As another pandemic-scarred year ends and we hope for brighter days ahead for 2022, as Enterprise Architects we realize the successful resolution of complex challenges takes what one doctor once told me I needed after some unexpected setbacks after an outpatient surgery: Strategic Patience. As it turned out, my body/system needed about 6 months to arrive at a new normal, but not without pain en route.
So it is with any significant organizational transformation of any significance. One best-selling author once noted that social scientists know two things for certain regarding any intervention into the status quo: 1) The system doesn't invite change and will in fact resist it, and 2) There will always be unintended consequences with any substantial change initiative.
Pursuing a more mature and higher performing and valued EA program is for most large organizations an effort well worth the "in flight" turbulence and even a rough landing on many of the sorties necessary to get to new destinations/capabilities. But EA is a mission well worth taking, given the ever more rapidly changing and complex social, business, and technical environment we are confronting.
However, many organizations make investments in establishing or maturing EA programs without fully considering the extra time and focused effort that will be required. They naively assume that they can undertake such transformation with existing staff augmented by a small number of part-time consultants/advisers. As a result, even if some good design work is achieved, it will be difficult to implement the changes and then sustain the more transparent and cohesive environment roadmapped and begun by the EA initiative.
Sadly, more than Strategic Patience will be needed for EA initiatives to succeed with greater frequency and impact. The method for changing an organization is not as straightforward as even a complex surgical procedure or engineering project. More resources need to be factored into the planning and better governance will also need to be introduced to get and maintain initial traction for such needed, even urgently so, transformations.
Authored by Dr. Steve Else, Chief Architect & Principal Instructor