The IT industry has a magnificent history of appropriating titles and then through the process of demand outstripping supply, diluting the skills and requirements for those roles to a new lowest common denominator based average.
Whether I talk about my earliest stints as a masseuse, my forays into agriculture, professional photography, or the mainstay of my employment, the Business Information Systems and Technology fields — for much of my working life, I have been teetering on the see-saw of comparative knowledge.
These are the questions de jour on many forums, in recent trade articles and across the LinkedIn environment. It would be easy to simply respond with “no” and move on, but nobody has time for such a short response, so this longer response is required.
I have always been a huge fan of utilising analogies to explain concepts, so I shall not deviate from my previously successful actions and do the same here by exploring EA via the analogy of a Marketing Plan.
I doubt anyone would disagree these days that any corporation should operate without a Marketing Plan and that as such, any efforts expanded by a corporation would otherwise, at best, be considered ad-hoc and, at worst, wasteful and disorganised.
A Plan is, according to many dictionaries, defined as “a scheme, program, or method worked out beforehand for the accomplishment of an objective”.
A marketing plan is not a spreadsheet of activities. It’s not an editorial calendar. It’s not a list of surveys, research assignments and campaigns. It’s not a budget or set of goals. It isn’t a set of articles or models from McKinsey. It isn’t something you think you have in your head.
It is a strategy.
It helps focus resources.
It is a plan for activities that stimulate objectives – like sales and growth.
The planning process helps you to understand the different factors that may affect your success. The process of creating a strategy plan involves three steps:
- An analysis of the firm’s internal and external environments;
- A decision on the what to emphasise and project; and
- The selection of action plans to guide the enterprise.
The very first, and arguably most important step, is to perform research and analysis of your business and the market it serves. Once you are confident that you know your business, your market and what you have to offer – then define your goals. With your goals in sight, you will then need to determine the guidance and tactics you will undertake in order to achieve them. Ideally, by mapping them into your landscape via some situational awareness.
Now, instead of worrying about the future, you actually have a sense of control over your direction, because your decisions, and any unexpected issues, are guided by an overall map and strategy governance.
This is as true for Marketing plans as it is Enterprise Strategies.
Throughout the processes of creating, implementing and evaluating your plan, it is important to realise just how valuable mapping and planning is for your company.
The secondary question of frameworks, methods or schools of thought are, to my mind, of little consequence in the overall argument. No amount of textbook correct implementation of FEAF, Zachman or <insert sparkly-new-fandangled framework here> is of any use if it does not produce – and communicate – a plan.
An Enterprise Architecture, just like a Marketing Plan, is a strategy that functions as a blueprint for everyone within the organisation to not simply see, but also to be guided by and follow. The company as a whole will know in what direction it is going – thus causing energy and efforts to be amalgamated and focused.
If you are not doing this as an EA, then yes, I may be inclined to agree that you are the problem and, by extension, your company is likely to believe that EA holds no value.
Whilst I may disagree with a few of the definitions spouted by many respondents and claimants of expertise across the many forums and articles I have read, my initial yardstick of measure will be the success the communication of “the plan” has had on the non-IT departments of the corporation – namely the support they offer and the amalgamated effort that is spent by those departments in aiming to achieve its success.
This is a rambling entry, because one of my biggest issues is that my brain is always churning. I have thoughts that keep cycling, re-cycling and uncovering new stones ad infinitum. So sometimes, when it comes to writing – my thought processes makes it impossible to provide any form of standardised flow of defined structure. So, I’m not going to bother Continue reading Implementing a Corporate EA training capability framework?
I started this blog entry no fewer than ten times in the last three months. I have tried under a range of titles and verbosity to map out my thoughts on the overall complexities of the roles of Enterprise Architects, and how that also comes with connotations and expectations that include the need to be a balanced mix of Consultants, Analysts, Forecasters, Futurists, Thought Leaders, Visionaries …
Yet, whilst we are meant to have those answers, we are still being asked to “shoot behind the duck” as we manage implementations, offerings and solutions that have passed their hype cycle climbs and peaks. Just like a perfect bowl of morning cereal, we are meant to wake up on the dawn of an engagement, be able to pour out a balance of business wholesomeness, technical nutrition and financial tastiness to provide the kick start needed. We’re meant to have the answers to be not too heavy on the legacy and not too light on the predictions, all while being “Just Right”. Continue reading Disruptive Palooza : Possibilities, Futures and Predictions
The value of maths problems from those mathematics classes when we were at school was not about whether you would ever use them in real life (though I have in some of the strangest ways!) but that it rewires your wetworks.
The same, I believe, goes with expanding your general knowledge of a field outside of the one you are in.
As a general rule, I think we tend to either stick to what we know, and learning tends to be within the scope of the general field we are in. It’s natural, and it’s normal, and it occurs in every industry with every skill set.
Ever notice how after a couple of weeks, any new exercises or physical activities you take become easier? If you were trying to lose weight, you’ll notice it’s about this time that the impact starts dropping off. It’s because our bodies are designed to increase efficiency. Just like our muscles, our minds will find ways to become efficient in the areas we use most.
To increase the ability to make a bigger impact and train our muscles (or synapses) to be able to handle more, we need to keep changing gears and exercises. This is one reason I continue down this philosophy of reading a great variety of topics and challenging myself to learn something new everyday.. I see it as a way to keep training my brain to be fit. Different paths to think, different ways to see a problem. Different ways to a solution.
That said, I am also lazy. I am. I tend to recycle work, re-use and re-post. A comment I made on the workplace collaboration site gets sanitised and reposted on one of my social networks, and sometimes the opposite happens.
I was asked after one such status cross-post (Thinking is difficult; That’s why most people judge” — Carl Jung) to recommend a reading list. So, I present my leveraged post from that network to here as this weeks blog entry.
Any chance of a reading list?
You know, this is a really hard thing for me. It’s like saying, any chance of recommending your favourite oxygen particles? I am reminded of a quote by Maud Casey
“I was born with a reading list I will never finish.”
So, where do I start? This is going to take a while …
One of the greatest rewards of a reading life is discovery and I think it’s important that you go through the process of exploration and discovery … and sometimes, just read the books that happen to find their own way into your hands. Continue reading expanding the synaptic roadmaps
Something that was playing in the back of my head this weekend was this concept of Agility.
It’s not a new concept, nor revolutionary, but in thinking about the length of time it often takes to initiate access to (let alone the implementation of) a system or the ability to react to multiple organisational changes brought about by corrections, profit based downsizing, divisional right-sizing, right-shoring or the ever increasing challenge to do more with less … well, suffice to say, the concept of “agile responsiveness” comes up a fair bit. Continue reading Does agility need an old-fashioned, solid, foundation?