of the site is highly professional, informative and complements the corporate identity. It is obvious the principals of the company love their profession and go out of their way for the professional community as well as doing pro bono work for academic institutions.

InfoAdvisors is an Information Technology and Engineering Consulting firm based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Karen López, I.S.P. is InfoAdvisors’ principal consultant. Rob Drysdale, P.Eng is our Senior Program Manager.

Ms. López has years experience consulting to organizations initiating large, multi-project information systems programs.

Mr. Drysdale has 4 years of consulting experience and 15 of engineering and management experience.

Visit the site and get the chance to fly with an eagle of the industry.

Systema: The Six Relationships

For years I have been thinking that there are only four relationships in data modeling:

  1. Many to Many
  2. One to Many
  3. One to One
  4. Recursive

At least that’s what the books seemed to say. However I have been reconsidering since I began exploring the Zachman Framework on my own. It has become apparent to me through many practical applications that the textbooks are not always right. Below are the six basic data modeling relationships:

As you can see there are three cursive and three recursive relationships. The cursive relationships are between two separate entities. The recursive relationships are between an entity and itself. Restating them, they are:

  1. Cursive Many to Many
  2. Cursive One to Many
  3. Cursive One to One
  4. Recursive Many to Many
  5. Recursive One to Many
  6. Recursive One to One

Many to many relationships are resolved as illustrated below:

How does this fit into the Zachman Framework? Let’s examine the framework as I illustrate it below:

As you can see relationships each serve a purpose. Concepts are associations between intstances of differing entities. Contexts are one to many relationships between instances of differing entities. Logics are one to one relationships between instances of differing entities. Physics are associations between instances of the same entity. Spherics are one to many relationships between instances of the same entity. Episodics are one to one relationships between instances of the same entity.

Another way to consider this diagram is the first three relationships involve attributes, while the second three relationships involve domains.

Systema: Zachman on Zachman


I came across The Zachman Framework and Observations on Methodologies by John Zachman today. In it he addresses his approach to his framework over the past 25 years. John reveals that he has refused to publicly tinker with and change his framework much at all. He also points out that the framework is still ahead of its time technologically–the tools don’t exist to populate the entire framework.

An article I recommend reading.

Systema: Off with the Hats, Off with the Coats

In having attempted to think with the Six Thinking Hats metaphor developed by Edward de Bono and attemping to extend it by creating a Six Coat metaphor, I came to the conclusion that Edward was taking the wrong approach. He was using different colors, but he was not differentiating by shape. Consequently, his mnemonic device was hard to retain.

Using the icons I created in the previous post I am now going to abandon Six Hats, Six Coats and abstract the Zachman Framework for Enterprise Architecture using these new mnemonic devices. I hope to improve them with time.


What is not recognized by John Zachman and Enterprise Architects is that the rows and columns of the framework are synonymous and fixed. That indeed there is only one methodology. This means the following:

  1. All concepts are created only by motives. Each motive has a unique set of the six focus concepts or entities.
  2. All contexts are created only by people. Each person has a unique set of the six focus contexts or relationships.
  3. All logics are created only by functions. Each function has a unique set of the six focus logics or attributes.
  4. All physics are created only by data. Each datum has a unique set of the six focus physics or constraints.
  5. All spherics are created only by nodes. Each node has a unique set of the six focus spherics or definitions.
  6. All episodics are created only by events. Each event has a uniques set of the six focus episodics or manipulations.

This is what social networks are teaching us on a smaller scale. When we look at a social network we are seeing contexts being created by persons. But there are five additional focuses (motives, functions, data, nodes, events) that create five additional perspectives (concepts, logics, physics, spherics and episodics) respectively. This we do not fully understand or apply.

Although our thinking is organic and we do not recognize the above framework, any reproduction and refinement of the results would require recording and executing them in this disciplined fashion.

Icons: Zachman SQL

I’ve been tinkering with improving the graphic presentation of the Zachman Framework. These icons are the first step in that process: