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a framework for sensemaking and decision-making - the Tetradian weblogs

About the Book

“Let’s do a quick SCAN on this.”

SCAN is a simple yet powerful framework for sensemaking and decision-making, and, recursively, for assessment and review of processes and results of sensemaking and decision-making. It was initially designed for enterprise-architecture and other business needs, but will also be useful in many other areas.

In essence, SCAN is a form of context-space mapping -- a means by which we make sense of a context, and work towards resolving our requirements in that context, by bouncing back and forth between the 'problem-space' and 'solution-space' in a disciplined way.

This ebook is an edited collection of articles from the Tetradian weblog (, on the SCAN framework. This edition includes all weblog-posts on SCAN up to January 2014; there'll be new editions of this ebook from time to time, to incorporate later posts and practical experience.

About the Author

Tom Graves
Tom Graves

Tom Graves has been an independent consultant for more than four decades, in business transformation, enterprise architecture and knowledge management. His clients in Europe, Australasia and the Americas cover a broad range of industries including small-business, banking, utilities, manufacturing, logistics, engineering, media, telecoms, research, defence and government. He has a special interest in whole-enterprise architectures for non-profit, social, government and commercial enterprises.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • “Let’s do a quick SCAN on this”
  • Comparing SCAN and Cynefin
  • SCAN – an Ambiguous correction
  • Using SCAN: some quick examples
  • On SCAN, PDCA, OODA and the acronym-soup
  • Ensuring that the Simple stays simple
  • SCAN left, SCAN right…
  • Domains and dimensions in SCAN
  • On sensemaking in enterprise-architectures (1)
  • On sensemaking in enterprise-architectures (2)
  • On sensemaking in enterprise-architectures (3)
  • On sensemaking in enterprise-architecture (4)
  • Real-time sensemaking with SCAN
  • Belief and faith at the point of action
  • Decision-making – belief, fact, theory and practice
  • Decision-making – linking intent and action (1)
  • Decision-making – linking intent and action (2)
  • Decision-making – linking intent and action (3)
  • Decision-making – linking intent and action (4)
  • Using recursion in sensemaking
  • Competence, non-competence and incompetence
  • Requisite-variety and stormy weather
  • Rules, principles and the Inverse-Einstein Test
  • Rules, principles, belief and faith
  • Checklists and complexity
  • Complex, complicated, and Einstein’s dice
  • Order, unorder and effectiveness
  • Sensemaking and the swamp-metaphor
  • Sensemaking – modes and disciplines
  • Enterprise-architecture is wicked
  • Unbreaking
  • More keywords for SCAN
  • A simpler SCAN
  • SCAN as ‘decision-dartboard’
  • SCAN - some recent notes
  • Problem-space, solution-space and SCAN
  • Knowable and discoverable
  • SCANning the toaster
  • On metaframeworks in enterprise-architecture
  • Metaframeworks in practice, Part 4: Context-space mapping and SCAN
  • Methods, mechanics, approaches
  • SCAN and Causal Layered Analysis
  • Co-inspiring in the Chaotic domain
  • Obliquity, serendipity and purpose
  • Working with ‘I don’t know’
  • Control, complexity and chaos
  • Control, complex, chaotic
  • Between the boxes
  • On human ‘applications’ in EA models
  • Principles and checklists
  • Best practices – adapt, then adopt
  • Reframing entropy in business
  • More on reframing entropy in business
  • The over-certainties of certification
  • The craft of knowledge-work, the role of theory and the challenge of scale
  • The science of enterprise-architecture
  • Scalability and uniqueness
  • Can complex-systems be ‘architected’?
  • Avoiding delusions of strategy
  • Efficient versus effective
  • Four principles – 1: There are no rules
  • Four principles – 4: Adaptability is everything
  • Four principles for a sane society: Summary
  • Four principles for a sane society: an addendum
  • A kind of manifesto

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