Inside Architecture

Notes on Enterprise Architecture, Business Alignment, Interesting Trends, and anything else that interests me this week...

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  • Blog Post: The Architecture Manager – the Forgotten Enterprise Architecture Role

    I’ve met many Architecture Managers over the years.  Sometimes they go by the title of “Chief Enterprise Architect” or “Chief IT Architect” and other times, the title is “Vice President of Architecture and Strategy” or some variant.  The men and women called to serve in this unique role have...
  • Blog Post: Diversity Versus Replication of Organizational Processes and Information

    I recently had the pleasure of joining a discussion among organizational development professionals. During that discussion, one individual asked an interesting question: in a distributed organization with multiple operating units, spread geographically around the world, should the organizational structure...
  • Blog Post: We do what you say we will do – Integrity By Architecture

    One of the chief complaints of senior executives in midsize and large companies is that their organizations don’t “execute” on the goals that they set.  This concern is so common, it’s the butt of jokes.  Entire systems of governance and measurement are created specifically to provide assurance...
  • Blog Post: The “Right” Representation of the EA Value Cycle

    In the world of Enterprise Architecture, we are still creating “shared” understanding of how to tell our stakeholders what we do.  There is no consistency in our diagrams or our descriptions just yet.  This post will discuss the different ways we present the value stream of Enterprise Architecture...
  • Blog Post: Podcast on the Enterprise Architecture profession–Interview with CIPS’s Stephen Ibaraki

    Way back in April, I announced the first of two podcasts with the Canadian Information Processing Society.  I just realized this weekend that I had not announced the availability of the second of those podcasts.  Error corrected. The second podcast, once again hosted by the inimitable Stephen...
  • Blog Post: Positioning an Enterprise Architect for Success

    As I found in our Enterprise Architecture team in Microsoft, each time an Enterprise Architect is assigned to a specific area of the business, each one has a unique “engagement” with their stakeholders.  In very large organizations (like mine), there may be many different IT units as well as many...
  • Blog Post: Setting Up A New EA or BA Practice

    Recently, I was contacted via this blog by an individual who had been challenged to set up a new Business Architecture practice within his company’s Enterprise Architecture team. He reached out to me to ask about some books to read and some advice. I’m expanding my message to him here. As...
  • Blog Post: Should We Kill The Architecture Review Board?

    OK… I’ll say it.  The whole idea of an Architecture Review Board may be wrong-headed.  That officially puts me at odds with industry standards like CobiT, ongoing practices in IT architecture, and a litany of senior leaders that I respect and admire.  So, why say it?  I have my reasons...
  • Blog Post: Time-to-Release – the missing System Quality Attribute

    I’ve been looking at different ways to implement the ATAM method these past few weeks.  Why?  Because I’m looking at different ways to evaluate software architecture and I’m a fan of the ATAM method pioneered at the Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon University.  Along the...
  • Blog Post: How Enterprise Architects can cope with Opportunistic Failure

    You may not think that Failure is a desired outcome, and on the surface, there are some negative connotations to failure.  It just sounds “bad” for a team to fail.  However, there are times when a manager will INTENTIONALLY fail in a goal.  Let’s look at the scenario where a manager may...
  • Blog Post: Governance in an Organic Enterprise

    I spent a few minutes this evening reading through Tom Graves’ fascinating post Management as ‘just another service’ and it got me thinking of Governance in the organic enterprise. As Tom describes, there are two paradigms of management at play: organization as machine, and organization as living organism...
  • Blog Post: The Rule of EA Governance

    There is a clear distinction between Enterprise Architecture, as described by the architect, and Enterprise Architecture as implemented by the enterprise.  I would like to posit the following as a fundamental principle that describes the difference: All Enterprise Architecture will be implemented...
  • Blog Post: Video Podcast: How Microsoft Does Enterprise Architecture

    It is amazing how often I need to share the very basic concept of Enterprise Architecture with my peers, customers, stakeholders, and associates.  Microsoft’s customers often ask about Enterprise Architecture, and when our customers come to visit us in the Microsoft Executive Briefing Center, they...
  • Blog Post: Segment Architecture in a Commercial Setting

    The notion of an Enterprise Architect in a Segment (aka “Segment Architect”) has been fairly well described in for the Federal Enterprise Architecture Framework. (FSAM reference ). It is not always well understood, and there are a small number of blog posts that disparage the concept. That...
  • Blog Post: The responsibility of architecture is to create an architecture of responsibility

    I cannot take credit for that aphorism … credit goes to Jan Van Til .  He coined the term after reading Tom Graves’ excellent post on the architecture of responsibility .  Tom’s post details the philosophical challenges of a responsibility-based economy.  However, I’d like to get a little...
  • Blog Post: It’s not about cost savings… it’s about value

    The word ‘value’ has too many meanings and sometimes it masks a real problem.  I had a conversation with a very smart customer recently, where their IT division is going through a transformation to help their business compete.  I asked if their transformation has the purpose of making IT cost...
  • Blog Post: Enterprise Architecture and the Lessons of History

    I am an Enterprise Architect.  It is my job to look at things the way they are, and envision the things that should be.  It is my role to describe specific actions that specific people can take to change things (systems, processes, corporate structures, etc.) to lead an enterprise towards a...
  • Blog Post: Enterprise Architects Are The Gears, Not The Grease

    I’ve often heard “soft” metaphors used when discussing Enterprise Architects.  Some compare EA to the grease in a machine… necessary for the machine to run but we don’t provide the energy for progress so much as we reduce the friction.  Others use a “sticky” metaphor, saying that EA is the...
  • Blog Post: Can Federal EA ever include the full scope of Enterprise Architecture?

    Adrian Grigoriu recently posted about the failure of EA frameworks to address real enterprise architecture, due to their focus on IT and lack of focus on business.  He is right, of course, in pointing out that TOGAF does not cover Enterprise Architecture fully and that Zachman is so poor that it...
  • Blog Post: Inserting Architectural Governance into the IT Program Funding Cycle

    People do what you pay them to do.  That much is clear.  In most businesses, if you pay (reward, incentive) your employees for performing a particular task, then the task will be performed.  Also in most businesses, people are busy, so if you don’t pay them to perform a particular task...
  • Blog Post: Should IT run “like a business” or “like a non-profit?”

    Why is it so hard to run IT like a business?  Because, I can choose to be a customer of a business, and I can choose not to be a customer.  Businesses don’t mind because there are usually lots of potential customers, so getting a market share of 1% can lead to a great deal of success. IT does...
  • Blog Post: How to Develop a Governance Program (that doesn’t suck the life out of your organization)

    Enterprise Architecture has a role to play in both developing a vision of the future, and in providing governance and oversight to make sure that the organization can measure its progress towards that future. The governance part is tricky.  Architectural Governance is part of a larger fabric of...
  • Blog Post: Why Agile Development Requires Agile Architecture

    The dark cloud of the economic downturn has produced a silver lining within Microsoft IT: an increased emphasis on Agile development techniques.  This does not mean that MS IT is new to using Agile.  Far from it.  Agile development practices have been used in various IT groups here for...
  • Blog Post: All the questions fit to answer

    As we look to using tools for Strategic Planning in IT, I am constantly reminded of the fact that many business people don’t know what Strategic planning is, or why anyone should bother doing it. This is not a Microsoft thing. As I read the reports from our consultants in the field, and speak with tool...
  • Blog Post: Using the PMO to measure the behavior of the customer

    There are a great many products on the market these days that provide information about a set of projects.  The idea is to let the stakeholders know how well their money is being spent.  Information Technology departments often get criticized for "always asking for money" but never...
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