December 16, 2011
The pink/orange block depitcs a row of houses with numbers 1 to 5. The blue blocks are the front yards of each of the houses. When designing these houses in the 1940, a cost saving measure was taken by building a shared infrastructure for sewer lines. The green lines show the sewer lines, the squares are "declogging points", points where the sewer has a small lid where it can be inspected and declogged. The 5 houses have this shared infrastructure with a single access point to the shared main sewer line owned by the city.
Lets assume that I'm living on number 3. This morning I found out the hard way that something was wrong. It could barely be inside the house, as we recently replaces all pipes. Running out and checking the first inspection point showed that the line (indicated in dark red in the diagram) was clogged. This is where it gets interesting.
Years ago we bought a subscription to a declogging service. Paying a small fee per month, these guys are supposed to declog up to the point where the main sewer line is entered. In our case, that's 2 doors down where Street A and Street B intersect. Ouch. That contract doesn't provide for such a circumstance! Time to revisit the architecture of our sewer solution (i.e., consider a dedicated solution, or fix the contract!)
The parallell with enterprise architecture seems obvious. Many organizations make use of some sort of shared services on infrastructure... and run into all sorts of problems. Perhaps I should use this example in training settings!
July 15, 2011
First of all, we had to find a term for standard components, models, etc. that people use in doing their work. Half jokingly, we started calling them "things". Turns out that the term "standard thing" took off and was actually just vague enough to denote exactly what we wanted. In the past I've used terms such as "standard asset" but somehow that just sounds too formal.
A typical use of the term standard is that of a constraint; a rule that has to be enforced on the "thing" we're building (in the case this engagement: IT systems). This gave us the distinction between "standard thigns" and "standards about things".
Confusing? Perhaps, but it seems to work in practice. And while on the topic of terminlogy, there's another good one to consider. At some point we needed a generic term to denote "anything vaguely technical". One member of our team suggested the word "stuff" for this, and guess what: it stuck!
April 7, 2011
As more and more people busy themselves with architecture, discussion around this discipline seem to go around in cirles. Talking to practitioners, it seems that we all have experienced more than once discussions around questionssuch as
- What is architecture really?
- How should we document architecture?
- What does it mean to do architecture?
- Who do we do architecture for?
February 12, 2011
When mankind invented writing, it changed the world. Keeping track of natural events, planning crops and harvests, tracking commerce, history, it all became possible when we started writing. Similarly, it is often said that the invention of the printing press brought about one of the biggest changes in the history of mankind, since this made it possible to make texts available to the grand public: printing religious texts, scientific text and – when printing became more wide spread and thus cheap – also news, novels, poetry et cetera.