The Human Value Proposition of Enterprise Architecture

The profession of Enterprise Architecture struggles, in part, because we have done a poor job of outlining our value proposition to senior leaders of our respective companies. I have posted occasionally about the value proposition of EA.  I was a lead author on the FEAPO perspectives paper that discusses the value of EA.  However, I want to highlight one value proposition that is often missed: the human side of envisioning.

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By | October 3rd, 2017|Enterprise Architecture|0 Comments

De-identification, Data Security and Testing with Production Data

While we know that software can expose data, we sometimes forget that writing software can expose data.

When a system gets deployed, we typically build a development environment, one or more test environments, and a production environment.  No surprises there.  However, developing software with sample data, instead of “real” data, can allow defects that are difficult to catch.  On the other hand, using “real” data (typically a subset of production data) runs considerable data security risks.  In this post, I’ll discuss the notion of building a general purpose deidentification tool specifically for software development and DevOps purposes.  (more…)

By | September 22nd, 2017|Enterprise Architecture|0 Comments

Does Academic Sloppiness Hurt EA?

There are surprisingly few researchers publishing articles about Enterprise Architecture from universities.  Even well considered programs like Penn State and MIT may only publish four or five papers a year.  Therefore, when a single researcher (a doctoral candidate at a well regarded university) publishes no fewer than fourteen separate papers on Enterprise Architecture over the course of three years, a few directly through the British Computer Society website, folks like me notice.

Unfortunately, as this article will show, this researcher appears to be building a body of sloppy work that he promotes widely, potentially harming both the profession of Enterprise Architecture and the reputation of the British Computer Society for promoting him.

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By | March 28th, 2017|Enterprise Architecture|2 Comments

Self Organizing Enterprise Architecture

Our language can limit us.  Our words can prevent us from thinking about our world in a clear way.  This article is about freedom from our own words.  Read at your own risk.

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By | February 27th, 2017|Enterprise Architecture|2 Comments

The Capability Instance – can capabilities be realized?

Bizbok 5.5 from the Business Architecture Guild mentions an interesting concept that I’d like to discuss here: the capability instance.  I’d like to caution that this description is a concept rife with conflicts.  I’ll explain in a moment.

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By | February 24th, 2017|Enterprise Architecture|2 Comments

The concept of the “Nearest Common Manager” in Enterprise Architecture

I’m going to share a secret.  Something that no one talks about, but is critical to understand if you are to be an effective Enterprise Architect.  Are you ready?

People do what you pay them to do.

What a letdown.  Everyone knows that, right?

But we don’t talk about it because it is an assumption of every day work.  Those assumptions drive a great deal of behavior in an enterprise.  In Enterprise Architecture, we must think about the assumptions, because assumptions can stop progress without anyone realizing it.  Assumptions can impede communications.  Assumptions can cause good behaviors to be punished and bad behaviors to be rewarded.

So let’s look at this assumption a little more closely.  Who pays you?  Well, the guy or gal who can fire you if you don’t perform, that’s the person who pays you.  So, if your manager says “run every decision past me,” you are going to run every decision past the boss.  You are doing what you are paid to do.

This creates a hierarchy in an organization that is persistent and rather absolute, especially if you can be blamed.  No one will defy their manager’s manager.  On the flip side, if you are an individual contributor, you have no idea if you are doing what the CEO wants.  Only your manager tells you what to do.

How does this affect Enterprise Architecture?

EA’s are often called to work “across silos” or to collaborate with different groups.  There is no single manager that everyone in your “virtual team” reports to.  You cannot go to a single manager and ask him or her to support your efforts.

One concept that you should be aware of is the “Nearest Common Manager.”  This is the lowest ranked person that everyone on your virtual team ultimately reports to.  In many companies where I have worked, the nearest common manager is the CEO.

The thing that you should be aware of: whoever the nearest common manager (NCM) is, someone who is in communication with the NCM has to have your back… someone who the NCM knows and trusts has to know what you are up to, and has to agree with it.

When you hear the term “executive support,” this is what we mean.  Someone who can provide the air-cover that you will need with the nearest common manager.

 

By | December 16th, 2016|Enterprise Architecture|1 Comment

Translating business capability maps into business impact

Creating a business capability map is just part of the challenge businesses and chief information offices face. Taking the information in the map and making it work and translate into real, tangible business impact can often present far more obstacles than the development of the map itself but without this crucial step the benefits of undertaking the task of creating a business capability map are generally lost. (more…)

By | December 15th, 2016|Newsletter|0 Comments

Does Business Architecture Start With Value Chains?

Creating value chains can be integral part of decision-making thanks to their ability to illustrate how a firm is delivering a valuable product or service to market. A value chain can support other decision tools and benefit competitive strategies with the additional information they supply. (more…)

By | December 14th, 2016|Newsletter|0 Comments

The Repository Won’t Save EA

business-woman-tiredOne thing most Enterprise Architects have in common: frustration with resistance to change.  Channeling the words of some of my friends, frustration sounds like this: “We know many of the answers to common problems in IT, especially in how systems are developed and used, how data is organized and mastered, and how capabilities should produce shared components or systems.  We know many of the answers… but no one listens!”

Yep.  We do work and sometimes, no one uses it.  Or we develop advice, and no one follows it.  Common problem.

For some reason, the “answer” that I’ve heard bandied about is to buy software.  “If we only had a repository for architecture, then people would use our models.”

um – no – not really.

If your models are not used, putting them into a collaborative storage and retrieval system will not get them used.  It will make them more available, but in 85% of the cases, availability is not your problem.  Either no one sees the value in using your models, or they don’t know how to read them, or using your models works against some political aspect of their lives.

It’s not that your stakeholders didn’t know the model was there.  It’s that they don’t care.

Adding a repository won’t make them care.

Your first order of business is to build demand for the architecture models.  Once demand is there, worry about the repository.  Until then, a simple modeling tool will work.

By | December 8th, 2016|Enterprise Architecture|1 Comment

Disruption – why you need business architecture

Business Architecture is, on occasion, a difficult sell.  In many companies, it can be tough to get senior leaders to give you to remit to use the tools and techniques of business architecture.  This is especially true in organizations that think of Enterprise Architecture as an IT function.  The following video answers the question “Why do we need Business Architecture?”

Your feedback is encouraged.

 

By | November 30th, 2016|Enterprise Architecture|0 Comments