/Inside Architecture

Design Thinking in Business Capability Modeling

April 13th, 2018|

One of the most interesting and difficult challenges of Business Architecture is creating the capability model for an enterprise. In this article, I’ll explore how to use the practices of Design Thinking to support the difficult and sometimes contentious process of creating a business capability model for an enterprise. First, let’s understand the problem a little. For an enterprise that [...]

The Human Value Proposition of Enterprise Architecture

October 3rd, 2017|

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. […]

De-identification, Data Security and Testing with Production Data

September 22nd, 2017|

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.  […]

Does Academic Sloppiness Hurt EA?

March 28th, 2017|

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. […]

Self Organizing Enterprise Architecture

February 27th, 2017|

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. […]

The Capability Instance – can capabilities be realized?

February 24th, 2017|

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. […]

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

December 16th, 2016|

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 [...]

The Repository Won’t Save EA

December 8th, 2016|

One 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 [...]

Disruption – why you need business architecture

November 30th, 2016|

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?" [...]

The European EABOK and Enterprise Architecture Pattern Catalog

September 24th, 2016|

A number of years ago, I joined up with a small group of architects determined to create an EABOK (Enterprise Architecture Body of Knowledge).  We got off to a good start and I even bought the domain (eabok.org).  However, the Mitre Corporation (a federally funded research and development corporation) trademarked the name before we did, based on a white paper they had released in 2004.  I was out-lawyered.  So the name was theirs.  They wanted to do an EABOK as well. […]

Defining Your Value Proposition

September 13th, 2016|

In the Enterprise Business Motivation Model, I require a business to define their value proposition independent of other facets of their business model. Some folks resist.  After all, they insist that they know what their value proposition is.  Why write it down? They sell valuable stuff!  It's valuable, damnit!  That's why they exist.  10,000 customers can't be wrong.  For customers.  For [...]

Enterprise Architecture and Threat Modeling

August 29th, 2016|

What should an Enterprise Architect know about threat modeling? I recently asked on a LinkedIn group about threat modeling and Enterprise Architecture. My first surprise came when the first set of responses were from folks who didn’t appear to understand what threat modeling was. So I guess the first order of business for anyone wishing to consider themselves an Enterprise Architect is to study up on what Threat modeling is. […]

The human element to strategy

July 15th, 2016|

There is no shortage of business thinkers and authors who will tell us this statement is true: Anyone can create a good strategy.  The most frequent failure is in execution. Unfortunately, this underestimates the difficulty in creating a "good strategy."  While the statement above is absolutely true, it is not unusual to find companies that don't have a formal strategy [...]

Welcoming Archimate to Enterprise Architecture

June 28th, 2016|

I’m going to get some heat for that title… I’m sure of it.  Archimate has been a diagramming standard for some elements of Enterprise Technical Architecture for a couple of years now.  However, with the new release of Archimate 3.0, this interesting visual language is now directly useful to Enterprise Architecture from the perspective of a Vanguard EA. […]

Enterprise Architecture in the world of consulting

June 14th, 2016|

Many years ago, fellow EA consultant and thought leader, Jeff Scott, published an interesting article in CIO magazine that outlined a useful method for applying Enterprise Architecture to an organization. The article was titled “Don’t Just Build Business IT Alignment, Map It!” (linked here). Unfortunately, I believe, very few people understood it. I’ll admit that, when he published his article, I was working in an EA team and I didn’t use his advice either.  You see, Jeff was speaking from the viewpoint of a company that wants to provide EA as a consulting service (he was at Forrester at the time).  The advice he gave was less useful for organizations that wanted to provide EA as an internal service. With your permission, gentle reader, I’ll spend a few minutes describing the difference. […]

Never Waste A Good Crisis

May 16th, 2015|

The title of this post is a bit of advice I first heard many years ago, while working on an Enterprise Architecture review of a troubled software development effort.  Never waste a good crisis. Of course, no crisis is good for the person going through it.  Be compassionate.  And I’m not talking about a personal crisis like the death of a loved one.  I’m talking about a crisis in business, like when a company changes strategy leaving customers out in the cold, or when a new technology simply fails to deliver any value, leaving the champion with less buy-in from his business stakeholders. These are the little crises of business.  It often starts with someone taking a risk that doesn’t produce an hoped-for return.  If that someone is a senior leader, and they are smart, they have already collected their bonus or promotion and moved on, so they won’t get the blow-back from their own failure.  But just as often, the person who took a risk is still around to get hit with “blame and shame.” Unhealthy as it is in a corporate environment, blame and shame is common.  When something goes wrong, someone takes the fall. But for an influencer like an Enterprise Architect, a crisis can be a good thing.  Why?  Because we are change agents.  And people won’t change unless they are forced to change.  John Kotter, in his book “Leading Change” suggests that one of the greatest obstacles to change is complacency.  Change just isn’t urgent enough.  He’s completely right, and a crisis is often what is needed to break through complacency. […]

Sharing the Solution Domain Taxonomy

April 23rd, 2015|

Sometimes, Enterprise Architecture efforts fail.  This is no surprise to folks in the EA business.  This failure occurred slowly, back in 2007 and 2008.  But it did occur.  It took me a while to realize it.  I had developed a method useful for Application Portfolio Management as well as for Service Oriented Architecture called “Solution Domains”.  The method is good.  [...]

Alternatives to the EPSC Model

February 16th, 2015|

The Enterprise Partner Supplier Customer (EPSC) Model sits as a core concept of Enterprise Architecture.  It is so much at the core of everything we do that we seldom question it.  Is that healthy?  This post will discuss the core idea behind the EPSC model (differentiation by control) and alternative ways to think about enterprise boundaries. First off, we only [...]

How brand-thinking can kill you, and capability thinking can save you

January 29th, 2015|

I guess it shouldn’t surprise me that business strategy work is often about constrained thinking.  Thinking “inside the box” is nearly always rewarded well.  After all, the person giving the rewards lives in the same box.  One of the most pernicious kinds of constrained thinking is “brand thinking.”  That is the notion that the value of your existing brand is [...]

Moving Towards a Theory of Enterprise Architecture

January 16th, 2015|

I’ve been asked a number of times over the years if I can explain the theory of Enterprise Architecture.  I decided recently to reopen that idea.  It’s not a new discussion.  I refer to Tom Graves post on the Theory of EA from 2012 where he posits that the theory of EA, if one were to be described, cannot be [...]