I’ve recently been re-reading Scott Ambler’s excellent work on the Enterprise Unified Process and focusing my attention on the strategic reuse discipline, in particular. Dealing with this on a day-in, day-out basis, I’m trying to apply this particularly to the business domain that I work in, state government. I like the way that Scott went about illustrating the enterprise management disciplines with the traditional RUP workflow maps. Above and beyond this, he borrows from an earlier article of his, A Realistic Look at Object-Oriented Reuse, to create a couple of diagrams that really hit home. I’ve taken the opportunity to adopt these diagrams to enterprise work being done in state government. The adopted diagram can be found below.

Hierarchy of State Government Reuse

The comments to the right of the chart demonstrate that there are three coarsely delineated segments of reuse:

  1. Areas where domain-specific reuse is occurring now. Unfortunately, these areas fall towards the lower end of the benefit spectrum. In this segment, wholesale cross-state system transfers are particularly widespread. In many cases, the cost of the system being transferred is negligible or nonexistent due to federal funding rules. However, it is rare when these systems can be transferred without acquiring the knowledge of the people that created them. In many cases, this is an acceptable trade off because the domain in questions is inhospitable to other solutions and orthogonal to the domain for which they were originally created. Make no mistake, however, this is more a reuse of human resources and knowledge capital than it is of system elements.
  2. Areas where domain-specific reuse is not warranted. In the center of the above chart lie frameworks and artifacts. With industry standard processes such as the RUP, MSF, and a variety of Agile processes, there is little need to create domain-specific processes or artifacts. The same holds true for frameworks, where Sun, Microsoft, and a variety of vendors and open source options are likely to be much more stable and better supported than any inhouse created options. This should not preclude you, however, from customizing these processes and frameworks and, as necessary, extending them to meet your exact needs.
  3. Areas where domain-specific reuse should be occurring. These are the higher-order levels of reuse. This includes domain-specific analysis patterns for state government as well as a variety of architected solutions. These solutions may include COTS products such as the one from Curam Software, solutions targeted as cross-cutting domains such as licensing, and leveraging emerging data exchange standards to encourage the sharing of knowledge and data between business partners and communities of practice.

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