Episode 52

Milan Guenther on Open Source Enterprise Design


July 9th, 2024

33 mins 35 secs

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About this Episode


Milan Guenther


Richard Littauer | Memo Esparza

Show Notes

In this episode of Sustain Open Source Design, host Richard Littauer and co-host Memo Esparza are joined by Milan Guenther, President of the Intersection Group and co-founder of Enterprise Design Associates. Milan discusses his career, which spans working with major enterprises like Google and Toyota, and his focus on transforming organizations through enterprise design. The conversation delves into the intricacies of enterprise design, the role of open-source tools like 'Edgy,' and the challenges and successes of applying these concepts in both large and small teams. Milan also highlights the importance of visualizing and uncovering enterprise misalignments and touches on the intersection of various design disciplines. Additionally, the upcoming conference in Rome is discussed, promising further insights into the world of enterprise design. Press download to hear more!

[00:01:57] Milan mentions his past venture in designing a patented innovation for flight decks, his current work with enterprises like Google, SAP, and Toyota, and his entry into consultancy with friends in 2009.

[00:03:29] Milan shares his perspective on design, emphasizing the role of creativity and making improvements through observing and modeling.

[00:04:25] Memo asks Milan about his proximity to the term “business design” and how his work might be diagrammatically represented, alongside discussing the dynamics between small and large teams within enterprises. Milan explains the concept of business design, enterprise design, and their differences, and mentions “Team Topologies” as a useful framework for organizational design.

[00:10:09] Memo inquires about successful patterns in team dynamics, whether structured methods like Scrum or more flexible approaches yield better outcomes in different contexts. Milan responds, emphasizing the effectiveness of smaller, less structured teams in software development.

[00:12:36] Richard mentions Milan’s book on design patterns in enterprises and asks about the Edgy project. He explains the origins of Edgy, starting with a book titled “Intersection,” which was an introduction to designing better enterprises. Edgy was make open source hosted on a wiki, and licensed under Creative Commons to ensure it was accessible for both personal and commercial use.

[00:16:02] In response to Memo’s inquiry about the artifacts used in their processes, Milan describes diverse tools utilized depending on the user’s background and needs.

[00:18:14] Richard is curious about the adoption and contribution to Edgy and Milan shares that while there’s been significant use among consultants and some large organizations, there are also instances of failed trials.

[00:20:19] Discussing smaller, open-source minded projects, Milan mentions the integration of Edgy with the Archi tool, an open source architecture modelling tool.

[00:23:33] Milan clarifies that the Rome event takes place in Rome, Italy in September, marking the 10th anniversary of their conference on enterprise design. He describes the event as a gathering for discussing and sharing ideas about enterprise design.

[00:24:56] Discussing the sustainability of the Edgy project, Milan explains that while the project itself doesn’t generate direct revenue, it supports their consultancy through connections, collaborations, and the adoption of their work. He provides insights into how the non-profit association supporting Edgy operates.

[00:28:07] Find out where you can learn more about Milan, Edgy, and the conference.


  • [00:29:55] Memo’s spotlight is Off-Grid, publishing design stories.
  • [00:30:33] Richard’s spotlight is Leopold Benches.
  • [00:31:19] Milan’s spotlight is Archi, ArchiMate modelling tool.