August 20, 2010

Good intensions are not enough

In many discussions as of late, I have noticed that people tend to think of (enterprise) architecture as a communications game. For example:
  • getting on the same page with respect to terms : what do we mean by application, process, product, service, etc.
  • getting to grips with how we talk about change : what do we mean by current state, baseline, target architecture, building block, etc.
  • getting to grips with terminology in different segments and domains in the enterprise

The list goes on and on. One of the top 3 things that people list as being a succesfactor for an architecture project is "help us talk to the other guys". Indeed, in many cases we see the intension is there: people want to talk to their peers in other departments, projects etc. If we all agree that this is a good idea, then how come it doesn't happen?

This brings me back to a previous claim: doing architecture - even with standards (like TOGAF) that people tend to think of as being IT-centric - is about the people. Helping them talk to and understand each other better will improve enterprise effectiveness.

Question to the reader: if you have any good approaches, examples, workshop forms, or other ideas to do these, let us know!

August 17, 2010

TOGAF: make it about the people

As the enterprise architecture discipline matures, more and more enterprises adopt open standards such as ArchiMate and TOGAF to deliver value to their enterprises. Indeed, most organizations realize all too well that both standards make some serious assumptions on how we see our enterprise (as a system that (a) has state, and (b) can be decomposed). As long as we - the architecture professionals - keep our eyes on the ball and know what we're doing then we should be ok, though.

In the next few weeks I will post some observations and lessons learned in the form of short articles that may be useful for others. Here's the first one: key to successful architecture projects (with our without TOGAF) is to make it about the people. Just doing "stakeholder management" as TOGAF recommends isn't good enough. Take an interest in the people that make the organization. Know, that the TOGAF framework with all its steps, checklists, guidelines etc. is only there to help you do (part of) your job better! Enterprises are about more than IT or alignment!