/Inside Architecture

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. For those of you who don't have a copy of the Bizbok 5.5, first off, get one.  But for the sake of [...]

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 [...]

Do you perform Information Architecture or a Data Architecture?

November 21st, 2014|

So, full disclosure, I care about Wikipedia.  Call me dumb, I know.  Wikipedia has been described, alternatively, as the best platform ever invented for fostering useless arguments among ignorant people /and/ the most successful encyclopedia effort of all time.  The truth, as always, lies between these extremes. Well, I’m part of a small team that is working to clean up the Wikipedia pages dealing with Enterprise Architecture.  One thing that we noted recently is the fact that there are two pages, similar, both rather poor, that cover essentially the same topic. One page is called “Information Architecture” and the other is called “Data Architecture.” […]

The Architecture Manager – the Forgotten Enterprise Architecture Role

November 11th, 2014|

I’ve met many Architecture Managers over the years.  Sometimes they go by the title of “Chief Enterprise Architect” or “Chief IT Architect” and other times, the title is “Vice President of Architecture and Strategy” or some variant.  The men and women called to serve in this unique role have a distinct, and uniquely important role to play in the success [...]

When does EA start to care about sociocultural influences?

August 13th, 2014|

Organizations do not work, in real life, like they work on paper.  On paper, there are departments (all shaped like a neat rectangle) and business processes with neat inflows and outflows of responsibility and information.  On paper, you improve things by modeling things on paper, and then moving things around, on paper, then teaching people to follow the process that [...]

Call to survey – Is your EA program valuable?

July 23rd, 2014|

This is the first time I’ve done this, so I’m hoping that my friends will contribute your opinions: I’ve created a survey  asking a few basic questions about how your Enterprise Architecture program is valued, or not valued, by your organization. KwikSurvey Poll – Does your Enterprise Architecture program deliver value? Note that this is a free survey tool that [...]