On the 17th of April 2019 Dr Steve Else, Chief Architect & Principal Instructor at EA Principals, hosted a webinar "It's time to Re-Think Enterprise Architecture". You can view a recording of the webinar here. During the webinar, there was a high degree of discussion. The below article is Dr Steve Else's response to comments and questions that occurred during the webinar.

One person inquired about why I was condemning frameworks. I did not. However, having done the PEAF/POET certifications, I do not recommend them at all. The two books used are a hodgepodge of items (a minority of which are useful) pulled together by an author who doesn’t even understand what TOGAF is and how TOGAF must be customized for each organization. EA Principals has built an app that greatly facilitates the creation of an organization-specific framework, leveraging mostly TOGAF, but adding and subtracting where appropriate.

As to my endorsement of both TOGAF and ArchiMate, that was for their value as accelerators to thinking like an architect, including the realization that one would have to tailor all content appropriately for targeted stakeholders. One must be careful with showing too much of the sausage making to end users in the business — this applies to both method and content. 

There was a question about showing some things 10 years or so old. I provided some material for context and then shared many April 2019 insights never seen anywhere else. There was a comment that I was just focused on IT and not on EA overall. That was an ill-informed observation. There was a question about what a target architecture is, especially given that things are changing all the time. I recommend considering a few candidate target architectures in an iterative, comprehensive, and agile way with close cooperation with Solution Architects.

One person made a lot of comments and posed a lot of questions, mostly in an antagonistic and ill-informed way. These are anti-patterns to having a constructive dialogue with an open mind, give and take, etc. I did not ignore anyone’s comments or questions. I just needed time to get to them, time I did not have immediately after the Webinar. There were scores of people participating in the Webinar and myriad questions and comments. A lot of the antagonism was against TOGAF. This is frankly quite counterproductive, as I explained. TOGAF is not an end state. It is an accelerator that requires being comprehensive yet focused in understanding scope and requirements for any transformation in any particular organization. Sure, many projects fail, but TOGAF, if customized correctly, will not be the cause of the failure…partially because it encourages pulling additional building blocks, as appropriate, for a particular context and challenge.

Toward the end of my presentation, I shared 7 principles that an anonymous company is using to ground its new EA practice. Let’s call these contemporaneous thinking. The re-thinking at the core of my talk is that one must think of architecture in general (EA, Solution Architecture, Business Architecture, Data Architecture, Technology Architecture, not just at the highest, broadest level of traditional EA),  one needs to re-think how to use older maturity models, which are very linear in their layout. The new Gartner approach actually has a lot of value and emphasizes many attributes that could be measured on the EA maturity journey. One can learn from maturity models about what kind of work packages need to be done in what order to achieve more capability in targeted areas in a logical yet iterative manner.

I was asked about the Milky Way method/approach (http://www.irm.se/en/vintergatan/ ), which I had not heard of before. I like it a lot at a high level. It correlates strongly to my mentioning and recommending of Design Thinking overall for better scoping through more emphasis on collaborative scenarios leading to incremental success in feasible work packages aligned to capability targets. Strategy and principles are also important. I recommended incorporating EA services as part of a new kind of organization, such as one that combined Strategy Planning, Architecture, Management, and Innovation. I think such a “SAMI’ integrated setup would have a lot of potential. Also, when I say Management, I’m thinking along the duties of a Chief Management Officer, but having those more tightly correlated with the Office of Strategy Planning, Architecture write large, and Innovation.

Note that I shared within the Webinar an additional URL for a recent Accenture article that relates to the topic of this Webinar:  https://tinyurl.com/y5zg3efa  

Regarding the first poll question we asked, regarding the biggest barrier to valued EA, the answer selected most was the lack of top-down support. For the second question, regarding why traditional EA is often missing the mark in its rollout or ongoing practice, the answer selected most was that EA is not putting the customer first and is failing in overall communication.

In May 2019 EA Principals is rolling out its Web forms for customizing an EA approach. It leverages a lot of the material in TOGAF but in a user-friendly way that also adds helpful advice and allows for the additional and subtraction of questions. In addition, different kinds of reports can be created from the collected information, including to a Confluence/SharePoint content management system. More on this in May. We are also incorporating the use of Parmenides EIDOS as part of our consulting practice (especially useful for Analysis of Alternatives). My book on the new Customer-Centric Architecture Method is coming out this Spring.

Written by Dr. Steve Else, Chief Architect & Principal Instructor


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