It is interesting to watch the debates online between the different schools of thought of Enterprise Architecture. The discussion was started by James Lapalme, who published a paper on "three schools of thought" which is in pre-print for the IEEE's IT Professional journal. (citation) Mostly the online discussion focused around the role of the newest domain of Enterprise Architecture… the domain of Business Architecture. Depending on how Business Architecture is understood, the role of EA can be dramatically different.
Depending on the company your work in, there’s a case to be made for each. Personally, I prefer to think of EA as alignment at the minimum, and strategic effectiveness as an ideal state. I created the following image to illustrate these distinctions. For further reference, please read James Lapalme's paper in the IEEE IT Professional journal.
Thanks for responding. It is true that each has a value proposition and a different role to play. Each is a description of a stable, valuable, effective role. I figure that's why we see folks cling to the one that they are the most familiar with. Each are "right" yet all are wrong (reference to the Three Blind Men and the Elephant poem).
I agree that other disciplines have value to add. You'd have to pick one of these three and detail out the points of interaction in order to discuss the value proposition of that school. Unfortunately, the other disciplines are not consistently used either. In a sense, you'd have a different value propositon for each role in each organization or enterprise.
That's a lot for one person to detail out! I wonder if that diversity of implementation provides us with the diversity of opinion about the "right" way to perform EA.
After, if Joe is comfortable working in the "Enterprise IT Architecting" space, and works well with business analysts who call themselves "business architects," how will he describe his value proposition to Mary who also works in the Enterprise IT Architecting" space, but whose company doesn't hire business analysts, and expects IT "Deliver Managers" to perform those responsibilities? The value of the EITA, in those cases, would differ.
That same conundrum presents itself for literally hundreds of combinations of EA (in a school of thought), and groupings of collaborating roles that specifically exist in a particular corporate culture.
If you know the magic combination, please share it. Just be aware, the combination that is "magic" in one company may be wildly ineffective in another.
Thanks for making me aware of this Nick, – and of the writing of James Lapalme! Having met ‘representatives’ from each school I find it so well captured. While large analyst companies like Gartner speak about the the two perspectives depicted lowest in the illustration (i.e. Enterprise IT and -Integration), the third (Ecological) seems like a more recent – and refreshing – awareness. Good work!
Nice article. My natural tendencies has me reading the image as though it is demonstrating a type of maturity model. Companies continue to make profits wherever they are on an SDLC maturity model and as such there is no "one best" School of Thought," only alternatives to try.
Another point your illustration reminds me is that our communication is only as good as our tools. I am sometimes frustrated trying to relate a 3D (or 4 or 5D) concept within a plane. As Buzz Lightyear might say "To infinity and beyond."