Saturday, July 27, 2013

Architectural Mind: How to Think Like an Enterprise Architect?

 Not everyone is an architect, but everyone can learn how to think like an architect.

Enterprise Architecture is the discipline not just for Enterprise Architects, it's the thinking process every business leader should master, and it's the discipline every mature organization needs to practice.

 Not everyone is an architect, but everyone can learn how to think like architect- systematic thinking, holistic thinking, critical thinking, creative thinking, analytical thinking, synthetic thinking, non-linear thinking, abstract thinking, and whole-brain thinking., etc.

1. Who are EAs by Nature? 

Who is Enterprise Architect? What’re the strengths and skills of an effective EA? Synthesize all the enterprise factors into a cohesive decision framework, and facilitating appropriate business initiatives to execute the resultant strategy. The different role may have a different thinking pattern:
  • The first skill an "architect" must-have is "abstraction" - being able to step back from details and see patterns, generalization, standards, context, and a bigger picture.
  •  The first skill an "engineer" must have is "specification" - being able to focus, and apply with precision, on details by using abstracted standards and patterns from architecture.
  • The first skill a "scientist" must have is "analytical, synthesis, and empirical techniques" - being able to focus and precision on "proving" the consistency of observed phenomena, such as pattern.
  • The first skill a "technician" must-have is "application" - being able to apply the packaged knowledge from the scientist, architect, engineer, and other teachers to their vocation.
Some EAs are also scientists, the others are also engineers or technicians. It is fairly easy to transform a technician into an engineer. It is harder and takes more time and a major conceptual shift to transform an engineer into an architect (going from a specific viewpoint to a general/abstraction viewpoint). And it takes either a totally different path to become a scientist, or many years as an architect to become a scientist, even a naturalistic rather than an empirical one.

2. The Three Most Important Characteristics of an EA 

The three most important characteristics of an EA are, and not necessarily in this order:        
  •        A flexible open-minded, "outside of the box" creative and critical thinker, who can take new strategies and assimilate them into the business or enterprise so that the new strategy becomes a part of the culture. EA has enterprise-level of knowledge, he/she must be able to pass it to other people. Therefore, the architect is also a teacher by nature. 
An excellent communicator, who can clearly articulate the strategic direction of the organization to each stakeholder in the organization, so that they can understand the critical nature of the changes required and the impact to them, their staff, the business and its customers. That in addition to a broad system thinking, the architect must also understand the needs of people, therefore must be able to listen with empathy. 
A team builder who can leverage strengths and create synergies within the enterprise to deliver on the vision or strategies while minimizing cost and maximizing operational efficiencies. The capability to see the abstract concept and put it down on paper for everyone to see is a fundamental EA training which distinguish EA from the others

3. EA as Profession

Enterprise Architect is actually a combination of Architect roles such as
Business Architect (advisory to the Business, process-level);
Solutions Architect (End to End  Solutions);
Application/System Architect (Technology-specific), Data Architect policing every group
(Business and IT) within an enterprise for aspects such as process improvement,
standards, business agility, etc. They also sit at policy/law-making and enforcement group for the enterprise. Thus, you may not be an Enterprise Architect; but you can get a lot of benefits by thinking like an EA.



these characteristics are actually so broad and universal that you find them in ancient classical Greece. That is not to say, however, that they are not good recommendations as guiding principles for anyone.

I agree that enterprise architects should be an excellent communicator. Architects in the Philippines should be this good.

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