Sunday, May 22, 2011

Enterprise Architecture (EA) view from an IT Architect

This post wants to share with you my take on EA, after attending a course led by some smart people. I won't share their names without permission, but they're smart, that I can tell you.

Note: this work may change over time as I read more. I actually didn't had the time to read topics/articles on EA before attending this class. This is why I might be biased or even wrong. Feel free to comment or send me emails, critics make me better.

Here we go:

1. Who is EA for:
- those companies who lost track of applications and systems
- those companies having no or sparse governance
- those companies having stakeholders which feel like wanna change things: either by their IT or their business
- those companies loosing money, market share or customers. So, all of us ? The answer is yes.

2. What EA is NOT:
- it's NOT a miracle, but a discipline / practice of doing things with more rigorous approach.
- it's NOT a method, but a journey.
- it does NOT starts in point A and finish in point B, its an ongoing effort which ends with the business itself.

because:

1. EA tries to get the business near to the practices and methods of software development, by means of change management, governance and agility.
2. EA is trying to become the link coupling together the business (your business, any type of it) and the IT.
3. EA discipline is trying to find out what you're doing wrong so you might start change things. When you start and how you start makes the difference between bad and good consultants (either yours or your collaborators/partners).

What you need:

1. an understanding that you're doing something wrong. This requires brains, only smart people admit they're wrong.
2. an understanding that IT might not be the part that needs to change, but perhaps your organization and/or business processes need to change first.
3. good consultants on doing things technically and/or knowing your industry. These are rather hard to get and usualy speak beautiful words, however, they're diplomats enough to they tell the truth in your face. If you're also smart, you get the message and you'll also recognize them. I also start to recognize BSers from professionals, so wouldn't be that hard, I guess :)
4. stakeholders willing to change things. This might be the toughest part. On the saying that "if it works, don't break it", resistance to change is usually what stops organizations to pursue such changes.

With these things out in the air, next time you receive a mail with signature from an "enterprise architect" you'll know something is wrong. Because EA is about the change we perform each day. Hell, I am as well practicing EA with some of my customers. I will never be an enterprise architect, there is no such profession, as far as I consider. There are good or bad consultants, that I know.
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