Enterprise Architecture Matters

Adrian Grigoriu

The enterprise architecture code of ethics dilemma

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The aim of the whole endeavour would be the enablement of an institution that runs the membership for the EA profession and the enforcement, in some shape or form, of the code of ethics. In principle that sounds good but, in practice, is it?

To start with, without  proper enforcement, this ethical organization may end up encouraging the unethical because, while the ethical professional would prefer to operate as before, without any additional burden, the unethical would freely join without fear of repercussions.
This will have adverse impacts on the EA community, by attracting even more wrong candidates that would take advantage of the pomp around the EA while going for their own agendas. They may even end up as the dominant voice in EA.
On the other hand, the enforcement of the code may cost more than it benefits us all. 

Hence, before any action is taken, it is important for such ethics organizations to make public their agendas explaining how the code would be enacted and how would that benefit us all and what would be the costs for professionals, clients and all parties involved

In any case, is EA itself so critical to the enterprise or sufficiently mature to require a code of ethics? After all, enterprises have existed for millennia without EA, in any case, long before the advent of EA. 

And, for now at least, the EA profession is so poorly defined and agreed upon that almost anyone can claim to be an EA professional by invoking a self serving interpretation of the EA. It works because, included under the claims of EA today are disciplines as disparate as software development, IT applications, infrastructure, business models and modelling, business consulting, change and transformation management, strategy... and who knows what else people may claim EA is.

But if an organization that is determined to enforce an EA code of ethics cannot even determine what an EA architect really does and as such, establish the criteria of admission to its EA membership, how can it claim then that it represents the EA profession at all? Is this even ethical for an organization that protects the ethics? 
Perhaps, for now, such an organization should narrow down its membership scope to more and specific disciplines rather than encompass them all under a sweeping EA profession.

Moreover, because it cannot establish who is an EA architect, it just declares that it doesn't matter. See thread "The CAEAP has a premable, oath, and code of conduct" - requires membership I believe. Then, almost any claimant would be accredited as an ethical EA architect even if the chance is that he is not even an EA architect. 
Moreover, such a code of ethics organization that acts without a means of discrimination between so many types of enterprise professionals, may bring the profession into further disrepute because it appears that it does guarantee EA professionalism not only ethics, while it doesn't.

The big problem for all of us is that, if such an organisation turns strong enough to take enough control of the recruiting market, we may have to join, pay and play by its rules to be able to profess at all.  
Because if you don't join, you may be accused of wishing "to reserve the right to behave unethically" as I was blamed in this thread before this organization has even defined its code of ethics and operation. And not by the organization itself but by one of its early joiners, aiming low with the ethics stick.

Now, does EA warrant a code of ethics and associated organization to guard the entry to the profession? 
Not in my view, not at this stage, at least because it may serve more the interest of the ethical society rather than that of the EA community, no matter how hard some try to make it appear otherwise. And it should not happen anyway before there is consensus on what EA is and does. 

Anyway, such an organization should be the result of market demand rather than be enforced as it happens now. Having jumped at an apparently good cause, this organization may cause a lot of grief later on for all of us
Anyway, the good old detective question "cui bono" may solve the dilemma.

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Very great information. We can get many important information here. Thanks for this informative posting.

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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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