These past few months have been very difficult.  Without a good vision in place for where our architecture should go, we’ve been making decisions about literally dozens of large projects: are they working towards the right goal?  Are they aligned with strategy?  Do you reflect the principles? 

To be honest, without having the destination clearly described, all those decisions are arbitrary and subjective.  We need to become more visionary.  We need to get out in front, describe the way that IT should be, and then sell that vision to the business.

That way, we are doing a lot less of arguing with solution owners about whether their vision of an application matches the principles, because we helped the business to understand what the application should be in the first place.

It’s a hard transition to make.  We don’t traditionally have that role.  The business is not used to listening (or being listened to, to be honest). 

By Nick Malik

Former CIO and present Strategic Architect, Nick Malik is a Seattle based business and technology advisor with over 30 years of professional experience in management, systems, and technology. He is the co-author of the influential paper "Perspectives on Enterprise Architecture" with Dr. Brian Cameron that effectively defined modern Enterprise Architecture practices, and he is frequent speaker at public gatherings on Enterprise Architecture and related topics. He coauthored a book on Visual Storytelling with Martin Sykes and Mark West titled "Stories That Move Mountains".

5 thoughts on “Becoming more visionary”
  1. Traditionally the job of "having a vision" (add trumpets) has been the job of the CEO.  It’s taught in MBA programs, and any place that entrepreneurs hang out.  

    Traditionally, programmers and even architects have not hung out in environments where vision is spoken of.

    I thought that billg did a good job of outline his vision of the future in both his "the road ahead" and "business at the speed of thought"


    I’m pretty sure that I had a point when I started this post, but it seems to be coming out, "Vision hard to do … ug"

  2. Hi Malcolm,

    Yes, "Vision hard to do… ug"

    I suppose that, somewhere, there is a company that expects that all the really smart people will naturally rise to the top and that only the people at the top are allowed to be smart.  Personally, I wouldn’t want to work there. 😉

    EA is expected to be visionary.  That’s the job.  Someone has to do it ;-).

    Problem is getting other folks to see us as valuable in that role.  That’s where the sales-job comes in.

  3. Hello Alois Kraus,

    Your article is interesting.  It is visionary.  It is not Enterprise Architecture.  

    I’ll let someone involved in the development of programming languages comment on the feasability or desirability of your ideas.  On the surface, they sound fairly compelling, but I’m just not engaged enough in that area of research to do much more than cheer you on.

    — Nick

  4. Thanks you made it easy to respond to.

    Vision is hard to do.  People with it AND the ability to get other people to see the value of it (sales) *will* rise to the top.

    It’s not that companies will only allow people at the top to have vision, it the exact opposite, people with vision will be at the top … of an organization that sees value in sharing that vision.

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