Architecture Thoughts of the day

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.

21 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.

22 Jan 2022 — “Living in new shapes, reshapes our thinking.” — Lois Farfel Stark

23 Jan 2022 — Enterprise Architecture — the architecture of the business operating model — faces a mortal threat because so many people deliberately pretend it’s just the latest incarnation of IT architecture either through ignorance or to make a quick buck. Often both. Business Architecture — the architecture of the business model — faces a similar mortal threat because so many people deliberately pretend it’s just the latest incarnation of Business Analysis. Again, either through ignorance or to make a quick buck. Again, often both. There is a major difference though. Where the mortal threat to Enterprise Architecture is invariably about dragging it back to 90s IT architecture by downplaying everything that’s not IT, the mortal threat to Business Architecture comes from people adding skills to Business Analysts. These opposite kinds of threat point to major gaps in the market of ideas. Profitable gaps. Profitable gaps that, if filled, would remove the threat to the biggest leap forward in business design.

24 Jan 2022 — The exception never proves the rule; it disproves the rule. It could show the rule might apply in general but not always in specific edge cases. Maybe, maybe not. The rule is disproved. An architect can be undone by this. A smart architect can also take advantage of it.

25 Jan 2022 — The external beauty of your business is the responsibility of your Brand Manager but not theirs alone. If your business is known as a good place to work, that adds to the beauty. The beauty is the surface; the appeal the business has to those outside of it. That surface is supported by the structures architects help to create. All of this is teamwork.

26 Jan 2022 — Think of Enterprise Architecture like Physics or Chemistry or Economics. If someone had done less than three years of full-time eduction in Physics but claimed to be a Physicist, you wouldn’t believe them. Now imagine they only went on a five day course and claimed to be a certified Physicist. What does that tell you about that person? What does it tell you about the people who gave the certification? It’s the same for EA. That’s before we get to the people who haven’t even been on a five day course but claim to be an architect.

27 Jan 2022 — One of the things that constantly amazes me is so many IT people think Enterprise Architecture is an IT thing. A typical enterprise has at least 1000 apps in play and most of them are standalone. The architecture of standalone apps is a list. Maybe in alphabetical order if you want to be nice.

28 Jan 2022 — If you have 1000+ apps and 800 of them are standalone, that means 200 of them are integrated. Surely that’s where EITA happens? In some ways yes but in most ways no. When you switch to using System Environment Diagrams (AKA System Context Diagrams) you eventually realise there is no EITA. There are 200 individual architectures that talk to each other. Trying to build an EITA is incredibly stressful because it’s not really a thing. It looks like it should be a thing; surely all of those systems that talk to each other form a single system; an architecture? But no. What they form is not an architecture but a network of interconnected systems.

29 Jan 2022 — “One afternoon he started to talk about his collection of books. Of 3000 books, he found only 30 worth keeping. We were all ready to take notes, expecting Mies to tell us the titles of those 30 books. Mies, instead, with a big smile on his face told us they were important only to him and we must find our own 30 by ourselves.” — Werner Blaser

30 Jan 2022 — Some things cannot be learned quickly. In IT, the pressure is on to deliver. That means IT people are trained to walk into a meeting and have the start of the grasp on a subject within an hour. This is a double-edged sword. It’s great for delivering IT systems but it builds a bad habit in a lot of people. They get used to it and think they can pick up the basics of anything in an hour. Enterprise Architecture takes years to grasp. This often seems to cause cognitive dissonance in people who are used to grasping the basics in an hour. They cannot pick it up in an hour so it must be fake. Or it must be limited to the bits they did understand in an hour. Some things take a long time to learn even for the smartest people.

31 Jan 2022 — You can judge a book by its cover most of the time. There are tons of people employed specifically to create book covers to aid your judgement. This goes doubly for you as a person. Unless you have an incredible reputation, how you appear to others matters for exactly the same reason. You are the person specifically employed to aid their judgement.

01 Feb 2022 — When an architect prefers Service over Process orientation, this is no different than a building architect preferring concrete over brick. Both have their advantages but, in the long run, they both fade into the background while the structure remains.

02 Feb 2022 — A good knowledge of Data Architecture, Applications Architecture and Infrastructure Architecture are not enough to become an Enterprise Architect. Business Analysis skills are essential but not still won’t get you there. It’s not until you have become an expert in Process Architecture (what TOGAF mistakenly calls Business Architecture) that you can claim to be an EA.

03 Feb 2022 — Process Architecture is not the same as Business Analysis. Where a Business Analyst might draw BPMN diagrams, a Process Architect is responsible for the structure that allows all of the BPMN diagrams across the entire business to be connected. Not just connected to each other but connected to all of the main concepts in use in the business, e.g. to the org chart, the management reporting, the objectives, etc.

04 Feb 2022 — The upper three quarters of the TOGAF metamodel is all about the business. Someone with an understanding of Business Analysis should understand most if not all of those boxes. That’s not enough for an Enterprise Architect. An EA needs to be able to architect the operations of a business using them. Not draw a flowchart of what a few people do but an architecture that shows what the whole business does.

05 Feb 2022 — “The fate of the architect is the strangest of all in this way. How often he expends his whole soul, his whole heart and passion, to produce buildings into which he himself may never enter.” — Goethe

06 Feb 2022 — If a strategy failed for one business, it will probably fail for them all. On a microcosm, a greengrocer down the road from me went bust because of a lack of customers. Someone decided to re-open it and went bust a few months later. Businesses do this all the time. Governments do this all the time. Voters vote for this all the time. Part of your job as an Enterprise Architect is to warn others; to be smart enough to spot it and clearly articulate the strategy is a bad one. Most of the time, people won’t listen. You have to try anyway. Don’t push it and never say told you so.

07 Feb 2022 — Bricks, wood and glass are materials to a building architect. A building architect shows how those materials can be structured to make a whole building. People, process and technology are materials to an Enterprise Architect. Those materials can be structured to make a whole business.

08 Feb 2022 — Why are Environment (System Context) diagrams such an important change? Because they don’t confuse the system with the network. They work by simply showing the system and what connects to it. The system sits in the middle; inputs come in from the left and outputs go out to the right; storage goes below; and users are on top. No lines leave the diagram.

You might look at the diagram and ask, “but where does System 4 get its data?” The answer can be found on the Environment diagram for System 4.

09 Feb 2022 — If your business is steadily sidelining your Enterprise Architecture team, the problem is not the business. The business is trying to protect itself from what it perceives as damage caused by your EA team. That perception may or may not be true, either way it means you have work to do to fix it.

10 Feb 2022 — Unless you can explain someone’s argument in a way they would agree with, you have no idea whether or not they have a point.

11 Feb 2022 — Suppose 500 people each deposit £1000 in a bank. The bank gives you a mortgage to buy a £500,000 house. The original depositors still have their £500,000. You have a £500,000 house. And the seller now also has £500,000. Has all that extra money just magically appeared? No. And you need to understand enough economics to explain far more complex scenarios than this. Money can be in many places at once. Including the future.

12 Feb 2022 — “Architecture is a fuzzy amalgamation of ancient knowledge and contemporary practice, an awkward way to look at the world and an inadequate medium to operate on it. Any architectural project takes five years; no single enterprise — ambition, intention, need — remains unchanged in the contemporary maelstrom. Architecture is too slow. Yes, the word ‘architecture’ is still pronounced with certain reverence (outside the profession). It embodies the lingering hope — or the vague memory of a hope — that shape, form, coherence could be imposed on the violent surf of information that washes over us daily. Maybe, architecture doesn’t have to be stupid after all. Liberated from the obligation to construct, it can become a way of thinking about anything — a discipline that represents relationships, proportions, connections, effects, the diagram of everything.” — Rem Koolhaas

13 Feb 2022 — There is a simple test whether you understand Enterprise Architecture or not. If you were given an EA tool and asked to model of how your entire enterprise works — from the board to the post room — using all of an EA metamodel, could you do it?

14 Feb 2022 — A lot of people have some very strange ideas about architecture that involve the architect and their ego being more important than the client. That’s not how it works. Clients tell architects what they need and architects work to ensure those needs are met. The client is never the only stakeholder so there are lots of other needs to be met. The architect’s needs are last on the list and their ego should be nowhere.

15 Feb 2022 — Some of the most famous and rich CEOs in the world earned that job title in their teens and carried on from there. Yet there are still plenty of “experts” who will say you can’t be an Enterprise Architect until you have decades of experience. The country that figures out how to turn EA into a three year university course for wannabe business leaders will rule the world.

16 Feb 2022 — The process hierarchy has multiple levels. My training was 0-6 but there are many different numbering standards. When you understand one, you understand them all. This is the structure that allows you to connect decisions made by the board with what happens at the coal face.

17 Feb 2022 — What is a metamodel? You can see the core Archimate metamodel here:
And you can download the free Archi tool here:
The Archimate metamodel is the schema for the database used in Archi.

18 Feb 2022 — How many things went wrong at work today? Now stop and think about how many went right. Even on a bad day, the things that went wrong were trivial compared with the number of things that went right.

19 Feb 2022 — “It may sound ridiculous to say that Bell and his successors were the fathers of modern commercial architecture — of the skyscraper. But wait a minute. Take the Singer Building, the Flatiron Building, the Broad Exchange, the Trinity, or any of the giant office buildings. How many messages do you suppose go in and out of those buildings every day? Suppose there was no telephone and every message had to be carried by a personal messenger? How much room do you think the necessary elevators would leave for offices? Such structures would be an economic impossibility.” — John J. Carty

20 Feb 2022 — Suppose your business develops a huge piece of software. So big it involves hundreds of developers and there are always parts of it under development. Suppose the Software Architect says they only do designs for the parts under development and don’t keep a design for the whole thing. Are you nervous yet? How long before it goes off the rails? Or has it already gone off the rails? You don’t know and neither does the Software Architect. Now think about the fact so many people who claim to be an Enterprise Architect also claim they don’t need to keep a design for the whole enterprise.

21 Feb 2022 — Does modelling an enterprise make you an architect? No. Modelling is the work of a draughtsman. However, if you want to be an architect, you must learn to be a draughtsman because your model is how you communicate the architecture.

22 Feb 2022 — Your model is how you communicate the architecture. It is how you collaborate with other architects. It is something you can query in order to analyse the architecture. It allows you to experiment and visualise. There is no Enterprise Architecture without models.

23 Feb 2022 — Neither Achimate nor TOGAF teach you how to architect anything. Archimate is a notation system for drawing architectures in the same way BPMN is a notation system for drawing flowcharts. TOGAF is a framework not architecture. Despite both being standards from The Open Group, they are not even compatible with each other.

24 Feb 2022 — Truth in architecture isn’t a single set of knowledge, it’s a direction you surf through the vast sea of knowledge.

25 Feb 2022 — A lot of IT architects are surprised that IT only appears at the bottom of the process hierarchy. If level 0 is the board, how come IT is all the way down at level 5 and below? Just because it’s at the bottom of the hierarchy doesn’t change its importance. We spend millions on IT for a reason.

26 Feb 2022 — “What is intellectually interesting about visions are their assumptions and their reasoning, but what is socially crucial is the extent to which they are resistant to evidence.” — Thomas Sowell

27 Feb 2022 — Every enterprise is different. Even in the same markets producing similar products or services, there are huge differences between them. That makes it hard to show business leaders an architecture which clicks with them unless you can show them the architecture of their own enterprise.

28 Feb 2022 — The shaman thinks if he wiggles his hips just right, the lightning will come. It worked once therefore it will work again. Enterprise Architecture and the broader topic of business both have an awful lot of shaman. People who worked hard and had a successful outcome but have a false idea of what delivered that outcome. Many of them are keen to teach you how to wiggle your hips. Make sure you learn from someone who can teach you how to build a lightning rod and do a weather forecast. 

01 Mar 2022 — Why do EA tools matter? Why do you need a model of the complete enterprise? Because without them you’re just back to old-fashioned, 90s-style top-down design and inaccurate impact assessments that take months. With an EA tool and a complete model, impact assessments are accurate and take hours. This allows you to What-If potential strategies faster than your competitors. The complete model means middle-out and bottom-up designs can seamlessly fit with the strategy or even help to drive it.

02 Mar 2022 — Digital Transformation is inevitable. The big question is, should your business shutter its non-Digital As-Is? There is a strong argument for ignoring Digital Transformation; to instead build something completely new. Let the old As-Is keep on and gently fizzle away with time. That route requires more investment but will be less disruptive and may have less risk.

03 Mar 2022 — When action is impossible, make plans. The moment action becomes possible again, you will have a plan. The one with a plan is the one ready to move the fastest.

04 Mar 2022 — If you aim to become an Enterprise Architect, you need to learn how to draw a summary of the business operations for the board. You also need to learn how to draw a detailed design of the work done by individuals at the bottom of the hierarchy. Then you need to learn how connect those. That means you need to learn how to draw a summary of the business operations of every level in-between.

05 Mar 2022 — “Spaces that at first may appear to reflect a simple condition are much more complex when the actions of individuals and groups are factored in. These unique patterns of movement through space can and should guide the architecture we build to serve them.” — Catie Marron

06 Mar 2022 — A cargo ship is mostly designed by engineers. However, that’s just the ship. What will the crew do? Who will manage the crew? Who will decide where the ship goes? How will the ship navigate? What ports will it visit? What cargo will it carry in order to make a profit? Who will find the customers? The ship itself may be mostly designed by engineers but it’s only a small part of the picture. The same is true in Enterprise Architecture. Some parts of the enterprise are designed by engineers but their view is as narrow as the engineers who design a cargo ship. Engineers do great work but an architect needs to understand the rest of the enterprise.

07 Mar 2022 — Even if you know more than anyone else about a topic, others may know more about specific parts.

08 Mar 2022 — If you only have one plan, it might work. But when it comes in contact with reality, it might also be a dead end. Make lots of plans. Then you have options no matter what reality throws at you.

09 Mar 2022 — Presentation matters. At the top of business, you might hope for a meritocracy. In most ways, it is but probably several levels beyond what you expect. If you hope to be promoted and someone else of equal skill is your rival, you’d better go to the gym more often than they do. You’d better wear nicer clothes. You’d better hone your charm. Because if there are two equally capable candidates but one is more healthy, presentable and charming, guess who will get the job?

10 Mar 2022 — Get fast at making and changing plans. It means you can adapt no matter what reality throws at you.

11 Mar 2022 — The easiest way to kill off Business Architecture or Enterprise Architecture is to put them under the CIO. It would be an example of the tail trying to wag the dog… like IT is trying to tell people how to run the business. Key stakeholders will sideline it. Business Architecture or Enterprise Architecture need to be independent internal consultancies for them to be taken seriously.

12 Mar 2022 — “But architects are not makers of public policy and, while they can design whatever they please, they can build only what a client wants to pay for.” — Paul Goldberger

13 Mar 2022 — As an architect, you must have a strong understanding of all the main concepts and the words used to describe them. You must also be prepared that you will be the only one who consistently uses the words correctly.

14 Mar 2022 — Probably the biggest question in Enterprise Architecture is, how do so many people become TOGAF certified without understanding TOGAF?

15 Mar 2022 — There’s a big difference between architecture and design. Enterprise Architecture needs an EA tool. You can’t do it without one. You can do design work without an EA tool but not architecture. 

16 Mar 2022 — One of the many reasons it’s a bad idea to put Business Architecture or Enterprise Architecture under the CIO is the team it will accumulate. Under the CIO, most of the architects will be drawn from IT because they’re the familiar faces. That might work in a tech business but in almost any other industry, it will quickly relegate the architecture team to IT architecture work. Business Architects need to be drawn from the exec, Enterprise Architects can be drawn from across the business and IT architects should be allowed to play to their strengths building great IT architectures. 

17 Mar 2022 — When you are fast at making and changing plans, remember that direction is more important. If you change your plans every time there is a storm, you might be agile but you might also be directionless. Sometimes you have to head straight through the storm.

18 Mar 2022 — The second best way to get promoted is to make those above you look so good they get headhunted for much better paid jobs. The best way to get promoted is to teach this philosophy to those below you.

19 Mar 2022 — “[I learned[ From Diognetus, to shun vain pursuits, not to be led away with the impostures of wizards and sooth-sayers, who pretend they can discharge evil spirits, and do strange feats by the strength of a charm” — Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

20 Mar 2022 — Enterprises are not static things so why would a static diagram be any use to describe one?

21 Mar 2022 — Imagine the scenario. A factory worker asks a building architect what the architect does. The building architect says they design factory buildings. The factory worker asks the architect to sketch a factory. The factory worker looks at the sketch and says it looks nothing like the factory they work in then claims architecture must be a load of rubbish. This is what a lot of conversations are like to an EA. Architecture needs imagination and many stakeholders simply cannot understand that level of abstraction.

22 Mar 2022 — Enterprise Architecture is not like physical architecture. Where physical architecture resides in 4 dimensions, EA is n-dimensional. If you want to understand it, you need to be able to think in more than 4 dimensions. It’s easier than it sounds but takes work to achieve.

23 Mar 2022 — Enterprise Architecture connects the smallest of details with the biggest of the big pictures. They are all part of one structure.

24 Mar 2022 — If what you call Enterprise Architecture is the same as what you were doing in the 90s as business and IT practices but with a few new buzzwords, guess what? That isn’t EA. The big attraction of EA is that it provides a new way that was impossible in the 90s.

25 Mar 2022 — There are otherwise smart people who cannot imagine how Enterprise Architecture is done and conclude, if they can’t understand it, it cannot be real. This is especially true in organisations where EA has never been practiced or they’ve misnamed their EITA as EA. This can be deeply disappointing and frustrating but remember smart people tend to be smart only in a few directions. Chemistry is an unknown country to many mathematicians.

26 Mar 2022 — “We are what we build.” — Lois Farfel Stark

27 Mar 2022 — If Enterprise Architecture is n-dimensional, how do you think in n-dimensions? One way is to temporarily limit your degrees of freedom. We are used to 3 dimensions where we can move from A to B at any angle through space. We also get to see the world around us change as we move. To think n-dimensionally, you pick an n-dimensional direction, visualise all of the other dimensions as a 2D picture, travel along the chosen dimension then turn the 2D picture back into its correct number of dimensions. The only dimension that is always present is time because we can imagine a move forwards or backwards in time no matter which other dimensions are involved. 

28 Mar 2022 — The big leap forward in the architecture of business operations did not happen at the bottom of the stack. We’ve known how to architect things at the detail levels for at least a century. We’ve known how to organise the top of the business for far longer. What Enterprise Architecture brought was the ability to connect the levels in a queryable database. When you can use data analysis techniques to examine the structure of your business, everything changes.

29 Mar 2022 — Almost every solution architecture will involve applications of some sort. Hopefully, you’ll get to reuse existing apps because that’s usually the cheapest option. 

30 Mar 2022 — When a building architect draws a wall, they don’t draw the individual bricks. The exact location of each brick is not essential to the design. It is a choice for the bricklayer and allows them to use their skills. The same is true in Enterprise Architecture. Give your builders enough information to build your design and also enough freedom to use their skills.

31 Mar 2022 — Does it matter the Cloud is just someone else’s servers? Does it matter your business rents its offices? Does it matter your business leases its vehicles? There is a huge difference. In the case of the offices and vehicles, your business has possession of them. The owner of the building must get a court order before they can lock you out. The owner of the vehicles cannot just turn up and take them away. Your business does not have possession of the Cloud servers. If you rely on the Cloud, are you one poorly-worded marketing campaign away from being put out of business? Make sure your contracts protect you from your Cloud providers.

01 Apr 2022 — Sometimes you have to take a chance. Look at the talents of your stakeholders and try to recognise the combinations that could deliver a serious improvement. Not every investment has to pay off. But if you trust your stakeholders and their talents, maybe you should build a case, explain the risks and let the investors decide.

02 Apr 2022 — “But perhaps to the inexperienced it will seem a marvel that human nature can comprehend such a great number of studies and keep them in the memory. Still, the observation that all studies have a common bond of union and intercourse with one another, will lead to the belief that this can easily be realised. For a broad education forms, as it were, a single body made up of these members. Those, therefore, who from tender years receive instruction in the various forms of learning, recognise the same stamp on all the arts, and an intercourse between all studies, and so they more readily comprehend them all.” — Vitruvius, The Ten Books on Architecture

03 Apr 2022 — Whether you consider it a hierarchy, a composition or levels of abstraction, the idea that almost anything can be broken down into component parts or assembled into something greater is a fundamental concept in architecture. We break the whole down into smaller, more manageable pieces so those who will build it can understand. We describe the whole for those who will operate it. As architects. we must understand both the detail and the big picture.

04 Apr 2022 — Some things you can learn in a day. Others take much longer. Still others are a life-long journey. Architecture is the last. It takes years just to become a beginner.

05 Apr 2022 — When you understand the full spectrum of Enterprise Architecture, you not only gain the ability to architect any part of the business but also gain an understanding of your limitations. You become a generalist. Almost all of the architecture work should be done by the domain architects under your direction. Would you do the work better than them? Maybe. But they have to learn and grow. And you need them to do it if you’re going to learn and grow too.

06 Apr 2022 — Change is when you take something you do and improve on it. Transformation is when you stop doing a thing and do something completely different instead. The classic example is Netflix. The only similarity between before and after transformation is Netflix customers got to watch movies. Literally everything else changed. 

07 Apr 2022 — The map is not the territory. Just because your architectural design has a particular feature does not mean it will be there in the end. As the design is built, your understanding will change. The people involved will change. The world will change. Sometimes your design will have to change too.

08 Apr 2022 — If you want to understand transformation, the classic example is Netflix. It went from buying DVDs from wholesalers and storing them in warehouses to no DVDs or warehouses. It went from being constrained by stock and distribution via the postal service to constrained by its customers’ broadband connection speed. It went from making deals with wholesalers to making deals directly with movie studios.

09 Apr 2022 — “You miss all of the interesting stuff if you use the past to predict the future. It just doesn’t.” — Scott Adams

10 Apr 2022 — If a business is happy to carry out all of its business operations design without an architect, where does it miss out? The answer is in the details. Anyone at the top of the business can make a proclamation to make it so. They might even check that it’s feasible and affordable first. We’ve been doing it for thousands of years. It’s not architecture. Architecture helps at the top but the difference it delivers is connecting the levels below. If you go the old fashioned way, a decision can be passed down through the human hierarchy. Architecture recognises many more hierarchies and passes decisions down all the rest of them too. Unlike the human hierarchy, it can show the effect of a decision from top to bottom in seconds.

11 Apr 2022 — At first there was pencil and paper. Then there was CAD. Now there is architecture information management — entity relationships based on the information held in a database. Each caused a huge leap forward in architecture. With each progression, the architects of the previous generation seem less and less like architects to the users of the latest. This is because the capabilities enhanced by the tools mean an architect using them can do things the previous generation may not even understand and design things which were previously impossible.

12 Apr 2022 — The main value stream for an Enterprise Architect is – Negotiation >> Design >> Communication – which, like every value stream, is oversimplified and usually every part of it is going on at the same time. 

13 Apr 2022 — One of the worst things you will face as an Enterprise Architect is the sheer number of people who think Enterprise Architecture is an IT role. This isn’t helped by the sheer number of people from IT who pretend to be experts in EA only for them to try to shift the definition. EA is the architecture of the enterprise. All of it. It is used to architect the whole operating model not just the IT.

14 Apr 2022 — Whether to maintain your org chart or not in your EA tool is a major question. It adds value to be able to see who does what. It takes more and more effort to maintain it the larger your business. You could just use the job and role titles which stay far more constant. 

15 Apr 2022 — Making your architecture compliant with a law is generally very easy though time-consuming. Most business law is designed to apply to thousands of businesses so is deliberately broad to allow you lots of room for interpretation on how to implement.

16 Apr 2022 — “In reality, the apparent ‘objectivity’ of modern architecture is merely a mysticism in reverse, a congealed sentimentality disguised as objectivity; moreover one has seen often enough just how quickly this attitude is converted, in its protagonists, into the most changeable and arbitrary of subjectivisms.” — Titus Burckhardt

17 Apr 2022 — There are some distinct eras in the history of Enterprise Architecture. The current era started in ~1998. Despite that, an alarming number of people are stuck in a previous era. And it’s an easy thing to do because there are so many who actively promote previous eras of EA. The start of the current era was when EA tools became capable of describing every aspect of an enterprise. They changed our ideas of what is possible. If a good architect is stuck using paper or Visio, would they be a great architect if they were using the proper tools?

18 Apr 2022 — Do qualifications matter? Not really. What matters are your talents, personality and reliability (which you can develop). Qualifications only matter when you apply for a job. Even then, your last role matters more. Make sure your coworkers get to know you. Make sure senior people want to work with you. Ask for their advice on how to do it. Actually listen. Listen hard. Actually want that advice. Then act on their advice.

19 Apr 2022 — If you are a talented architect, the idea of becoming an entrepreneur should always be on your mind. However, remember there are monarchs, advisers and jesters. All of us think we can be monarch but is that our true calling? Are you really the best person to be in charge?

20 Apr 2022 — Is the enterprise an activity system? Yes and no. Technically it’s true but if you think of your enterprise as a system, it leads to a dark place. The horror stories you hear about Amazon warehouses all have a strong whiff of architects who think of their enterprise as a system.

21 Apr 2022 — The current crop of Enterprise Architecture tools lag a long way behind the current building architecture BIM tools. This is no surprise as the market for EA tools is tiny in comparison. However, the fact none of the EA tools seem to take any inspiration from the BIM tools is embarrassing. 

22 Apr 2022 — While it would be lovely to think one day Enterprise Architecture will have its first Frank Lloyd Wright, it will probably never happen. EAs are the designers of factories, factory complexes and distributed manufacturing. We might be the only one who ever recognises the beauty in our architecture. Yet we should still strive for beauty.

23 Apr 2022 — “In a small room one does not say what one would in a large room.” — Louis Khan

24 Apr 2022 — My first brush with a card file database was as a teen in the early 80s. My father had a record collection and put it into a database on an 8bit machine. It seemed like a waste of time to me and he stopped using it less than a year later. Ha! My opinion was validated! What’s the point in a database? A few years later came my first brush with a relational database in my first real job. I dismissed it as useless because of my dumb opinion. Of course, RDMSs are far from useless. They’ve made a huge contribution to where we are as a society. People spend their entire career building and maintaining them. So why did my father’s experiment fail? Hindsight shows it was easier to keep a list on paper because the problem was too small and simple. Jump forward to today and many architects make the same mistake. They look at an EA tool and don’t see any value. It’s almost certainly because the problems they try to imagine are too small and simple.

25 Apr 2022 — The more maintenance something needs, the more likely it is someone will fail to maintain it or make a mistake while doing it.

26 Apr 2022 — The highest levels of your business does not work in the same way as the lowest levels so you cannot use the same patterns. However, the closer you can get to reusing patterns everywhere, the more value you will add for everyone. If you ensure a low-level strategy is developed in mostly the same way as a high-level one, you have also ensured a career path for talented strategists.

27 Apr 2022 — Some buildings last for hundreds of years. Other buildings only last a few decades. There are advantages to things that are built for the ages and they are often the most impressive at first glance. You might feel strong emotions at the idea of even small changes in an old building. Yet each building can be repurposed and used by many different kinds of occupant. You would feel nothing about changing or knocking down a building that was not designed to last. In Enterprise Architecture, it pays to understand the parallels.

28 Apr 2022 — If a Solution Architecture is the description of a how machine in a factory operates and how to operate it, Enterprise Architecture is the description of how the factory operates. Not just the machines in the factory, everything and everyone.

29 Apr 2022 — What is the big picture of the operating model? You could look at it three ways. The operating model is already the big picture. Or the business model is the big picture of the operating model at a single point in time. Or the business model and the strategy combined are the big picture of the operating model. The big picture for all of these is the market.

30 Apr 2022 — “An interesting plainness is the most difficult and precious thing to achieve.” — Mies Van Der Rohe

01 May 2022 — You might be tempted to give more junior architects the boring work you don’t want to do. And that’s certainly one of the benefits of leading a team. However, you’ll grow more as an architect if you regularly give each junior architect some work you would love to do. Especially if you have the time to do it yourself.

02 May 2022 — The lower the amount of maintenance needed for a thing, the longer it will survive in your business. People like reliability. This is a double-edged sword.

03 May 2022 — Mistakes. Everyone makes them. In time, you will make far fewer if you admit them and fix them.

04 May 2022 — Why is the number of Enterprise Architects with Imposter Syndrome so small in comparison with the number who are simply imposters?

05 May 2022 — You can have a guaranteed ROI now or potentially double the ROI in one year for the same money. Which do you choose? Most of the time you should choose the immediate win. A year is a long time and a lot can change. 

06 May 2022 — The other side of making mistakes is allowing your team to make them. Here you have to be a lot more careful. Let them make too many and things will rapidly become amateurish. Use too much discipline to rein them in and you will lose the creativity. Architecture needs both discipline and the freedom to make mistakes. You cannot leave the balance to chance. Thankfully, five minutes of thought should be enough for you to build a plan. Remember to adjust your plan any time there’s a significant change.

07 May 2022 — “Architecture excites our respect to the extent that it surpasses us.” — Alain de Botton

08 May 2022 — If it aint broke, don’t fix it, right? It’s true a lot of the time but it’s also how you get things like Technical Debt. Suppose you have an app which uses SQL Server. A new version of SQL Server gets released. Do you upgrade or not? The answer is, you try to upgrade. If it works, great. Or it might fail but at least you tried. But if you wait, with every new version of SQL Server, an upgrade attempt is more and more likely to fail. Which is one of the ways you get Technical Debt. So which do you go for… if it aint broke, don’t fix it… or a stitch in time saves nine? Because they can’t both be true.

09 May 2022 — If you’re going to use an EA tool, you have to go in with vision. If you start with the detail, you’ll never make it to the big picture. Start at the top of the business and work your way down to the detail. It’s going to take a long time. Probably a year or two. It’s worth it.

10 May 2022 — If a Project Manager is someone who ensures a change is delivered on time, on budget and to specification, an architect is someone who produces those specifications.

11 May 2022 — In architecture, you have to put people first. If you create a new architecture but the roles within it are boring and repetitive, you have failed as an architect. Your aim should always be to create roles that everyone wants to do. The kind of jobs that employees will take a pay-cut to do. That is difficult and rare to achieve but is the mark of a truly successful architect.

12 May 2022 — Why do we break things down into metaclasses? And what is a metaclass anyway? A metaclass is a term specific to metamodels and is another name for an entity type, e.g. process, role, capability, resource, event, etc. A metaclass is not the thing itself, it’s not the symbolic representation of the thing, it’s the category of symbol we can choose from when we model the thing. We use them because, even if something is a poor fit for a particular metaclass, that’s better than no fit. And, once they fit, we can wield the power of the model.

13 May 2022 — If you run a fashion house and set up an online store to sell your clothes, that is not a digital transformation. If you shutter your clothes manufacturing and set up an online store to sell virtual clothes in Fortnite, that is a digital transformation.

14 May 2022 — “We form a mental map and then that shape shapes us” — Lois Farfel Stark

15 May 2022 — At the highest levels, the processes become a blizzard. So we put them in groups. In any one group, you can bet most processes rely on processes from other groups. And we put the groups in groups. And those groups in groups. The further up you go, the less it makes sense to call something a process. Yet we still do. Even though it’s a group, if we treat them the same at the highest levels as we do at the lowest, there is a huge amount of value to be gained.

16 May 2022 — The operating model is often explained as people, process and technology. We put them in that order for a reason.

17 May 2022 — Look at your junior architects and realise, by accident or design, one of them might end up as your boss. So be a good boss to them because they’re learning how to be a boss from you.

18 May 2022 — Enterprise Architecture is a tiny market in comparison with the huge market for IT architecture. That leaves the EA tool makers with a tough choice. Do they try to cater to a tiny market and risk making a loss or a cater to a huge one? At the moment, they try to cater to both and it means many of the supposed EA tools are really just ITA tools. The need for profit has led them there. It means you have to customise the tools if you want to deliver worthwhile value.

19 May 2022 — Beware of highly stratified businesses. Over the years, huge amounts of inefficiencies can build up in a business, e.g. vertical columns of managers who only manage a single worker. When you publish the architecture of the business, it gives these managers nowhere to hide and they won’t take kindly to you proving they’re useless. Make sure you have friends in high places who are briefed on what’s likely to happen.

20 May 2022 — In older businesses, a vast pool of useless middle management can build up. The work shifted away from them over the years or their talents became obsolete or the market changed or maybe it’s just the nature of businesses. Those managers have kids to feed and mortgages to pay so they cling to their job despite the itch in the back of their brain that the job is useless. If you want your EA practice to succeed, find a way to make them useful again. They’ll love you for it. Because nobody wants to be useless. At least, nobody you’d want to keep.

21 May 2022 — “Architecture is the backdrop to our lives” — Matthew Rice

22 May 2022 — You’re a good person. Your intentions are good. So what do you do when you discover you misunderstood something for years and have been feeding people BS about a topic? The answer is you forgive yourself and learn from it. You stop the BS. You try to make things right. You maybe gain a little humility. Instead of confidence in a topic, you work with confidence you will do the right thing as you understand it at the time and in the knowledge you will understand it more over the years.

23 May 2022 — Once the vision has been developed, the next phase in the TOGAF ADM is what it calls Business Architecture. Everyone else calls it Process Architecture but we can leave that for another day. The opening line is, “Develop the Target Business Architecture that describes how the enterprise needs to operate to achieve the business goals”. Note the first word: develop. Not ask for, not analyse, not elicit. If you think you are supposed to just analyse it in order to deliver an IT solution, you’re not an EA. An EA develops the architecture.

24 May 2022 — If an Enterprise Architect develops the architecture, does that mean like a coder develops a program? No. Develop in this sense means to work with the stakeholders to produce the design. Implementation comes later.

25 May 2022 — 90s IT architecture is still the way most businesses work. A bunch of managers and SMEs design a new part of the business. Then they ask senior IT people to help identify what can be automated. Then work with Business Analysts to figure out the requirements for those systems. Then IT architects source or design those systems. To an Enterprise Architect, this way of working seems ridiculously old fashioned.

26 May 2022 — Businesses are talent-driven. It’s why top talent is paid so much.

27 May 2022 — The only hard rule in Enterprise Architecture is all the rules are generalisations.

28 May 2022 — “The most important part of design is finding all the issues to be resolved. The rest are details.” — Soumeet Lanka

29 May 2022 — Explanatory power is one of the most important concepts. The main reason we laud Einstein is because of the explanatory power of E=MC^2. It might eventually turn out to be wrong but it accurately explains more of our observations about the universe than any competing formula so far. Which brings us to architecture. When someone tries to fill your head with an EA hypothesis, check it against the reality of enterprises. It may not explain your enterprise but does the hypothesis explain the observable reality of enterprises?

30 May 2022 — Suppose the exec wants a major change to the business operations. They trust their management team to know their jobs and make good changes to their remit. But how do they stop two different managers from unwittingly duplicating effort? Or from making changes that cause unintended disruption in other parts of the business? Or from adopting two competing industry standards? Enterprise Architecture is the answer to these questions and many more.

31 May 2022 — One of the fastest ways to discover whether a part of the business is worth its budget is to ask a few simple questions: if we spin this off as its own business, will it grow or shrink with us as the only customer? Will it find new customers? If we stop using it, will we notice? Will it survive? Would we get better value from its competitors?

01 Jun 2022 — The reason nobody really uses TOGAF is because it doesn’t really add up. If you don’t understand Enterprise Architecture, you’ll never get it to work. If you do understand Enterprise Architecture, you’ll come up with your own better, simpler framework.

02 Jun 2022 — The main people involved in Enterprise Architecture are a close parallel to the main people in building architecture. The architect architects. The builders build. The project manager manages the build. The customer pays for it and makes all the big decisions.

03 Jun 2022 — If you ask to see the architecture of a building that’s going to be built and a person can only show you a load of text describing it, you’d know that person isn’t an architect. From an architect, you expect to see the plans and some elevations. Maybe a painting or a render. Especially if it’s you paying for the building. It’s the same with Enterprise Architecture.

04 Jun 2022 — “But I don’t understand. Why do you want me to think that this is great architecture? He pointed to the picture of the Parthenon.
That, said the Dean, is the Parthenon.
– So it is.
– I haven’t the time to waste on silly questions.
– All right, then. – Roark got up, he took a long ruler from the desk, he walked to the picture. – Shall I tell you what’s rotten about it?
– It’s the Parthenon! – said the Dean.
– Yes, God damn it, the Parthenon!
The ruler struck the glass over the picture.
– Look,- said Roark. – The famous flutings on the famous columns – what are they there for? To hide the joints in wood – when columns were made of wood, only these aren’t, they’re marble. The triglyphs, what are they? Wood. Wooden beams, the way they had to be laid when people began to build wooden shacks. Your Greeks took marble and they made copies of their wooden structures out of it, because others had done it that way. Then your masters of the Renaissance came along and made copies in plaster of copies in marble of copies in wood. Now here we are, making copies in steel and concrete of copies in plaster of copies in marble of copies in wood. Why?” — Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead

05 Jun 2022 — There are layers. There is the business itself. And business theory. And the model of the business. Then modelling theory and architecture theory to explain how to turn business theory into changes to the business. But always keep the business in sight. If the theories say one thing and you can see the business working well in defiance of the theories, trust the business. It is real. Maybe the theories are wrong or you just misunderstood them. Trust what you can see because reality beats theory every time.

06 Jun 2022 — The people in the office of the CIO have a hierarchy that reaches the top of the business but that doesn’t say anything about IT architecture in Enterprise Architecture. In EA, IT architecture is at the bottom of the hierarchy and continues downwards. From an EA perspective, IT architecture rapidly gets irrelevant below the UI level. An Enterprise Architect is interested in what the ITA will do for people in the business. How the IT architects want to deliver it is mostly up to them.

07 Jun 2022 — TOGAF and Archimate are not there to describe systems, they are there to describe departments. All of the departments. And all of the structure above. And all the rest of the enterprise. Including all of the systems and all of the things that aren’t systems.

08 Jun 2022 — TOGAF teaches people how to write recipe books but doesn’t teach them how to cook. And most of the people who go on a TOGAF course can barely make toast.

09 Jun 2022 — The core of a business can come from anywhere. From an idea dreamt up by the CEO to a gap in the market to a new industrial process to a small algorithm just doing what everyone else is doing. Anywhere. No matter where the core starts, you need to be able to develop a business around it.

10 Jun 2022 — The route to understanding Enterprise Architecture is through modelling. You learn to model what a person does. Then you learn to model what a team does. Then you learn to model what a department does. Then you learn to model what an enterprise does. All of these models are connected in one huge model that describes the architecture of the enterprise.

11 Jun 2022 — “Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.” — George Carlin

12 Jun 2022 — If you’re just starting out and want to become an Enterprise Architect you might want to spend plenty of time with Business Analysts and Data Architects. Business Analysts spend a lot of time with business stakeholders and you will too. Learn from their gentle charm. Data Architects understand the business defines the surface level of their architecture but there’s a vast amount underneath the business stakeholders would find baffling. Learn from them how to present just a surface the business will understand.

13 Jun 2022 — Humans. We… well, you know about humans. You might hope your enterprise will make perfect sense once you have a model of the whole thing. In truth, what your model will show is your enterprise is very, very human.

14 Jun 2022 — There are only two mandatory phases in the TOGAF Architecture Development Method: Vision and Business Architecture. Everything else is optional. You have to help the business be clear about its wants and you have to change the routine business operations. 

15 Jun 2022 — If there’s one thing IT people constantly get wrong about TOGAF it’s the entire Business Architecture domain. Far too many think it’s Business Analysis. It’s not. Give the people who wrote TOGAF at least some credit, if it was about Business Analysis, it would be called Business Analysis.

16 Jun 2022 — To give an example of the difference between a Business Analyst and a Business Architect, take a look at the TOGAF 9 model. Focus on the big box called Organisation Unit. To a Business Analyst, it means the name of a team or a department. To a Business Architect, it means the names of all the teams and departments because Organisation Unit is the hierarchical metaclass used to build the Org Chart.

17 Jun 2022 — “Difficult” is another way to say “possible”.

18 Jun 2022 — “We must consider the building not as an object but as a collaborative system tightly linked to its natural environment; an ecological niche.” — Neri Oxman

19 Jun 2022 — One of the nice things about Enterprise Architecture is most of the business knowledge requirements get offloaded to the Enterprise Architect and the Process Architect. That leaves the IT architects dealing with the stuff they love: the IT. It also means the better the IT architect, the more senior they become in their domain. It is the EA and PA who have to become business experts, the ITAs get to be experts in their chosen field.

20 Jun 2022 — Good Enterprise Architecture leaves bad management no place to hide. This means you can expect a lot of opposition. You might be tempted to fight it but you will get a lot further if you find ways to make them do productive management work instead.

21 Jun 2022 — No amount of experience doing detail work can make you understand the big picture. No amount of drawing flowcharts will make you a Process Architect. No amount of designing IT architectures will make you an Enterprise Architect. Flowcharts and IT architectures are detail work. Process Architecture and Enterprise Architecture are about the big picture. 

22 Jun 2022 — EA models are to business change as building architecture drawings are to construction.

23 Jun 2022 — If you want to see the word Capability used correctly, here’s a line from an advert in my feed. “Our solutions for the F-35 deliver a full range of capabilities, from readiness to engagement to returning safely.” The F-35 is a fighter aircraft and those are the capabilities Raytheon chose to focus on. They’re not functions. They’re not apps. They’re not goals. They’re capabilities.

24 Jun 2022 — What is a Capability Map? Take a look at yesterday’s correct use of the term Capability taken from an advert: “Our solutions for the F-35 deliver a full range of capabilities, from readiness to engagement to returning safely.” Now take each of those Capabilities and map them to the aspects of operating an F-35 fighter, e.g. readiness would map to the maintenance and preparation of the aircraft by the ground crew, its maintainability and reliability.

25 Jun 2022 — “Light must always win.” — Maurice Smith

26 Jun 2022 — When you have a model of the whole enterprise, you will discover horrendous inefficiencies. If you come from a software development background like me, this can be difficult to take until you add time as a factor. You have to look at the enterprise like a growing, living thing not like software. Look at how it was 5 years ago, how it is now and predict what it will be like in 5 years. Look at the trajectory of people’s careers, how the processes shift and the arc of technology. Then most of the inefficiencies disappear. You know what to do with the inefficiencies which remain.

27 Jun 2022 — A lot of otherwise very smart people have a lot of very bad ideas. And will try to press them on to you. 

28 Jun 2022 — When you understand Process Architecture (misnamed as Business Architecture in TOGAF) and have seen the complete architecture of an enterprise, nothing is ever the same again.

29 Jun 2022 — Neatness counts but reliability is more important. Every change you make risks breaking something. Never change something just to make it neater. The classic example of this is a decision of new management in IT to “clean up the spaghetti”. If the spaghetti is working, understood and reliable, leave it alone.

30 Jun 2022 — No amount of flowcharts, data flows, database schemas, application architectures, integration, infrastructure or roles add up to Enterprise Architecture. Those are all Level 5 or below. You still need all of them but an Enterprise Architecture has all of the Levels above that too. You need all of the Levels to see the architecture.

01 Jul 2022 — Level 5 processes are activities performed by people. Level 4, 3 and 2 processes can only be managed. Level 1 processes are managed or directed. Level 0 processes are directed. 

02 Jul 2022 — “There is an effective strategy open to architects. Whereas doctors deal with the interior organisms of man, architects deal with the exterior organisms of man. Architects might join with one another to carry on their work in laboratories as do doctors in anticipatory medicine.” — Richard Buckminster Fuller

03 Jul 2022 — A lot of IT people get confused with what TOGAF calls Business Architecture. It is the development of new routine business operations. But, they say, surely that’s not done by IT people? Which is correct. It’s not done by IT people. Which is one of the many reasons why an Enterprise Architecture team should not be part of the IT department.

04 Jul 2022 — One of my favourite words in business is Adhocracy. If you’re a Process Architect struggling to understand why there are so many people outside of your nice, neat Process Architecture, those people are probably part of the Adhocracy. The combination of routine operations and Adhocracy can be used to create something close to a complete explanation of the operating model.

05 Jul 2022 — In architecture, Risk Management and Strategy are opposite sides of the same coin. One is avoid negatives, the other is achieve positives. We want to avoid risk events but recover from them if they happen. We want to achieve objectives and take advantage of them when we do. In architecture, both can be modelled using Events.

06 Jul 2022

07 Jul 2022 — Word documents or PowerPoint presentations cannot show you the enterprise’s architecture. No amount of canvases can do it. The best those can do is show you a View from a Perspective. Only a model can show the architecture. Only people who can model the architecture of the enterprise are an Enterprise Architect.

08 Jul 2022 — When someone tries to write about Enterprise Architecture, they are faced with the problem of turning an n-dimensional model into words. This is close to impossible.

09 Jul 2022 — “Architecture is a social act and the material theater of human activity.” — Spiro Kostof

10 Jul 2022 — An Infrastructure Architecture develops a model of the architecture of the enterprise’s infrastructure. An Applications or Systems Architect develops a model of the architecture of the enterprise’s applications and their integration. A Data Architect develops a model of the architecture of the enterprise’s data. A Process Architect (what TOGAF misnames a Business Architect) develops a model of the enterprise’s routine business operations. If any one of those people says they can’t develop that model, are they an architect? An Enterprise Architect must be able to develop them all.

11 Jul 2022

12 Jul 2022 — Almost everyone loves spaghetti as a food. If you look at it in a packet or make it fresh yourself, it looks nice and neat and ordered. Raw, it tastes awful. You cook it and it becomes disordered and tastes great. The same is true in business. Beware of people who want cooked spaghetti to be neat rows in either cooking or business and for exactly the same reason.

13 Jul 2022 — Any fool can have a vision for the business. A few might even have achievable visions. An architect is someone who can help people have achievable visions and can explain how to turn them into reality.

14 Jul 2022 — You can look at architecture as having three Value Stages: negotiation, design and communication. To be an architect, you must be good at all three. 

15 Jul 2022 — There are enormous numbers of parallels between building architecture and Enterprise Architecture. By far the strongest link is with commercial building architecture where the designs are for functional structures. Residential architecture designs for flow and aesthetics. Commercial architecture designs for flow and purpose.

16 Jul 2022 — “Cheops’ Law: Nothing ever gets built on schedule or within budget.” — Robert A. Heinlein

17 Jul 2022 — Business people don’t invite IT people to meetings unless they have to. Until you have worked outside of IT, you have no idea how much the business deliberately avoids IT people. It’s an innocent avoidance and IT people can recognise the inverse. If you’ve ever seen a non-IT person try to read IT literature and watched them go crossed-eyed or fall asleep, it’s exactly the same but in reverse. If you want to get invited to business meetings, you need to have read lots of business literature, understand it and have a genuine interest. No going cross-eyed or falling asleep.

18 Jul 2022 — When you understand how to draw an enterprise, the parallels with the building architectures of industry become obvious.

19 Jul 2022 — In TOGAF, at most 25% of Enterprise Architecture is about IT and all of the rest is about the business. It means the skills of an Enterprise Architect need to be at least 75% about business.

20 Jul 2022 — The business is a fact. Its architecture is a fiction. The big question is, can you make the fiction useful?

21 Jul 2022 — Process Architecture is not flowcharts. Enterprise Modelling is not UML. For Process Architecture and Enterprise Modelling, you need to think about what a department does not an individual.

22 Jul 2022 — In architecture, Negotiation is the stage before any design work is done. This is where we work with the client to develop an understanding of their needs, with the suppliers to understand what materials are available, with the builders to understand what they are able to achieve and with any other stakeholders. It is where we negotiate with the stakeholders to find out who will do what. Even a modest architecture can have a huge number of stakeholders. This is where we develop the Vision with them.

23 Jul 2022 — “Architecture is too slow in its realisation to be a ‘problem solver’.” — Cedric Price

24 Jul 2022

25 Jul 2022 — A lot of people fall into the trap of thinking Enterprise Architecture is just a collection of Solution Architectures. It’s an understandable trap, after all, the result of EA is often a collection of Solution Architectures. But it misses all of the context. EA is the design of the factory and the work done in it. Solution Architecture is the design of a machine in the factory and the work done with it. Do factories have machines? Yes. Is a factory just a collection of machines? No, there is far more to a factory than just its machinery.

26 Jul 2022 — Design is only one stage of architecture. A sketch of the design is only that: a sketch. Architecture (the noun) goes much deeper than just a sketch. From the sketch we must draw the details and they must work. Anyone can draw a sketch of something which cannot and could not ever be built. An architect is someone who can produce the details from the sketch or a grand Vision from a detail.

27 Jul 2022 — In architecture, possibly the most important stage is Communication. Why so important? Because a great design poorly communicated will cause problems all through the build; it may never be completed. When the design is complete and the build needs to start, it is crucial the builders know what they are supposed to build. 

28 Jul 2022 — BPMN is a reasonable choice if you want to describe a low-level process, in other words, if you want to produce flowcharts. Could you use it to describe every activity in a business? No. If it could do that, you wouldn’t need humans in a business. 

29 Jul 2022 — Imagine a building architect who had only ever designed ducting, conduit paths, utility rooms and basements but never a whole building. And they’d never even seen the design of a whole building. Are they really a building architect? Maybe they have the talent to be one, maybe not. But if they’ve never even seen the design for a whole building, what are the chances? The same is true in Enterprise Architecture.

30 Jul 2022 — “On both sides of the highway I could see the rows of little frame houses, all alike, as if there were only one architect in the city and he had a magnificent obsession.” — Ross Macdonald

31 Jul 2022 — Who is more senior, a Business Architect or an Enterprise Architect? Normally, the Business Architect should be more senior because they should be drawn from the exec. However, the team normally belongs to the Enterprise Architect. When it comes to their working relationship, seniority will depend on the topic.

01 Aug 2022 — If your first love is technology, Enterprise Architecture is not the place for you. For EA, your first love must be people.

02 Aug 2022 — Strategy is the art of generals. Generals follow orders given to them by their leaders.

03 Aug 2022 — Flowcharts only work for the simplest of repetitive processes performed by a person. And it can be argued flowcharts are a bad choice even for those. If any part of EA is ripe for replacement, it is the flowchart.

04 Aug 2022 — There is a huge difference between having an opinion on how some part of the business should operate and having a valid opinion. Unless you’re already close to the top of that part of the business, if you think your opinion is valid, it almost certainly isn’t.

05 Aug 2022 — If you put an engineer in charge of a sports team, you can bet the team would have great equipment but would lose most games because equipment is not what a team is about. A team is about its players and Enterprise Architecture is about getting your players to win.

06 Aug 2022 — “We used to build temples, and museums are about as close as secular society dares to go in facing up to the idea that a good building can change your life (and a bad one ruin it).” — Alain de Botton

07 Aug 2022 — If you just draw the Level 0 of the business, you might as well have produced an Operating Model Canvas. If you just draw the Level 5 and below of an enterprise, you’re essentially back to 90s-style IT architecture with maybe a few things to help the business. Enterprise Architecture is drawing the Level 0, all of the Level 5s and all of the Levels in between. The structure of Levels 1-4 are where you find the architecture. 

08 Aug 2022 — If a building architect makes a mistake on their drawings, it can have drastic consequences during the build. The sledgehammers might have to come out. Enterprise Architecture is much more forgiving and you can often repurpose mistakes.

09 Aug 2022 — Strategy needs to be played to win right down to the tiniest detail. You can only know you’re winning if you measure your success.

10 Aug 2022 — The TOGAF metamodel has barely any IT in it, only a surface-level skim. How can that be? Because EA is not about IT, EA is about how everything fits together. If it’s only a surface-level skim, how are you supposed to model the details of the IT? Once IT has the surface level, the IT architects can fill in the details using an appropriate IT modelling tool. EA seldom needs to know those details.

11 Aug 2022 — Why is the Communication stage of architecture so important? Because a mediocre design well communicated will be more successful than a great design poorly communicated.

12 Aug 2022 — The architecture of an enterprise is formed of a few key ingredients: people, process and technology. As an Enterprise Architect, you need to be an expert on all three of those in that order.

13 Aug 2022 — “The greatest products of architecture are less the works of individuals than of society; rather the offspring of a nation’s effort, than the inspired flash of a man of genius…” — Victor Hugo

14 Aug 2022 — In a strategy training session, the scenario was based on one of my specialist subjects. The course was built as a game where you made business decisions, the results were calculated, graphs were shown then it was on to the next business decision. On the very first decision, I almost made a terrible mistake. The person who created the training was a strategy specialist but only had an amateur understanding of the scenario subject. The correct answer for reality would have been the wrong answer for the course. Pay attention to the data and be prepared to let it change your mind. Sometimes the wrong answer is what will get you the win.

15 Aug 2022 — An architect must be able to draw the architecture so what does it mean to draw an enterprise? A building is 3D and we know how to put it down on paper as 2D model. An enterprise is n-dimension which makes it harder. Our models have to be n-dimensional. The only sane way to do it is in an EA tool.

16 Aug 2022 — There is a horrible duality in the design of an enterprise. The more bureaucracy you add to your enterprise, the slower it will become and the more its employees will act like machines. But the thing that defines the bureaucracy is the Process Architecture which is essential to make things in the business repeatable and reliable. If you want your employees to think for themselves, keep the Process Architecture as light as possible.

17 Aug 2022 — Being a good Enterprise Modeller means knowing what questions your stakeholders are likely to ask long before they see the model.

18 Aug 2022 — If you start at the top and work your way down, you can model the high-level architecture of an enterprise within a few days.

19 Aug 2022 — Even if you are surrounded by people with deep experience, every change to an enterprise is a step into the unknown.

20 Aug 2022 — “The secret of architectural excellence is to translate the proportions of a dachshund into bricks, mortar and marble.” — Christopher Wren

21 Aug 2022 — Even though you can model the high-level architecture of an enterprise within a few days, every level you go down into the detail will take exponentially longer. A complete model will take months.

22 Aug 2022 — Tactics are the things we train and equip for. Strategy is the set of plans and decisions we make about how and where to deploy our people so they can use their tactics.

23 Aug 2022 — According to the Pareto Principle, 20% of the people in your business do 80% of the work. It’s not a law but does often seem to hold. Be aware of it when you interview stakeholders to find out what they and their department do. The deeper it goes into word salad, the more likely it is you’ve found someone outside of the 20%. They’re easy to find.

24 Aug 2022 — Just because you call the shots doesn’t make you an architect. The CEO is only the chief architect in the colloquial, amateur sense. The CEO is one of the customers of the Enterprise Architect. There is a huge difference between the customer and the architect.

25 Aug 2022 — Stakeholders can be tricky. It’s very common for a stakeholder to say something and a few weeks later for them to swear they said something else. You might be tempted to think one of those things was a lie and it might even be the case for some stakeholders. The most likely reason it happens is simply that the stakeholder is human.

26 Aug 2022 — The strange thing about the Pareto Principle where 20% of the employees perform 80% of the work is they are the ones who get the most job satisfaction. It is likely they get  satisfaction not because of their personality but from doing so much work.

27 Aug 2022 — “As we live and as we are, Simplicity — with a capital ‘S’ — is difficult to comprehend nowadays. We are no longer truly simple. We no longer live in simple terms or places. Life is a more complex struggle now. It is now valiant to be simple: a courageous thing to even want to be simple. It is a spiritual thing to comprehend what simplicity means.” — Frank Lloyd Wright

28 Aug 2022 — You might be tempted to think poor decisions came from not having the right information. Experience has shown people often make terrible decisions even when they have the right information. Even smart people. Either making decisions based on the data isn’t as easy as it looks (like the difference between observing and playing a game of chess) or people are much less rational than we might hope. Even smart people. The opposite also holds. Some people make good decisions even without the right information.

29 Aug 2022 — In a perfect world, every employee would have the exact apps they need. In this world, we often try to make a single app and make every employee use it. Which is close to the opposite.

30 Aug 2022 — A single architect can rapidly describe the high-level architecture of an enterprise but a complete model with all levels takes an architecture team if you want it before you retire.

31 Aug 2022 — Every change to an enterprise is like learning to drive. No matter how much theory and determination to succeed, your understanding before and after are very different things.

01 Sep 2022 — Probably half of our problems with in-house developed apps is not the app but the fact we’re working with non-standard data. Everywhere we switch to industry data standards leads to better outcomes in the long run.

02 Sep 2022 — There is no shortcut to becoming an Enterprise Architect. You need to have a strong understanding of terminology used by businesses and IT. You need to learn how to model businesses and IT. You need to get decades of experience making changes to businesses and IT. The only thing you can really do differently is the order of those.

03 Sep 2022 — “For centuries architects have been taught to sketch, model and build in three static dimensions – x, y and z. But the natural world offers contexts that are much more dimensionally complex and dynamic.” — Neri Oxman

04 Sep 2022 — Until you’ve built many database schemas for various parts of the business and written hundreds if not thousands of queries for those databases, you should probably stay away from directing the efforts to change a metamodel. Even though the types of database used are completely different, the mental model to produce a good metamodel is essentially the same as the one to produce a good schema. You need to be able to not only store the data efficiently but query it efficiently too.

05 Sep 2022 — Knowing and understanding your Information Architecture and Data Architecture is more important than knowing or understanding your Applications Architecture. Most businesses get that the wrong way around.

06 Sep 2022 — An Enterprise Architect who doesn’t live and breath their EA tool’s query language is like a Data Architect who doesn’t live and breath SQL.

07 Sep 2022 — If you want to create great food, you need to know what great food tastes like and you can only do that by consuming it. The same is true for architecture.

08 Sep 2022 — Digitisation: scan your physical assets to make digital copies
Digitalisation: convert parts of your operating model to computerise it
Digital Transformation: convert you business model from mostly physical to mostly online

09 Sep 2022 — People often mistake cost for value. There is a load of data and information in your business that cost next to nothing or was paid for long ago. Yet its value might be enormous. Maybe it’s what makes your business attractive to customers.

10 Sep 2022 — “Intelligent people talk about very complex things using very simple terms and unintelligent people talk about simple things using very complex terms.” — C. Stavri

11 Sep 2022 — Markets have steadily replaced battlegrounds as the setting for humans to conduct fights for dominance.

12 Sep 2022 — Beware of consultants who are all charm and no substance. Their empty ideas are to part you from your money. They’ll whisper sweet nothings. You’ll often get better ideas from your junior employees.

13 Sep 2022 — People, process and technology. In that order. Because it can take years to develop any one of them but people are what hold them all together.

14 Sep 2022 — Good intentions mean nothing, it’s the outcome and how you get there that count. 

15 Sep 2022 — Revision is a powerful thing. The first draft of almost any idea might be good. The second draft will be a lot better.

16 Sep 2022 — Sometimes a consultant is the best answer. You can get too close to a problem which can make you blind to the bigger picture. A fresh, sharp mind from outside the business is often worth an eye-watering fee.

17 Sep 2022 — “Architects, if they are really to be comprehensive, must assume the enormous task of thinking in terms always disciplined to the scale of the total world pattern of needs, its resource flows, its recirculatory and regenerative processes.” — Richard Buckminster Fuller

18 Sep 2022 — Why do you need a full, top-to-bottom architecture model of the business? I once saw a board agree a very simple top-down strategy. Only they didn’t know the detailed impacts. It meant code changes to almost all of the line-of-business apps. By the time the strategy had failed, they had spent around twice as much as it would have cost to build the architecture model. A few simple queries of that model would have told them the strategy was bad. If you only have a high-level view of your business, many of your strategies will fail.

19 Sep 2022 — Value and cost are two very different things. It might cost millions to develop an internal app that would have zero value to any other business. Or it could be the data or information that holds the value rather than the algorithms. Conversely, a cheap-to-develop piece of code might have huge value because of its algorithms.

20 Sep 2022 — Good ideas are ten a penny. Doing the hard work to turn an idea into reality is everything.

21 Sep 2022 — You can’t produce an accurate summary unless you know the details to be summarised.

22 Sep 2022 — Look at everything you think is wrong with businesses in general. For example, maybe you think directors are paid too much. Now make the argument those directors are paid that for really good reasons. What’re the reasons? Repeat the process for everything else you think is wrong. 

23 Sep 2022 — The higher the resolution of a digital recording, the more difficult it becomes to tell it apart from analogue. It used to be the case you had to think digitally to succeed but now that can be a disadvantage. The age of binary thinking is almost over.

24 Sep 2022 — “Architecture should have little to do with problem solving – rather it should create desirable conditions and opportunities hitherto thought impossible.” — Cedric Price

25 Sep 2022 — Why do we need to look at everything we think is wrong with business and come up with reasons why it might be right? Because business is there, operating and either making a profit or at least persuading investors it’s a good bet. Which means anything we think is wrong about business is likely to be us not understanding. Do businesses have faults? Of course. So what’s more likely is the thing we identified as wrong is fine but not perfect. So is it business or just our understanding that needs to improve?

26 Sep 2022 — Why do so many strategies turn out bad? There are lots of reasons but one of the more common ones is leadership asking for things that sound simple verbally but require a huge amount of effort to implement or might even be impossible.

27 Sep 2022 — If you can do it without annoying those around you, change your mind as often as you can. There’s a lot to be said for someone who can make up their mind and stick with a decision but there’s far more to be said about someone who can change their mind when the data changes.

28 Sep 2022 — Sometimes a consultant is your only answer. Even a bad consultant can bring you much needed perspective and a set of questions which make you rethink your position. Even if all they do is give you certainty you understand the problem better than the consultant, has that told you something important?

29 Sep 2022 — An IT architect advising you about Enterprise Architecture is about as useful as them advising you on Compliance. It might be accurate. It probably isn’t.

30 Sep 2022 — Where does architecture end and engineering begin? In the structure of an enterprise, the two fade into each other and even that varies in each project and context.

01 Oct 2022 — “For not all things are practicable on identical principles, but there are some things which, when enlarged in imitation of small models, are effective, others cannot have models, but are constructed independently of them, while there are some which appear feasible in models, but when they have begun to increase in size are impracticable, as we can observe in the following instance.” — Vitruvius

02 Oct 2022 — Many people have extensive knowledge of how their business operates but no idea at all about how its markets work. Many of your architects can focus entirely on what goes on inside the business. Despite mostly working on internal operations, an Enterprise Architect, must have a good grasp on the markets too.

03 Oct 2022 — Enterprise Architecture is not for utopians. You will never build the perfect enterprise because such a thing cannot exist. If such a utopian enterprise could exist even for a moment, its competition would be compelled to find a way to overtake it and it would no longer be a utopia.

04 Oct 2022 — Middle management expands to protect the business from bad decisions made at the top. If there are years of bad decisions, middle management will expand so much even good decisions will struggle to make it through.

05 Oct 2022 — If you only ever use top-down strategy, sooner or later your enterprise will fail for the same reasons centrally-planned economies fail.

06 Oct 2022 — How can you tell if someone is an architect? One way is to listen. Anyone who says something like, “the CEO is the real enterprise architect” is not an architect. That’s an amateur’s confusion of the architect with the customer. The customer calls the shots but that doesn’t make them an architect.

07 Oct 2022 — Enterprise Architecture is about all of the levels. You can suggest changes to the high levels but you need to check the impact of those changes on the lower levels. The only way you can do that is with a complete and detailed architecture model.

08 Oct 2022 — “The architects who benefit us most maybe those generous enough to lay aside their claims to genius in order to devote themselves to assembling graceful but predominantly unoriginal boxes. Architecture should have the confidence and the kindness to be a little boring.” — Alain de Botton

09 Oct 2022 — Does it matter that pretty much every IT standards body is pushes a fake version of Capability? That even the Business Architecture Guild and The Open Group get it wrong? After all, those bodies all push the same concept so does it matter if it’s not the real thing? Unfortunately, yes, it matters. The fake version pushed is a cheap rip off of Function — a concept that was mostly dropped years ago because it leads to time-wasting, bureaucracy and corporate navel-gazing. Whereas the real Capability looks to the outside world and leads to insights about markets.

10 Oct 2022 — To a trained psychologist, the vast majority of posts about leadership are not from leaders but from narcissists telling you why they think they’re better than their boss.

11 Oct 2022 — A low-resolution model of your business is better than nothing but will still inevitably lead to bad strategies. Nothing can completely prevent bad strategies because we cannot accurately forecast the future. So our aim is always to increase the proportion of good strategies. A high-resolution model of the business will mean more of your strategies succeed.

12 Oct 2022 — Capability is not the ability to do something inside the business, a Capability is the ability to have an effect on something outside of the business.

13 Oct 2022 — Enterprise Architecture is not for utopians, it is for pragmatists. What you build needs to be good enough to do the job. It must be able to survive what you can forecast and have some flexibility to survive the things you didn’t forecast.

14 Oct 2022 — A brilliant idea that’s only in your head has zero value. A good idea on paper might have some value. Even a mediocre idea that has been turned into reality has a measurable value.

15 Oct 2022 — “So too, in some models it is seen how they appear practicable on the smallest scale and like wise on a larger.” — Vitruvius

16 Oct 2022 — If you want to understand architecture, it helps to spend time in a place where you can see how it evolved over hundreds of years. When you compare the structure and layout of a 200 year-old office with a new one, a huge amount has changed. The vast majority of EA practices have not yet reached the level of skill or understanding of architecture that produced the 200 year-old offices. If it doesn’t sink back into IT, one day the EA profession will catch up. The lessons are all laid out if you know where to look.

17 Oct 2022 — If you can’t produce an accurate summary unless you know the details to be summarised, you can’t produce an accurate architecture description of an existing enterprise unless you know it in detail.

18 Oct 2022 — All consultants exist to make a profit from your business but the good ones do it by making your business more profitable. 

19 Oct 2022 — Lying about the past leads to a dystopian future. The concept of Lessons Learned requires honesty about what happened. If you are not honest about the past, what makes you think you are honest about the future?

20 Oct 2022 — A strategy that creates more jobs but has no impact on the world outside of the enterprise is almost always a bad strategy. The impact doesn’t have to be direct but it has to be there. Otherwise it’s just empire-building.

21 Oct 2022 — People often mistake understanding a thing for that thing being correct or even useful. But just because you and those around you understand a thing doesn’t mean a thing except you understand it. An alarming number of businesses practise and have a deep understanding of things that are detrimental.

22 Oct 2022 — “A half inch, inch, or inch and a half hole is bored with an auger, but if we should wish, in the same manner, to bore a hole a quarter of a foot in breadth, it is impracticable, while one of half a foot or more seems not even conceivable.” — Vitruvius

23 Oct 2022 — Back in the 90s, the Dilbert comic strip proved the vast majority of business literature was nothing more than Shamanism. When the witch doctor wiggles his hips to call the lightning, if the lightning actually comes, it had nothing to do with the witch doctor. Avoid business literature that teaches you how to wiggle your hips. And that’s still pretty much all of it.

24 Oct 2022 — To run a successful business you don’t really need good products, you only need customers.

25 Oct 2022 — The Capability delivered by a car is to pick up the kids from school. At least, that’s one Capability. It’s not about the car, it’s about what it can do in its environment. Driving is not a Capability, it’s required but is only an ability or skill to perform a Function; in business terms, driving is a Competence. If someone asks, “do you have the Capability to pick up the kids from school?”, you can point at the car and say, “yes.”

26 Oct 2022 — As an Enterprise Architect, you have to be a life-long learner. 

27 Oct 2022 — Functions are inside the system whereas Capabilities are effects outside of the system.

28 Oct 2022 — One of the big dangers of traditional strategy is you have no idea whether your strategy worked or if middle-management saved the business from your stupidity and just said it worked. Enterprise Architecture leaves you no place to hide. If the strategy doesn’t work, the finger points straight back at you. Thankfully EA also helps you make strategies that will work.

29 Oct 2022 — ‘There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, “I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.” To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: “If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.”’ — Chesterton’s Fence, G.K. Chesterton

30 Oct 2022 — The most important thing your business does is make a profit. Nothing else really matters. Not the happiness of the employees, not the culture, not the morals, not the carbon emissions, etc. Those are nice-to-haves. Because without a profit, sooner or later your business will go bust and you couldn’t have any of those nice-to-haves anyway.

31 Oct 2022 — In a bad band, it’s often the case each player tries to be the loudest for the attention. In a good band, the players are happy to be background because it makes better music. The whole band gets far more attention and that means the individual players get more attention.

01 Nov 2022 — A metamodel is used to produce models. It is the model that is important not the metamodel. 

02 Nov 2022 — The biggest problem we have with technical debt is our most important hardware still uses a design that’s thousands of years old.

03 Nov 2022 — There are lots of ways to describe the routine operations of a business but the cleanest and clearest of them is Process Architecture.

04 Nov 2022 — One of the many roles of an Enterprise Architect is to take rough processes and make them smooth. 

05 Nov 2022 — “Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs.” — Henry Ford

06 Nov 2022 — “Turtles all the way down” is a mantra of an Enterprise Architect. If you can find a way to conceptually break something down into smaller versions of itself, you’re onto a winner. Processes break down into lots of smaller Processes. Objectives break down into lots of smaller Objectives. Organisation Units break down into… You get the idea. Thankfully, most of this has already been figured out for you. 

07 Nov 2022 — Know where your real costs are located. A few weeks wages of your small project team to select and implement a simple COTS server app can easily cost more than buying the server, the software licence and all of the electricity to keep it running for its lifetime within the business.

08 Nov 2022 — The purpose of a metamodel is to make your models consistent.

09 Nov 2022 — Models built using Mind Maps or graph databases have no need for a metamodel so why not make your Enterprise Architecture models using them? Because a metamodel makes your model queryable in a consistent way. That in turn, amongst many other advantages, means you can build consistent Views of the architecture.

10 Nov 2022 — Five years from now, many of your on-prem server apps will cost you close to zero other than the electricity. Five years from now, your cloud-based apps will cost whatever your provider decides.

11 Nov 2022 — The routine operations of a business aren’t the only kind of operations. Lots of one-off or out-of-band things happen too. They aren’t Processes but most of them still need to be represented in the Process Architecture.

12 Nov 2022 — “Architecture is what nature cannot make. Architecture is something unnatural but not something made up.” — Louis Kahn

13 Nov 2022 — Your authority as an Enterprise Architect can be a double edged sword. You might think it’s obvious your initial design will need to be optimised when it meets the real world but many employees simply won’t do it. They might lack the authority, imagination or confidence or even just the time to make those optimisations. So part of your job is to make follow-up visits well after the design has been implemented.

14 Nov 2022 — Have you ever looked at a mediocre business with mediocre products and wondered why it’s profitable? The answer is simple: implementation is everything. You might have a dozen ideas about how to make a better business but those ideas mean nothing next to the fact they’ve turned their mediocre ideas into reality and found customers.

15 Nov 2022 — Does your business need a Digital Twin? Probably not. It’s an interesting idea but they take a huge amount of investment to build and effort to maintain. The investment and effort is probably better spent improving the business.

16 Nov 2022 — It can take years to build your ability to put beauty in your designs. First you have to learn to identify beauty. There is beauty in purpose.

17 Nov 2022 — You may have a strategy but does it allow you to take advantage of targets of opportunity?

18 Nov 2022 — If someone criticises your business plan and it hurts, the most likely reason is they were right and you should thank them. Many of my dumbest plans were prevented by stinging criticism. If the plans had been sound, criticism would have bounced off.

19 Nov 2022 — “Strategy specifies a competitive outcome you wish to achieve.” — Roger Martin

20 Nov 2022 — Some costs accumulate. You have a choice. You can design a change that uses a custom Process and custom apps that fits your existing business like a glove for one million. Or you can choose a named standard Process and out-of-the-box IT that will mean major changes to the business and cost two million. Which do you choose?

21 Nov 2022 — Every level of detail you add to your Enterprise Architecture model adds a level of time and cost to make changes to it.

22 Nov 2022 — Strategy is a plan to win but the future is an unknown. This is why a business develops Capabilities — abilities to create desired effects outside of the business.

23 Nov 2022 — A fascination with puzzles seems a common trait in Enterprise Architects but often the correct answer is to take a sword to the Gordian knot. 

24 Nov 2022 — You’ve probably done plenty of training but when was the last time you deliberately trained yourself to be faster?

25 Nov 2022 — Sometimes it pays to be vague. 

26 Nov 2022 — “However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.” — Winston Churchill

27 Nov 2022 — One of the early selling points of cloud computing was you could do more with fewer employees in IT. Except that didn’t work out at all. Sure, the cloud providers have top-notch security teams for instance. The hint was it meant your business wouldn’t need a security team. Which was completely wrong. You need at least as many people to operate your cloud computing resources as you do to operate your on-prem. They just get to operate different stuff.

28 Nov 2022 — As an Enterprise Architect, it’s your job to see the big picture. Not just a big picture, the big picture.

29 Nov 2022 — Processes are not like computer programmes. Both can “crash” but a Process involves humans which means they can usually put things right without rewriting the Process.

30 Nov 2022 — Precision in architecture means detail and most of the time you should delegate work on the detail.

01 Dec 2022 — The danger of repetition is it can become automatic and unthinking. The benefit of repetition is it can become automatic and unthinking.

02 Dec 2022 — Even though you have to see the big picture and be able to draw it, the exec decides the big picture for your business.

03 Dec 2022 — “And so, if any one pays attention to these directions, and by selection adapts their various principles to a single structure, he will not be in need of further aids, but will be able, without hesitation, to design such machines as the circumstances or the situations demand.” — Vitruvius

04 Dec 2022 — Strategies are plans, Tactics are actions. If you want your actions to be able to take advantage of targets of opportunity, you need to concentrate on Capabilities — the effects your actions might have on the world outside of your business. That’s not the same as pursuing an objective.

05 Dec 2022 — The TOGAF documentation teaches you its metamodel but doesn’t teach you how to model. That’s like a database manual teaching you about schemas but not how to put data into a table.

06 Dec 2022 — The faster and better your Enterprise Architecture team answers business questions and delivers designs, the more people will want to engage.

07 Dec 2022 — The deeper you go into the detail of architecture, the closer you get to engineering. There is no hard line between the two.

08 Dec 2022 — Why don’t we see Function in the literature more often? One of the inherent problems with Function is it’s a compound concept which mixes people, process, technology and competence. Compound concepts are a pain. That’s why Function was mostly dropped in organisational design in the 90s.

09 Dec 2022 — All of the architecture standards and frameworks expect you to already know how to model an enterprise. This leaves a bad situation where many become certified in a standard without ever knowing anything about how to architect an enterprise.

10 Dec 2022 — “The greatest products of architecture are less the works of individuals than of society; rather the offspring of a nation’s effort, than the inspired flash of a man of genius…” — Victor Hugo

11 Dec 2022 — What’s it got to do with Enterprise Architecture and why shouldn’t a manager just design their part of the business how they want — as managers have done since year dot? The answer is because we know where that leads. It leads to fractured businesses where the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing. With an EA team, the manager still gets to design their part of the business how they want but with help, support, access to business-wide knowledge and people who design changes for a living. 

12 Dec 2022 — Well-planned scheduled and real-time reports are a cornerstone of good strategy.

13 Dec 2022 — To be an architect means you make decisions. Lot and lots of decisions. Maybe even most of the decisions. But there are more important decision-makers who make bigger decisions than the architect. 

14 Dec 2022 — A lot of employees think if they work too fast or are too productive, their team can be reduced in headcount. This is the wrong way to think for both the employees and their managers. If you work faster, you can do more. If you do more, your business can do more.

15 Dec 2022 — There is a vast amount of data in your enterprise. For good governance, you need to map it out and summarise it. Some of those summaries will need to be updated in real time.

16 Dec 2022 — Cloud computing has lots of advantages. About as many advantages as on-prem.

17 Dec 2022 — “What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.” — Pericles

18 Dec 2022 — To be an Enterprise Architect means being able to see the big picture. There’s just one problem. No one can truly see all of the big picture. What it really means is you need to see the biggest picture you can. Most of the time it means working with others to produce a shared, agreed big picture.

19 Dec 2022 — Manually produced reports only exist to hide the truth and sell a lie.

20 Dec 2022 — Functions inside the business use Competence to turn inputs into outputs. Some of our Capabilities are what we can achieve with those outputs. Other Capabilities can come from almost anywhere or anything in the business. Even something as simple as its location.

21 Dec 2022 — Whether it’s a Digital Twin or a complete Enterprise Architecture model, both add a lot of Drag. In other words, because you have to change the Twin or the model as well as the business, things take more time.

22 Dec 2022 — An average idea that’s simple, cheap and fast to implement is almost always a winner. Implementation and operation are everything.

23 Dec 2022 — In architecture, the power of simple things added together can be tremendous.

24 Dec 2022 — “Architecture aims at eternity.” — Christopher Wren

26 Dec 2022 — Enterprise Architecture is a form of organisation design used to turn strategy into execution, ensure effectiveness of investment in new resources and maximise use of existing resources. The practice can be considered a merger of business strategy, business planning, business process management and IT architecture. Like a building architect, an Enterprise Architect’s plans allow everyone to agree on what will be built.

27 Dec 2022 — What is execution of strategy? It’s what you do to make it work. You look at your As-Is, you figure out your To-Be, you implement the redesigned business via projects or initiatives or emphasis and then the employees operate it.

28 Dec 2022 — 1. All AIs are *trained* — like a lawyer coaches a witness.
2. ChatGPT produces an *average* of the words it has been trained on, i.e. it rewrites sentences.
3. Artificial Intelligence isn’t intelligent if you understand the *artifice*

29 Dec 2022 — Sometimes it’s better to ignore the edge-cases. If you can solve 80% of a problem right now, who benefits if you add more time to complicate things and solve the other 20%?

30 Dec 2022 — Everyone thinks they can be a strategist but very few are able to turn strategies into execution. Knowing how to execute changes your strategy formulation.

31 Dec 2022 — Another year of insights? Or another year of incites? You be the judge!