Posted by Mike Rollings
Architects around the world are voicing their opinions about Gartner's press release regarding a “new approach for enterprise architecture”. Caution is best for those who are new to architecture and think this is new. Those that have been calling for change are not fooled.
Personally, I think Gartner finally woke up to the facts of life about EA (read my post Gartner wakes out of an EA induced coma...). Their seven properties show that they are just now realizing things that have not worked -- not just now, but for years! “Gartner said that enterprise architects must be ready to embrace the inversion of control. Where in the past, they controlled all EA decision making, they must now accept that that business units demand more autonomy". Centralized, top-down, autocratic decision making never worked! EA is about influencing better decision making with a focus on business outcomes.
But what do you do if you wake from an EA induced coma and want to turn things around?
To start, don't be fooled by new packaging on old ideas. As Todd Biske points out in his post, "Do we really need a term for what many of us are already doing"?
Second, get your head out of the sand. Michelle Tripp points out, "Our world is changing. Beyond the obvious. Beyond the Obama. Beyond the recession and drama in the Middle East. Beyond cars that look like insects and phones that measure contractions and 10 year-olds that that know brands better than college professors. Things are really, truly different." Whether or not you agree with all Michelle offered in her post, the "6 Essential Skills for Exponential Times" are worthwhile to keep in mind. I have added my own twist for architects:Rule-Breaking: Re-examine policies, standards and other rules. Make sure that they have a clear connection to business outcomes and things you truly want and need to govern. If rules are being broken it can signal outdated thinking and the need for something different. Real collaboration provides the ability to come to a common understanding -- maybe the existing rules are only important to you. It is time for transformation and the time to question assumptions. Assumptions, feelings of futility, and other phantoms reinforce status quo and are roadblocks to transformative discussions. Stagnation - the lack of innovation and agility - happens when you become married to your phantoms.
Entrepreneurial: Seeking out new opportunities is the essence of generating value. In the post "IT Value - We Reap What We Sow"I state that value of IT comes from being transparent about your business contribution. Burton Group client should also read Establishing and Maintaining Enterprise Architecture Momentum.
Self-Educating: Yes, it is important for a person to stretch their knowledge, but don't feel you have to be the font of all knowledge. Embrace varying ideas, collaborate vigorously and respectfully, assure that you tap into the variety of perspectives that exist. Architecture is an active sport and requires broad communication and collaboration to be successful. The problems and new thinking are discussed in Enterprise Architecture Is More than Engineering and The Anatomy of Effective Enterprise Architecture.
Bonding: INFLUENCE! If you take one thing away it should be that the lack of influence is probably a main cause of your EA coma. As for facilitating the conversation -- If you focus on the problem, examine the decisions that need to be made and by whom, you have a greater chance of matching the way you describe the issue to the audience's context. Also, I have found that the more I understand how humans perceive, learn, and make memories that it opens new avenues to help organizations change behavior. Behavior is at the center of transformation - societal, organizational and personal transformation. Burton Group clients should read Modeling Influence and Communications.
Revolutionary: Encourage transformation and new thinking. When the assumptions fundamentally shift, incremental improvement that addresses “change” is the less-able brother of transformation. I have discussed this in respect to transformation and cloud computing. If we truly intend cloud to revolutionize IT then it must be revolutionary. Beware of new stickers that suggest doing the same thing will give you a new result.
Visionary: Help your organization create its future. Alan Kay said "The best way to predict the future is to create it". Don't wait till GAME OVER! Get connected to business outcomes and understanding the dependencies, implications and constraints. Be a leader, be a team player, participate and collaborate.
Want a new approach for enterprise architecture? Read Burton Group's EA research (clients only):
- Enterprise Architecture Is More than Engineering
- The Anatomy of Effective Enterprise Architecture
- Using Metrics Effectively: Proving and Improving the Business Value of IT
- Facing the Headwind: Good Ideas for Bad Times
- Real Transformation: Why IT Change Is Not Enough
- Moving Out: The Externalization of IT
- Measuring Enterprise Architecture Success
- Modeling Influence and Communications
- Presentation Techniques: The Power of Making a Point
- Establishing and Maintaining Enterprise Architecture Momentum