I need to rant.  I ran across an article on the IASA web site that provides tips for knowing if your Enterprise Architecture is mature.  One of the tips asks “If you have a bunch of architecture projects defined, do you have a process for getting them funded…”

Huh?  Since when is Architecture a “bunch of projects?”  Yes, you need a project to collect the strategic requirements and to create the high-level systems architecture, future-state application portfolio, and migration plans.  However, after that, is it really a “string of architecture projects” to move to the new plan? 

Yes, there are projects needed to change code to more to a new structure.  Yes, those changes cost money.  Yes, someone has to pony up that cash.  However, if your architecture doesn’t actually deliver any value, on a project by project basis, why are you doing it? 

If your architectural change delivers value, then you can justify that value as ‘changing the app to reduce the cost of owning it.’ 

If the cost of the change exceeds the value in the short term, perhaps your migration plans show that the app doesn’t adopt the new architecture until a business-driven change is actually required.

It is not wrong to migate to an architecture slowly, over time.  Time can be your friend.  You get better at delivering value on the architecture, and the team gets better at using the architecture, and risks associated with adopting the architecture are minimized. 

And you don’t need to go to the CIO and beg for millions… 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".

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