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:


Systema: Whyever? Part 3


Considering the definition of strategy that I have adopted in part 2 of this discussion, I also want to adopt a new definition for “tactics” and “operations”. The definitions would be as follows:

goals: the beginning, intermediate and terminal states of a system.

rules: the navigational and non-navigational processes relating goals.

strategy: a single path to a terminal goal observing the rules.

motivation: the complete set of strategies for a system.

tactics: the actual path followed during an actual session by a user or users.

Note: I have changed the definition of operation and added result based on the comment by Rita Heinlein. – relationary

operation: the actual non-navigational rule with parameters found in a tactical path.

result: the actual goal state achieved by an operation found in a tactical path.

With all the above considered I would suggest that information architecture be renamed to motivational modeling.

Systema: The Six Hats, Six Coats Hypercube

Later in this post we will discuss this man:


The following table represents my interepretation of the Zachman Framework:


I have taken this framework and applied the following de Bono metaphor:


I also incorporated my own metaphor to differentiate the axes:


These two modifications produced the following table:


This is where I had an “aha” moment. I asked myself what the entities would be:


I also recognized that in each column these entities were related hierarchically allowing the creation of a six dimensional hypercube. In creating the hypercube it was possible to look at a variety of “slices”. For example:


The table above combines Motive with Person. We can see that Motive is verbal while Person is a noun.

Next we will combine Function and Data to create another slice:


Again, Function is a verb and Data is a noun.

Let’s look at one final slice:


Here we see that nodes and time have many possible states.

But, why am I doing this exhaustive analysis of the possible combinations in the Six Hats, Six Coats hypercube?

Let’s go back in time for a moment and look at this table:


When Dmitri Mendeleev created this table to describe periodic behaviour of the elements, many of the elements had not been discovered. However, the table projected what the properties of those elements would be making the search much easier.

The Six Hats, Six Coats hypercube is also a form of periodic table. Its entire collection of possible cells are called the framework space. Many of the cells in the hypercube do not yet exist, however their properties can be predicted. This makes their search and discovery of system components systematic instead of random or organic.

Related Posts:

Systema: Seven Hats, Seven Links

Structured Thinking System: Attributes and Constraints

A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.
Sir Francis Bacon

One of my regular readers has asked me to put Lao-Tzu aside and tighten up my language. Since he is a Director of Emergency Management for a metropolitian area, I can understand his requirement for clarity and brevity. So I will put away my gong and see what I can do regarding what he says. He also asked me if I intend to use this concept and I want to make it clear that I will be the first to use it and I will use it until it works smoothly before putting anyone else at risk.

Another question that has come up is my continual tinkering with the terminology. I am doing so because the semantics are crucial to understanding this concept. I have found so far that wrestling with the terms reveals new layers of the concept I hadn’t seen before. For example, I have to distinguish between induction and deduction using a consistent terminology. This is not always obvious at first and requires several interations of refinement. I also wish to create a set of terms that are easy to remember. For example, I have been attempting to find a six letter word that starts with “RE” and means “trust”. Quite accidentally I came upon the term “REPOSE” and will be incorporating it into the vocabulary.

Anyone who has been following the full thread of this blog has probably discovered one of the underlying conclusions I have reached regarding the variety of Hexads I have created and explored. That conclusion is that the Six Hats, Six Coats Framework is a Cartesian Square. I also believe that the Structured Thinking System Entities are a Cartesian square. And now I am faced with the challenge of using the verb REPORT to create the attributes for the thirty-six Structured Thinking System entities.

Here is the latest version of the Structured Thinking System Entities:


I have already concluded the REPORT verb works with only six attributes:

  1. Motive
  2. Person
  3. Method
  4. Object
  5. Locale
  6. Moment

The RECORD verb is constrained to only six values per attribute:

  1. Motive: Reality, Unity, Quality, Quantity, Safety, Remedy
  2. Person: Creator, Leader, Master, Novice, Guide, Contact
  3. Method: Revise, Relate, Report, Record, Repose, Replace
  4. Object: Motive, Person, Method, Object, Locale, Moment
  5. Locale: Universal, Global, Official, Collegial, Habitual, Physical
  6. Moment: Year, Month, Day, Hour, Minute, Second

One of each of these attribute values are captured by the RECORD verb to define a Structured Thinking System entity’s state. The Structured Thinking System relationships define which of the states can be assigned according to the hierarchy.

Related Posts:

Systema: Seven Hats, Seven Links

What’s Right with the Zachman Framework

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Lao-tzu, The Way of Lao-tzu
Chinese philosopher (604 BC – 531 BC)

I just finished reading Graeme Simsion’s article What’s Wrong With The Zachman Framework? and found his opinions to be quite shallow.  His opinions show a limited exposure to the basic interrogatives–only as John Zachman has portrayed them–and a lack of knowledge that every modeling language uses combinations of the interrogatives to convey meaning.  The interrogatives are rarely dealt with individually and even Zachman makes this mistake in his examples regarding the focuses.

First, Simsion attacks the limitation of six perspectives.  He advocates adding a volume and cost perspective to the interrogatives.  He doesn’t realize that volume and value are irrelevant because the six interrogatives are scalable.  Second, the architecture metaphor is challenged.  Simsion never abstracted Zachman’s model.  If he had he would realize that the architectural metaphor conceals what the six perspectives are actually about:  Entities, Relationships, Attributes, Constraints, Definitions and Manipulations.  Third, Simsion claims there is no evidence of the plausibility of the Zachman Framework.  He fails to recognize that every modeling system is using the interrogatives to only partial effect and deriving significant benefits in quantity and quality of product.  There at this time is no product that integrates all of the interrogatives in the Zachman Framework.  Simsion also criticizes the framework for his inability to incorporate object oriented projects into it.  The reason for this is because he doesn’t realize that objects must be treated as attributes not as entities as laid down by Chris Date in his Third Manifesto.


The truth is the interrogatives have a foundation that goes back over three thousand years across every human culture.  A human system has six scalable characteristics:  Who, What, When, Where, How and Why.  A non-human system has four scalable characteristics:  What, When, Where and How.  I don’t recall anyone asking Einstein about Volume or Cost when he wrote E=mc².

Simsion’s article is a tribute to ignorance.  John Zachman’s interpretation only scratches the surface.

Business Modeling White Papers

The Zachman Framework states there are six focuses to any system. I have searched the web and have come up with white papers I feel best address each of these focuses. I also correlate them with my Six Coats metaphor:

Green Coat: Business Motivation Model from the Business Rules Group

Yellow Coat: Business Network Model (could not find an example)

White Coat: Business Data Model from Embarcadero Technologies

Black Coat: Business Process Model from the Business Process Management Initiative

Red Coat: Business Person Model from Cooper

Blue Coat: Business Event Model from IBM (Closest I could find)

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The Six Hats, Six Coats Framework

“You’ve come a long way baby.” — Virginia Slims

I have been attempting to come up with a means to communicate some of my insights without losing the heart of the Six Hats, Six Coats metaphor. I was sick of repeating the graphic without adding much more content. Finally, I have come up with the Six Hats, Six Coats Framework.

First, let’s refresh on what the Six Hats represent:


REVISE: Conceptualize. Expand Meaning. What are you enhancing or making right? Creativity.

RELATE: Contextualize. Focus on Uniqueness. What is your mantra? Relativity.

REPORT: Logicalize. Maximize Value. What are you normalizing to the limit? Optimicity.

RECORD: Physicalize. Minimize Cost. What is your business model? Pessimicity.

REFINE: Mechanicalize. Humanize Interaction. How do you lower the barriers to adoption? Anthropicity.

REPEAT: Operationalize. Synchronize. Increase Availability. How do you make yourself convenient? Synchronicity.

Second, lets refresh on what the Six Coats represent:


MOTIVE: Motivational. Why? Concepts affected.

LOCALE: Spatial. Where? Contexts affected.

OBJECT: Formal. What? Logics affected.

METHOD: Functional. How? Physics affected.

PERSON: Personal. Who? Humans affected.

MOMENT: Temporal. When? Synchrons affected.

Now, let’s look at some of our concepts in within the Six Hats, Six Coats Framework.

The first is Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (rows) and the Zachman Focuses (columns):


Second is McLuhan’s Laws of Media (rows) and the Zachman Focuses (columns):


Third is Moffett’s Universe of Discourse (rows) and the Zachman Focuses (columns):


The Data, Information, Knowledge and Wisdom Model hierarchy (rows) and Zachman Focuses (columns):


Now, we are going to break the rules. Perhaps we will see something we hadn’t considered.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (rows) and Moffett’s Universe of Discourse (columns):


McLuhan’s Laws of Media (rows) and Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (columns):


McLuhan’s Laws of Media (rows) and Moffett’s Universe of Discourse (columns):


Second last, “old reliable”, an abstract representation of the Zachman Framework:


Finally, one I call “Puzzles and Pieces”:


Hope you might see something new. It is sort of an ad nauseum excercise in search of a new pattern. Personally, I am reflecting on the similarity of multiple systems of thought about systems. “Puzzles and Pieces” was the outcome for me so far. The top three rows are the relationships above the individual entities (ie. Networks above Nodes) and the bottom three rows are the relationships below the individual entities (ie. Nodas below Nodes). I had to create some new terms for the focuses of the lower three rows.

See the latest version of the Six Hats, Six Coats Framework here.

Since I have created this framework I have made considerable progress and simplification you can see the result of this here.

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