February 15, 2012

recommended reading

Enterprise Architecture – as I see it – is a broad discipline. Architects busy themselves with the question “how should my enterprise be organized?” Answering that question and helping the enterprise to actually achieve its goals requires many different skills from architects. Some of these can be learned, others cannot. Over the years, I’ve read quite a few books that are directly or indirectly related to the field of enterprise architecture. In this post I give an overview book that inspired me the most.

Title: enterprise architecture at work
ISBN: 978-3-642-01309-6

This is the book where it all started, at least for me personally. I guess I could say that “I was there when they wrote the book” as I was working at Radboud University at the time. Since this book has been published, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting most of the authors in person. Since then, the second edition of the book has been published. If you want to know more about architecture in general, and the philosophy and power behind ArchiMate, then this is the book to read!

Title: ArchiMate 2.0 specification
ISBN: 9789087539474

Title: TOGAF 9.1 specification
ISBN: 9789087536794

There is a lot of synergy between the ArchiMate and TOGAF standards which makes them a powerful combination in practice. The fact these are open standards only make them more appealing to me. Pragmatic standards that add a lot of value to the architecture practice of many organizations world-wide.

Title: The back of the napkin
ISBN: 1591841992

Title: Blah blah blah
ISBN: 1591844592

The latest addition to my collection. I can’t believe I didn’t take the time to read these sooner. Two great books by Dan Roam on solving complex problems with simple pictures. I’ve used the ideas from these books in practice and found them very practical and useful. Great way to find solutions to complex problems and to build a shared understanding.
I am combining these pictures with TOGAF and ArchiMate!

Title: Strategy synthesis
ISBN: 1408018993

A no-nonsense book that demystifies the field of strategic management. 10 strategic themes (competitive advance being but one of them) form the basis for this book. The two most extreme (diametrically opposed) perspectives on each of the themes are discussed and grounded in literature, leaving it up to the practitioner to find a solid synthesis for the dilemma’s in practical situations. Great book, easy to read!
Title: Business Model Generation
ISBN: 0470876417

A must-read for anyone in business. The business model canvas provides a structured way of documenting business models. A business model can be seen as the result of the strategic management process, and describes the essence of what an organization should do in order to be successful. Finally a structured model-based approach to link strategic management to enterprise architecture!

Title: Enterprise Architecture as Strategy
ISBN: 1591398398

Title: IT Governance
ISBN: 1591392535

Two books, two topics, but with the same authors. In my mind, both go together, the one building on the work of the other. What I like about these books is the no-nonse, enterprise-focused, framework-neutral coverage of strategic themes in relation to architecture and governance. In my mind, the business model canvas (from the business model generation book) focuses on the question what an organization should do to be successful, and these books zoom in on strategies to make that happen with a solid architecture + governance practice. 

Title: Polarity management
ISBN: 0874251761

I have found that many ‘problems’ in organizations are seen as either trade-offs, either-or problems and so on. Fact of the matter is that many issues are polarities and trying to solve them with traditional one-off decisions will only get you in trouble. Barry Johnson introduced a useful technique for handling these “and-and” problems called polarities. Easy read, very practical.

Title: Game storming
ISBN: 0596804172

The nature of work in the post-industrial era is completely different from what we’ve been used to so far (i.e., Taylorism). This book looks at the world of business in terms of serious games. Some of these games are quite useful in practice. Recommended for inspiration on both a different way of thinking, and for organizing all sorts of workshops.

Title: the two cultures
ISBN: 0521457300

A classic! This philosophic book gives insight in the question how to deal with groups of people with opposing worldviews. Useful for architects as we frequently work with people with an engineering / mechanistic worldview as well as people with a more open/ organic worldview.

See anything that’s missing? Leave a comment! Have fun reading!
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