Inside Architecture

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

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  • Blog Post: All Effective Enterprise Architects Are Agile

    I explained to one of my clients recently that there is a perception of animosity between the Enterprise Architecture community and the Agile community.  Both sides make assumptions about the other, often assumptions that are simply unfair.  For example, many in the EA community think of “agile...
  • Blog Post: Everything you’ve read about IT Project Failure is wrong

    I did a scan around the web to figure out what many of the leading thinkers were saying about IT project failure and the root causes.  Numbers varied between 20% and 80% of projects failing to deliver on their business case.  The root cause analysis that follows from these failure numbers spends...
  • 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: 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: It has value… but do you need it?

    Recently, Chris Potts threw this nugget out on Twitter: chrisdpotts Instead of 'demand-managing' to fit an arbitrary IT budget, challenge whether your strategy needs the value an investment is promising What a terrific comment and one that really hits home with me. As we look to create...
  • Blog Post: How the Program Management Office Views Enterprise Architecture…

    There’s an interesting analysis available through the PMO Executive Board on “Project Interdependencies.”  In the problem statement, the author correctly observes: As the volume and size of projects grow, the old problem of managing project and program interdependencies is becoming more acute: three...
  • Blog Post: Modeling User Experience Scenarios

    I’m working on modeling some requirements for a document management system.  I’m a big fan of using models to represent every element, from goals and strategies through to business processes.  From there, I model use cases and requirements and on down to system components that fulfill those...
  • Blog Post: Should some requirements be called out as “architectural” requirements?

    Some methodologies of software architecture, including EWITA , attempt to describe architectural processes in a manner that is quite separate from the development of software.  Is that valid? To whit, the first step in the EWITA process is described as “architectural requirements.” Yet, there doesn...
  • Blog Post: Make IT appear as simple as possible, but not simpler

    Sometimes I hear a complaint from an IT architect who wants to have direct conversations with “the business” or “the customer” but, for some reason (usually bureaucratic), they cannot.  There is a team of analysts or project managers that they are supposed to talk to.  The original objective...
  • 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: Collecting requirements from business processes

    Ah, the sweet sounds of success.  I got the opportunity, this week, to collect a list of requirements for a strategic planning tool that we will license and use within Microsoft IT (COTS).  The fact that I got to collect requirements is not particularly cool.  What is cool is this: I made...
  • Blog Post: Ship It!

    It's been a while since I was blogging regularly. The reason: I was in a ship cycle. As we approached our deadline for delivery of a comprehensive end-to-end information model for information technology, more and more of my time was spent focusing on the details. Is it explained well enough? Are all...
  • Blog Post: Software Reflects The Process That Creates It

    Of all the ‘laws of software’ that I subscribe to, this one is one of the most fundamental, and unwavering.  I cannot find an exception to it, and years of experience reinforce it for me.  I can look at a chunk of source code, or an operations manual, or even a build script, and see the effects...
  • 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...
  • Blog Post: The business value of elegant design

    In my last post , I highlighted the design process, suggesting that designers and architects should consider using creativity, in addition to methods and patterns, to build a truly useful system.  In this one, I'd like to talk about the business value of this idea.  What does the business get...
  • Blog Post: Non-Functional Requirements: the "All-Other" classification

    I've seen various taxonomies of requirements.  Like all taxonomies, any set of requirement types exists to classify or partition requirements into coherent groups for further analysis.  Most break down the list of requirements into things reminiscent of "who or where the requirement comes...
  • Blog Post: Understanding Governance as Decision Rights

    Todd Biske, whom I respect for his writings on SOA, seemed to miss the mark in his recent blog post about SOA Governance and Decision Rights.  In that post, he said: if you focus on education, you can allow individual teams to make decisions, because you’ve given them the necessary information...
  • Blog Post: Clarifying the Use Case

    A Use case is a cool thing.  A little too cool.  The term has been occasionally misused, and in some respects, that misuse diminishes the value of a use case.  To succeed, we have to know what a use case is.   When you are done reading this post , you will still know what a use...
  • Blog Post: Using Business Process Models as the source for software requirements

    Requirements elicitation is a critical, yet under-appreciated, activity.  A core capability of business analysts, the ability to get the customers to describe what they want, and need, is both a science and an art.  Requirements elicitation requires equal measures of careful planning, situational...
  • Blog Post: Preventing Ownerless Activities -- the "Blame the Computer" process modeling antipattern - part 2

    In a prior post, I described a process modeling antipattern which I called " Blame the Computer ." The feedback helped me to realize that there's a deeper problem that we need to consider: alignment of ownership between process and IT. Ownership of a process We all do this. We say things that are...
  • Blog Post: The Usefulness of the Use Case?

    I'm a big fan of use cases.  Great for describing how software is used, and puts context around the use of functionality that helps software developers to create solutions that will actually fit into human activities.  On the other hand, are there drawbacks to using use cases for flushing out...
  • Blog Post: Example of modeling requirements in a process diagram

    We use process models for lots of things. One is simply to understand the processes we have and to analyze them looking for opportunities to improve. But in IT, we have another good reason: to better understand software requirements. One goal that we are chasing these days, on my project, is tracability...
  • Blog Post: Leaving technology out of requirements gathering

    I'm going to suggest a minimal way to gather requirements, one that produces a (minimum) requirements document in an iterative and agile manner. A little background In the systems space, it is common to write up a "requirements document" that attempts to capture all of the business requirements...
  • Blog Post: Selling to Executives - Investigate their metaphors

    This tidbit came to me indirectly. I was having a meeting with a talented architect this afternoon, and after the meeting wrapped up, we were chatting about some of the different tactics we've seen for "selling an idea to an executive." At the end of the day, the ability to influence an executive is...
  • Blog Post: Introducing the "Double Iron Triangle" of Enterprise Architecture

    You have probably heard of the Iron Triangle of project management (Cost, Scope, and Time). Did you know that Enterprise Architecture has it's own iron triangle? It does, and understanding the EA triangle is a great way to understand and describe the role, mission, and value of Enterprise Architecture...
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