Thoughts of the Day 2022

01 Jan 2022 — “It is not an individual act, architecture. You have to consider your client. Only out of that can you produce great architecture. You cannot work in the abstract.” — I. M. Pei

02 Jan 2022 — No one person can truly understand their enterprise. It would be impossible. Even experts in narrow fields have gaps in their knowledge about their expertise so how could you be expected to understand your enterprise when it’s composed of the combined actions of hundreds or thousands of experts? At best you can understand a summary of their actions. This is one of the many reasons why it’s important to understand your key stakeholders’ needs. By spreading the load, you’re crowd-sourcing the understanding of the enterprise. 

03 Jan 2022 — If you don’t think things through for yourself, who’s doing your thinking for you?

04 Jan 2022 — Strategy is the art of the military general. At its core, it is a plan to take territory from your enemies and secure victory over them.

05 Jan 2022 — There are always written requirements for an architecture that anyone can read. To be a good architect, you also need to read your stakeholders’ unwritten requirements.

06 Jan 2022 — Enterprise Architecture is the architecture of the enterprise. The architecture of business operations make up most of EA and the surface-level architecture of IT is only one corner of the subject. While the business operations need to be covered in depth, the depths of the IT side are best left to IT architects.

07 Jan 2022 — What is Enterprise Architecture? It is both the architecture of *the* enterprise and the architecture of *an* enterprise. The first is the architecture of the whole enterprise, the second is the architecture of a change to it. Only when you have described the architecture of the whole enterprise can you get a true grasp on changes to it.

08 Jan 2022 — “The reason for the difference between the architectural and engineering ‘climate’, so to speak, is very complex. It is partly a matter of terminology, partly a matter of historical accident, and the consequent training of architects and engineers, and mostly a matter of what is commonly supposed to be the difference in content or context — architecture being concerned with producing works of art; engineering with utility structures.” — Yanni Alexander Loukissas

09 Jan 2022 — Unless a citation in a paper is to a set of data and how to reproduce the results, it’s probably argumentum ad verecundiam; effectively a way of saying it must be true because someone important said it. You only have to look at politicians to understand why that’s a bad idea. Arguments from authority can be true but it’s better to think of them in terms of probability. An authority-figure said it was true so it’s possible and worth investigating but maybe it’s not true for us.

10 Jan 2022 — If you are not the originator of an idea, are you qualified to review it? If the idea comes from a different domain, do you understand enough of that domain? Should you refuse to work with ideas you don’t understand or is work with them an inevitable part of architecture?

11 Jan 2022 — We all know the main texts of architecture but they are just the surface level of our trade. Every architect needs to have at least some education in psychology, economics, philosophy, statistics, art, sculpture, ergonomics and law. What else would you add to that list?

12 Jan 2022 — Unless you have a monopoly, all of business is a beauty pageant. Are your competitors’ products or services attractive? Are yours more attractive than theirs? Is your business more attractive than theirs? One of the many reasons that monopolies are bad is the products and services are able to become ugly. The pursuit of beauty is a good thing.

13 Jan 2022 — And, Or, Xor and Not. These are basis of all computers. It’s quite possible to completely understand them but not even remotely understand how you could use them to add two numbers. Let alone understand the architecture of the most basic CPU. People can understand the building blocks but miss it’s the structure that makes the difference. This is analogous to what happens with many people when they look at Process Architecture (what TOGAF mistakenly calls Business Architecture). They look at the components and understand them but miss the structure. And it’s the structure that makes the difference.

14 Jan 2022 — Growing up in a family of journalists meant early lessons that politicians on both sides lie and most media outlets promote one set of lies or the other. If you just hear one side, you have no idea what’s really happening in the world. You have to hear the news from both sides to get an honest idea of reality. If you only hear one side, there’s a strong chance you will make worse decisions than if you didn’t hear any news at all. Architecture requires honesty. That means you have to listen to all sides. You don’t have to agree with them but you do have to listen. And make an honest attempt to understand.

15 Jan 2022 — “If Nature had been comfortable, mankind would never have invented architecture.” — Oscar Wilde

16 Jan 2022 — Pretty much every day, there’s a story about how some company left an AWS S3 bucket open to the world and huge amounts of unencrypted data was given away. For that to happen, whoever configured the S3 did it deliberately. They might not have intended for the data to be made public but it takes a deliberate act. Security starts at the highest level so, as an Enterprise Architect, you have to be able to not just understand Security Architecture but be good enough at it that security is built in to the very foundations of how you work. Forget the books on business improvement until you know how to keep one secure.

17 Jan 2022 — According to BIZBOK, these are the core aspects of Business Architecture.

A Business Architect helps to formulate them. For instance, they are someone involved in the formulation of company policies. It means working with the exec and is a very senior role.

18 Jan 2022 — Give a man a fish and he’ll waste half then moan unless you give him another one tomorrow. Let a man work for a fish and he’ll appreciate it.

19 Jan 2022 — Process Architecture is one of the fundamental structures of business operations. In an org chart, you have the people who do the actual work; above them are the management and support structures that ensure the work can be done well. BPMN and similar flowcharts are for the actual work; above them are the governance and other structures that ensure the work can be done well. Those structures are the Process Architecture. They contain far more than just the processes.

20 Jan 2022 — Architecture requires structure. Process, people, capability, information, server, value stream, motivation, function, application, event, etc… these are all the equivalent of materials like bricks or planks. The structure comes from how you fit them together. Putting two bricks together does not make a building. Putting two processes together is not structure. But it is a start. Structure comes from putting hundreds or even thousands of them together.

20 Jan 2022 — What is the difference between a model of the business and the business model? The problem is the word “model” has two different definitions here. Model of the business uses “something built or drawn to show how something much larger would look” like an architect’s plans. Whereas business model uses “an approach or way of doing something” like a school education model.

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