Friday, June 14, 2013

EA as Problem Solver

Sometimes EA is like a solution looking for a problem; in other words, EA practitioners believe they can be relevant and have valuable output to contribute, but the intended stakeholders have yet to discover this. How to make EA as a true problem solver?

  1. Architecture is about focus on essentials, many EA initiatives try to do much more than necessary at any given time, and do it in ways that are larger and more complex than what are needed to address the problem. 
  1. Choosing the appropriate problem to solve, EA should be about identifying the appropriate problem. Doing the same thing, making profits with spending less is also called effectiveness and efficiency. Some enterprise architects confuse solving the whole problem with solving a big problem. It's "easier" to be indiscriminate about what matters than it is to figure out what really does matter, but that just makes the problem (needlessly) bigger, and thus harder to solve.                        
  1. It is neither the size of the problem, nor the complexity, it is the focus, do one exercise, to have the results, the generic approaches, hyper-theoretical endeavors, or let's do everything and see what we can find out would never have resulted to the saving in cost or optimization of process.  
  1. Every EA initiative must be designed and fit for purpose. Far too many EA initiatives are "over designed", more correctly, badly designed, in that either out of ignorance or over caution, they include much more effort than necessary and sufficient to solve the problem at hand. This effort may generate billable hours, but it's not gong to generate useful results  
  1. If EA starts asking tough questions, then it maybe the base of the pyramid which will get their act together & provide good answers... rather than politically correct guesses. An approach of not getting close to details (which has multiple levels of meaning) needs to change.  
  1.  If you do not produce useable result for the enterprise in a short time frame, then your EA work takes too long. EA is an ongoing journey of steps that never stops before the enterprise stops; it's a tool of developing the business using it. 
  1. It is entirely possible to have a significant level of details available for the asking & judging validity of the answers for:
    "How many systems/processes in that cloud?"
    "How flexible is that <whatever>?"
    "When we introduce a new product, why does it take that division 18 months to spin up to speed? The market leadership window is only 9 months."  
  1. Look out for new strategic moves: Translating business strategy and goals into an actionable architecture-for-the-enterprise is an important part of EA. But it is also the responsibility of EA to look out for new possible strategic moves for the business due to advances in technology or the change dynamic of business, and solve appropriate problems. 
  1. Tailored Solutions: There are many architectural models, all claiming to be the solution to the problem, but none of them are able to truly address the complex issues involved in every space. Each must be tailored or modified. Someone must determine which parts are important and which are not.
So, EA, out of ivory, become strategic problem solver!


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