About the original ExD Model

A brief introduction to Excellence by Design

‘Excellence by Design’ is a concept focused on helping business improve their performance by better designing their organizational processes, products, and services to be more agile and capable of responding to, and capitalizing on, the increasingly unpredictable and dynamic nature of business.  It advocates the perspectives that:

  • The world has shifted to be essentially uncontrollable and unpredictable. This is due to the convergence of many factors but the largest are Technology advancement, the rise of Consumerization, and Globalization and its elimination of barriers to entry.  As a result, the capability of change to occur has dramatically accelerated: innovation is quicker to arise, faster to market, and more easily adopted by wider audiences.
  • Business must design organizations, products, and services to thrive in this environment of unpredictability by better understanding the impact it will have on their markets, building the organizational competencies needed for this fast changing world, and crafting products and services that are designed for agility and change.
  • Business can succeed by applying key principles of excellence by design to their organizational culture, competencies, and processes as well as to the management and design of the products and services the business creates. The principles were originally crafted from an information technology perspective but are also  applicable to non IT challenges of constant and unpredictable change.

The original Eight Principles of Excellence by Design


A brief description of the principles

ExD Principle


Chaos vs Control

Describes the increasing tension between technology and its capabilities which grow in emergent and unanticipated (chaotic) ways, and the opposing yet increasing demand to assure (control) those capabilities are understood, secured, and properly managed.

Systems as Strategy

Recommends the use of structured, sustainable, and flexible systems of operation as a core business strategy that improve reliability, repeatability, assurance,  and quality, while better enabling dynamic and unanticipated change.

The Architecture Advantage

Recommends that as demands become more robust, varied, and unpredictable, using Architected approaches  will better enable robustness and reliability (improving control) while also improving resiliency and extensibility (adaptability to chaos).

Design for Change

Defines specific characteristics that should be considered in any modern business, product, or IT solution, to improve its capability to support Chaos vs Control.

Product as Platform

Promotes and describes the shift from point products to resilient platforms that provide broad capability and are extensible to future needs, easily combined with related offerings, and consistent in behavior, yet flexible in usage.

Cadence to Quality

Describes the values of iteration, continuous improvement, and regular updating, that drive customer trust, improves organizational effectiveness, and enables competitive longevity in an unpredictable world.

Craftsmanship to Community

Discusses the paradoxical but critical need for having both strong competency and diversity of skills, combined with exceptional teaming and partnering…in a manner that rewards agility and resilience of outcomes.

Service Excellence

An organizational execution philosophy to better align the planning, development, and delivery of services in a holistic, accountable, and strategic way to better ensure consumer expectations are met, solutions are well designed, and operational execution is effective and efficient.

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