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Enterprise Architecture Matters

Adrian Grigoriu

An Enterprise Architect shows stakeholders how to fish rather than handing them over fish

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Brenda had a mobilising post, "Stop talking about Enterprise Architecture. Go solve a problem". And here is my view where I beg to differ.

Paraphrasing the proverb "give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime", the EA architect, rather than solving the stakeholders' problems (for that there are solution and domain experts), should provide the EA blueprint, principles, guidelines, process checkpoints and strategies that the stakeholders should employ to achieve their goals, but in alignment using the same big picture.

As an EA architect, you solve problems by doing your own job that is by offering people the EA they need to address their own concerns in the wider context of the enterprise.

The EA architect is not the problem solver, the trouble shooter of the enterprise, not even of the IT.  

True, in practice, it often happens that, instead of delivering to expectations, the EA architect does all kind of odd jobs to justify the pay. That happens mainly because most EA frameworks today help little the EA architect to deliver since they only describe the development process, project management best practices and, at best, list a few isolated artefacts rather than expose how to model the enterprise and how to fit the parts in the whole.

The problem is that the EA architects follow standard development processes that lead nowhere rather than modelling the enterprise and then follow the enterprise transformation process.

An enterprise architect that looks for a problem though, any problem to solve, is not an EA architect or is looking for a new job. In any case he is not happy with his job.

Perhaps the management known attitude towards EA architects may be explained by the fact that they would rather see the EA architects do some work rather than policing the work done by good people and promising around benefits that never materialise.

Perhaps, your management is fed up with the EAs just talking and tripping everybody around.

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Brilliant! Not much to add except that from time to time, it is good that the EA goes back into the project side, just to make sure to stay grounded... But then, of course, he is not doing this with his EA's hat but under a different role such as project manager, software architect...


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Adrian Grigoriu blogs about everything relating to enterprise and business architecture, SOA, frameworks, design, planning, execution, organization and related issues.

Adrian Grigoriu

Adrian is an executive consultant in enterprise architecture, former head of enterprise architecture at Ofcom, the spectrum and broadcasting U.K. regulatory agency and chief architect at TM Forum, an organization providing a reference integrated business architecture framework, best practices and standards for the telecommunications and digital media industries. He also was a high technology, enterprise architecture and strategy senior manager at Accenture and Vodafone, and a principal consultant and lead architect at Qantas, Logica, Lucent Bell Labs and Nokia. He is the author of two books on enterprise architecture development available on Kindle and published articles with BPTrends, the Microsoft Architecture Journal and the EI magazine. Shortlisted by Computer Weekly for the IT Industry blogger of the year 2011.

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