Architecture Thoughts of the day

Thoughts of the Day 2023

01 Jan 2023 — A quarter of a century ago, Enterprise Architecture merged with business strategy, business planning and business process management. Most IT architects didn’t notice and still promote a version of EA that is all about IT but was made obsolete in 1998.

02 Jan 2023 — Take your time and get it right might seem like the sane way to do things but if you keep people waiting around, sooner or later they’ll avoid you. Methodical and meticulous must also be rapid.

03 Jan 2023 — Those who most want power are the most likely to abuse it. Those who most often talk about leadership are those who are not leaders but want to be. 2+2=?

04 Jan 2023 — Sometimes a problem is all about the edge-cases. There can be a clear and simple path to make 80% of a problem go away but it would be no use without the long and tedious fix for the 20%.

05 Jan 2023 — Some problems fade away with time. Others won’t get buy-in until they’re noticeable. Never underestimate the power of kicking the can down the road.

06 Jan 2023 — Clever design can be a double-edged sword. Very often, people who don’t understand enough to spot the cleverness will completely ruin the design or implementation. Just because it’s obvious to you doesn’t mean everyone will see it. Make sure you spell it out.

07 Jan 2023 — “If you’re trying to be a leader and you have no idea what anyone under you is doing, you’re not going to be a very good leader.” — Michael J. Epstein

08 Jan 2023 — In 1998 high-level business consultants working with high-level IT architects realised they could achieve the Holy Grail of organisational design and Enterprise Architecture went from being an IT design discipline to a business design discipline. Where before there would be business design followed by the design of IT systems to suit, 25 years ago it became possible to look at the business and its IT as a single, cohesive architecture.

09 Jan 2023 — Enterprise Architecture can be considered a merger of business strategy, business planning, business process management and IT architecture. To be an EA, a person needs to have roughly equal experience in all of those subjects. Of them, IT architecture is the least important.

10 Jan 2023 — Everyone around you already has enough work to do. When you turn up with architecture stuff, that’s more work for them. If you want them to be happy about it, make the architecture stuff worth their while. 

11 Jan 2023 — If you want to herd cats, make sure your architecture designs are the metaphorical opening of a bag of cat treats. Every cat you want to herd must get a treat.

12 Jan 2023 — Sometimes it’s better to postpone the edge-cases. If you can solve 80% of a problem right now, do it. You can solve the other 20% in a later change.

13 Jan 2023 — Sometimes a simple change to the business can be a difficult change in your model.

14 Jan 2023 — “All architecture is shelter, all great architecture is the design of space that contains, cuddles, exalts or stimulates the persons in that space.” — Philip Johnson

15 Jan 2023 — People are not robots. Sometimes, one of the people implementing your design will have what they think is a great idea and make changes without telling you. A lot of the time, those changes will cause major disruption elsewhere in the design. Before you tear a strip off them, stop and think. Does it improve the design? A year from now will you even remember what the disruptions were? Most of the time, that person will need a strip torn off them but sometimes they’ll be right.

16 Jan 2023 — AI is all about the training data. It means AI is as corrupt as WikiPedia.

17 Jan 2023 — A vast number of people *in every profession* think they talk science but actually talk about the Aether. We see it in EA in maybe 90% of what is published. AI will take that 90% and serve it up to you. It has no way to know if it’s Aether or atoms that are science. It can’t ask human experts because 90% of them say Aether.

18 Jan 2023 — Never underestimate the power of throwing raw IQ at a problem.

19 Jan 2023 — The biggest problem in Enterprise Architecture is the one it has faced from the start: the sheer number of IT architects who help install enterprise apps and assume that was EA. Which is like people who help install conveyor belts assuming they are factory architects.

20 Jan 2023 — If you ask TOGAF-certified IT people how much they actually use it in their job, eventually they admit they don’t. Not the metamodel, not the ADM, etc. Which is not a surprise because Enterprise Architecture is not about IT, it’s about organisational design. 

21 Jan 2023 — “Architecture, of all the arts, is the one which acts the most slowly, but the most surely, on the soul.” – Ernest Dimnet

22 Jan 2023 — Functional Decomposition was a popular business design philosophy of the 80s. It assumes rigid organisational structure and silos. In the 90s, it was mostly made obsolete by Process Architecture which allowed flexible organisation structure and removed silos. Yet there is a concerted effort by IT people to bring this dead concept back to life. The Open Group seems to have started it. Only instead of calling it Function, they called it Capability. Which is the name of a completely different concept they obviously don’t understand because they’re IT people. Never get your business definitions from IT people, get them from business people.

23 Jan 2023 — What happens if you ignore the edge-cases and only solve the easy 80% of a problem? Surprisingly often, much of the 20% simply goes away.

24 Jan 2023 — The rise of large language model AIs has a significant problem. There is still a vast body of knowledge that never went online or did so far too late — even in subjects as apparently new as Enterprise Architecture. This is likely to lead to a long period where the AIs are flat-out wrong about a large number of subjects and might set us back a long way.

25 Jan 2023 —

Competence:ability to execute
Function: the people, process, technology, etc. to convert inputs to outputs
Capability: the potential desired effect of the outputs

Competence: mechanical engineering
Function: build bridge
Capability: cross river

26 Jan 2023 — The value of Enterprise Architecture is limited in small businesses because you can hold the entire design in your head anyway. It shines is in businesses where no one, not even the combined board, is aware of everything the business can do.

27 Jan 2023 — Q. What would happen if you trained ChatGPT using all the data in your business’ Content Management System? A. It would be able to answer most questions about your business using the knowledge of every single expert in your employ.

28 Jan 2023 — “Nothing exists except atoms and empty space; everything else is opinion.” — Democritus

29 Jan 2023 — If Enterprise Architecture is a merger of business strategy, business planning, business process management and IT architecture, you might wonder, how were they merged? They all came together within Enterprise Modelling. It was only made technically possible in the mid 90s. It took huge numbers of architects and business consultants almost a decade to understand how to piece everything together into a single model of the enterprise.

30 Jan 2023 — The advantages of a Digital Twin can be delivered at a fraction of the cost by a complete Enterprise Architecture model.

31 Jan 2023 — Business Analyst and Business Architect are two completely different professions. If a Business Analyst wanted to become a Business Architect, they would first have to become a Process Architect and possibly get an MBA. However, the mindset is completely different so most Business Analysts never get past Process Architect and only the best ones get that far. They are all lovely professions in their own way. Just very different.

01 Feb 2023 — An Enterprise Architect is someone who can design an enterprise where IT is optional. Transport them back in time 100 years and they would still be able to redesign the way a business operates.

02 Feb 2023 — How do you know things ending in the word Management are Functions and not Capabilities? Take “Asset Management”. Swap those two words around to “Manage Assets” and you have a Process. Add in the people with the appropriate skills and we can easily see “Asset Management” is a Function.

03 Feb 2023 — The only way to become an Enterprise Architect is to work on a complete model of the business operations. In other words, a detailed description of the operating model. Nothing else gives the mindset.

04 Feb 2023 — “Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.” ― Socrates

05 Feb 2023 — At least in the short term, one of the major problems with AI will be stale training data. There’s no better example of this than Enterprise Architecture. A huge number of IT architects claim to be EAs and write articles about a version of EA made obsolete 25 years ago. If humans can’t get past the obsolescence and still generate vast amounts of stale data, what hope is there for an AI?

06 Feb 2023 — Every employee has an opinion on how the business should be run. Their place on the org chart is a reasonable indicator of how much their opinion matters and how likely it is to be accurate.

07 Feb 2023 — How did so many standards bodies go so wrong with Capability and end up producing a cheap knock-off of Function instead? You don’t go down the hardware store to buy a hammer because you want to do some Hammer Management. You need to look outwards to discover, why do you need a hammer?

08 Feb 2023 — Are you always right? Of course not. And the same is true for the rest of humanity. We often like people simply because they seem to be right a lot. Yet those people are just as human and not always right.

09 Feb 2023 — 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.

10 Feb 2023 — Message-passing architecture is the current cutting edge. Nothing else in Enterprise Architecture comes close. It has been the cutting edge for three decades. Yet most architects have no idea how to use it to describe business activity.

11 Feb 2023 — “Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world” ― Miyamoto Musashi, A Book of Five Rings

12 Feb 2023 — To most IT architects, the Business Architecture section of TOGAF looks like Business Analysis. There are two fundamental mistakes involved. First, TOGAF made a mistake calling it Business Architecture because it’s not, it’s Process or Service Architecture. Second, the IT architects make a mistake because it’s not the work of Business Analysts, their work begins after the Process or Service Architecture has been developed.

13 Feb 2023 — Even though they were the best we knew at the time, some concepts that were once cutting edge are now known to be detrimental. We try something new, it works better and allows us to see the faults of what we used before. This is the nature of progress. 

14 Feb 2023 — Every domain has its own language. One of the more “fun” parts of Enterprise Architecture is so many of the domains you work with use the same term to mean either slightly or vastly different things.

15 Feb 2023 — Process replaced Function in the early 1990s. In the 2000s, Service tried to replace Process but was not up to it. One day, we will find something better than Process.

16 Feb 2023 — The customer doesn’t work for you so don’t try to make them follow your process.

17 Feb 2023 — Someone who thinks Enterprise Architecture is about IT is like someone who thinks building architecture is about electrical wiring. Both IT and electrical wiring are essential but only small parts of the architecture. Just as a building can exist without electrical wiring, an enterprise can exist without IT. An Enterprise Architect is someone who can design an enterprise without IT.

18 Feb 2023 — “It must be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to plan, more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to manage than a new system. For the initiator has the enmity of all who would profit by the preservation of the old institution and merely lukewarm defenders in those who gain by the new ones.” — Niccolo Machiavelli

19 Feb 2023 — Process Architects coordinate the structure of the work of routine departmental and inter-departmental business operations. In other words, they help department heads to organise their teams to perform new Processes. When the structure has been agreed, they can drill down into the details until there is enough for the work to be handed over the Business Analyst team.

20 Feb 2023 — Can a business survive without Enterprise Architecture? Yes, businesses have done without EA for millennia and many continue to do so. Which means architects need to prove their worth every day.

21 Feb 2023 — Take a look at the org chart for your business. Usually about 10% of the employees are in the IT department. Enterprise Architecture is mostly about the structure of what the other 90% do. Not just what they do using IT, what they do.

22 Feb 2023 — There are at least two ways to deal with a single point of failure. Risk it or work to remove it from your business. If you calculate the likelihood, impact and cost of a failure of the point, you’ll know which to do.

23 Feb 2023 — If two concepts are virtually identical, you only need one of them.

24 Feb 2023 — Custom internal development of software is a double-edged sword. It can mean you deliver superb end results. It can also be a form of vendor lock-in except you’re the vendor.

25 Feb 2023 — “When you surround an army, leave an outlet free. Do not press a desperate foe too hard.” ― Sun Tzu, The Art of War

26 Feb 2023 — Architecture requires honesty. Most businesses succeed despite not having a genuine Enterprise Architecture team. Many survive despite a fake EA team of IT bureaucrats in an ivory tower unwittingly slowing down change — mostly smart and lovely people with good intentions and blissfully unaware that’s what they do. If you are a genuine EA, you need to be able to explain why those businesses still manage to succeed and what difference a genuine EA practice would deliver. You need to be honest about architecture in order to see the truth.

27 Feb 2023 — Capability comes from the military. If you ask about the Capabilities of an army, you’re not asking about what goes on inside it, you’re asking about how well it can take and hold territory.

28 Feb 2023 — One of the many problems faced by Enterprise Architecture is just how many people hear the word “architecture” and assume it must be about IT architecture. Business Architecture suffers from the same problem and many assume it must be just a fancy name for Business Analysis. The key word in both cases is “assume” and we all know whose mother that is.

01 Mar 2023 — You work for the customer. But you will go bust unless you make a profit. Which would mean you failed the customer. So find the balance.

02 Mar 2023 — If you can’t fathom how Enterprise Architecture can be about something other than IT, take a look at the org chart for your business. Usually about 90% of the employees are outside the IT department. IT architecture is about the structure of all the IT systems the IT department is responsible for operating. Enterprise Architecture is about the structure of what everyone is responsible for operating, including the other 90% of employees. 

03 Mar 2023 — If you think Enterprise Architecture is the analysis of the architecture of an enterprise in order to deliver IT systems, you’re 25 years behind the times. EA moved past that and is used to design the architecture of the enterprise.

04 Mar 2023 — “One may know how to conquer without being able to do it.” ― Sun Tzu, The Art of War

05 Mar 2023 — In its original form, Enterprise Architecture was analysis of the enterprise in order to understand what IT systems were needed. This was in a time when only the most cutting-edge businesses had a PC on every desk. Thousands of high-end business and IT consultants built on each others work for a decade before the next breakthrough. They gave us the ability to not just analyse but also to architect an enterprise. That breakthrough happened a quarter of a century ago.

06 Mar 2023 — Business literature is filled with misuse of definitions, outdated management theories and zero understanding of Enterprise Architecture. This will make your life tough at times. You can push past it.

07 Mar 2023 — A set of people, skills and resources can create a Competence. Competence can be used to perform a Function. Functions take Inputs and turn them into Outputs. The Outputs give the business a Capability to achieve a desired Outcome.

08 Mar 2023 — If you can analyse a business in order to discover its composition, you can do the reverse and design a composition to build a business from it.

09 Mar 2023 — A lot of people keep doing the wrong thing despite knowing it’s wrong. There can be a lot of excuses. Whether they’re too embarrassed to admit it, or don’t want the reputation dent, or can’t admit they misled others, or worry it will stop their next promotion, or whatever. The trouble is, it’s negative thinking and there’s no way out. The positive thinking architect can get things wrong and still make all the excuses go away by saying, “I found a new, better way to do this.”

10 Mar 2023 — No one in business thinks it can be done without IT. There are plenty in IT who think their department could exist without the business.

11 Mar 2023 — “Sometimes you put walls up not to keep people out, but to see who cares enough to break them down.” ― Socrates

12 Mar 2023 — In order to analyse an enterprise to determine its need for IT systems, you only really need to analyse Levels 5-6 of the Process Architecture and maybe some Level 4 if the work will be interdepartmental. Which means Levels 0-4 tend to be opaque to anyone in IT. However, Enterprise Architecture is not analysis, it’s architecture. Which means you need to be able to architect the whole thing from Level 0 down to Level 6.

13 Mar 2023 — Level 0 of the Process Architecture is how the board and directors see the business. It is the top level and often looks like a combination of an Operating Model Canvas and a Business Model Canvas.

14 Mar 2023 — With Capability, the first thing you should ask is, “what can I do with it?” It’s a strategic tool and the whole point is you want to use it to achieve an effect. You don’t buy a rocket because you want a carefully controlled fuel-burn, you buy a rocket because you want the Capability to go to the moon.

15 Mar 2023 — Level 5 and 6 of the Process Architecture is where you find workers and teams. It it the part of the hierarchy where you see flowcharts. It is the part of the hierarchy where IT has users. It is where things like customer journeys exist.

16 Mar 2023 — Architecture is the structure of the design. You cannot see it by looking at all of the individual components. You can only see it by looking at how those components come together in the design.

17 Mar 2023 — You cannot see the elephant that is Enterprise Architecture until you have created a model of the entire enterprise.

18 Mar 2023 — “There is no other way to guard yourself against flattery than by making men understand that telling you the truth will not offend you.” ― Machiavelli Niccolo, The Prince 

19 Mar 2023 — Enterprise Architecture is a collaborative effort. It’s not like IT architecture where you can sit by yourself and dream up something new. EA is more like composing an opera. Everyone involved matters. There’s no point in writing an aria for a soprano if you only have baritones. Your success depends as much on the players as the composition.

20 Mar 2023 — Perhaps one day beautiful Enterprise Architecture will captivate in the same way as beautiful building architecture.

21 Mar 2023 — Some Enterprise Architects are possessed by the spirits of Heath Robinson and Rube Goldberg. But are those the good or the bad architects?

22 Mar 2023 — If you produce good Enterprise Architecture designs, they are very easy to turn into project plans. Learning how to do that will improve your skills as an architect.

23 Mar 2023 — The purpose of Enterprise Architecture is not to dictate but to satisfy, appease, delight and flatter. The key stakeholders are the ones who operate the company and you produce architecture for them. They are your customers.

24 Mar 2023 — First you create a model of the architecture of the whole enterprise. This changes you as an architect. Then the model needs to change to make improvements to the enterprise. This too changes you as an architect. You grow and improve with the enterprise.

25 Mar 2023 — “Great results, can be achieved with small forces.” ― Sun Tzu, The Art of War

26 Mar 2023 — The decision-making between architect and customer broadly follows the 80/20 rule. The customer makes 20% of the decisions, the architect makes 80% of them. The customer makes decisions about stuff that matters to them; usually a mix from big stuff to tiny little details. The architect makes all of the rest of the decisions both big and detailed. This plays out in almost every form of architecture.

27 Mar 2023 — There is a huge difference between approximate and precise when you’re trying to build a strategy in order to win. Enterprise Architecture allows you to be precise with the entire enterprise.

28 Mar 2023 — Why do we use Levels such as 0-6 in Process Architecture? Because the exec at Level 0 see the enterprise in a very different way to the people at the coal face on Levels 5-6. And the management in between on Levels 1-4 also have different concerns. So one of the reasons we use the Levels is to make sure we communicate well with the hierarchy of people.

29 Mar 2023 — Domain architects only see their domain. It’s a spear or a wall or a rope or a tree, etc. The whole point of Enterprise Architecture is to see the elephant. And you can only see the elephant if you have a model of the complete enterprise.

30 Mar 2023 — When you have created a model of the architecture of the whole enterprise and made changes to both over a few years, everything about architecture becomes obvious because you have seen the context for all of its architectural endeavours.

31 Mar 2023 — If you’re an IT architect looking at the Enterprise Architecture literature and wondering, how on Earth does this help with IT architecture? The answer is it doesn’t. That’s not what it’s for. It’s for architecting the enterprise.

01 Apr 2023 — “It is difficult to understand the universe if you only study one planet” ― Miyamoto Musashi, A Book of Five Rings

02 Apr 2023 — Everyone understands Level 5-6 of the Process Architecture. That’s the bit where people and teams do the kind of work you see in flowcharts. Most people at least have a vague idea of the Level 0. That’s the architecture as the board and the directors see the business. Enterprise Architecture is how you connect those two. The levels in between are usually a mix of Value Streams and Process Groups/Categories. 

03 Apr 2023 — If you can analyse a thing and describe its structure, you might be able to invert the process: describe a structure then build it. This was the big breakthrough of the Paris School of Enterprise Architecture. Previous versions of EA were only used to analyse the architecture. The Paris School found a way to perform the inversion and describe an enterprise in a way it could then be built.

04 Apr 2023 — Paris School is my made up term for something I observed. It was a heavily business-focussed group in France and Germany that produced a distinct type of EA practice. The other distinct practice is what I call the IBM School which is all about IT. To me, the IBM School isn’t really EA because rather than architect, it mostly analyses the enterprise in order to deliver IT systems. It’s EITA. The two schools started as one but steadily went their own ways in the early 90s.

05 Apr 2023 — Strategy is a plan to address markets, Optimisation is an internal plan to improve to efficiency.

06 Apr 2023 — Enterprise Architecture produces the designs, Project Management gets them built. Part of the job of an architect is to make sure the PM and the builders know exactly what they need to build —they must understand your designs. 

07 Apr 2023 — When you have a complete model of the enterprise and can see the whole architecture, you can see the mistakes in perception made by architects who only understand their small part.

08 Apr 2023 — “Treat your men as you would your own beloved sons. And they will follow you into the deepest valley.” ― Sun Tzu, The Art of War

09 Apr 2023 — Remember, part of your job is to make your key stakeholders look good. In architecture, the key stakeholders are your customers and they usually make about 20% of the decisions. The other 80% is up to you. When the finished design is successful, it is very common for a key stakeholder to claim 100% of the decisions were theirs or only their 20% mattered for their part of the business. If you disagree in any public way, what do you think it does to your career as an architect? So suck it up, buttercup.

10 Apr 2023 — In architecture, the customer usually makes about 20% of the decisions and the other 80% is up to you. Within the 80% there are almost always several horrible demons you had to wrestle. When the finished design is successful, it is very common for a customer to claim 100% of the decisions were theirs or only their 20% mattered. Normally, you must accept that as the fate of an architect. Occasionally, a customer will try to claim you did nothing. Pick the biggest demon they knew nothing about and ask them to explain it.

11 Apr 2023 — In bowling, you use a ball to knock down pins. The pins are external to you and a long way away. The ball is what gives you the Capability to knock down the pins.

12 Apr 2023 — Some employees turn up at 1 minute to 9 and leave at 1 minute to 5 then wonder why they get passed over for promotion.

13 Apr 2023 — You can tell people something is turtles-all-the-way-down as much you like but it only works if they understand hierarchies and turtles.

14 Apr 2023 — When you have a complete model of the enterprise and can see the whole architecture, it becomes painfully obvious when another architect has never done it. They talk about the snakes and the trees not about the elephant.

15 Apr 2023 — “Employ your time in improving yourself by other men’s writings so that you shall come easily by what others have laboured hard for.” ― Socrates

16 Apr 2023 — A complete model of the enterprise means a transformation in the way it can be managed. Before EA existed, it was impossible for anyone to clearly see the enterprise. A short distance from any management position, the fog would begin. It led to many management theories about shapes moving in the fog. EA burns the fog away and you can see precisely what it hid.

17 Apr 2023 — When you look at a diagram like the previous one above about strategy, you need to understand it is very low resolution. A change in strategy and the knock-on impacts within the business might involve the work of hundreds or even thousands of employees.

18 Apr 2023 — A complete model of the Enterprise Architecture is a major endeavour but is relatively straightforward. Whereas a complete model of the EITA is a fool’s errand because any attempt invariably turns into a spaghetti diagram of network traffic.

19 Apr 2023 — How long will it be before ChatGPT or equivalent replaces most of the Support Desk in your business?

20 Apr 2023 — The days of IT Architecture and EITA jobs are numbered. The roots and branches of them are entirely logical which means they’ll be one of the early skills AI will develop. If an AI can develop software, which some can, ITA and EITA are not much of a jump.

21 Apr 2023 — You cannot see the elephant that is Enterprise Architecture until you have created a model of the entire enterprise. It takes time but is straightforward.

22 Apr 2023 — “The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him.” ― Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince

23 Apr 2023 — There is a strong argument both for and against using Process Architecture levels. The obvious argument in favour is it gives structure to the design. The obvious argument against is it often bears little relation to the structure of the business. One day, someone will create something better.

24 Apr 2023 — If ability and capability were the same thing, we’d only use the shorter word. They’re not so we don’t.

25 Apr 2023 — If your Enterprise Architecture tool doesn’t have a query language, is it really an EA tool? No. Without a query language, it’s just a design tool not an architecture tool.

26 Apr 2023 — If an AI can tell you the steps to build a new server in the cloud and the steps of how to install a particular piece of software onto it then it can just do it for you. All rote online work will be done by AI soon. How long will it be before ChatGPT or equivalent replaces most of the IT Ops team in your business?

27 Apr 2023 — Whenever you’re disappointed your junior architects don’t work as hard as you, remember the basics of multiplication. If your junior architects only do half of your output but you have 5 of them, that’s 250% of the work you could do.

28 Apr 2023 — You might know the theory that your elephant exists but if you cannot draw it, you have no idea whether or not any work you do to improve it makes sense beyond the small part you know.

29 Apr 2023 — “When I’m working on a problem, I never think about beauty. But when I’ve finished, if the solution is not beautiful I know it’s wrong.” — Buckminster Fuller

30 Apr 2023 — We’re close to the point where AI will be able to take a set of requirements and turn it into a new app. And we’re already at the point where AI can generate a good set of requirements faster than you. What happens when you put two and two together?

01 May 2023 — If you doubt people in IT can be replaced by AI, here’s a simple question: can you name another department with more step-by-step How-To articles all over the Internet for AI to learn?

02 May 2023 — The bigger the business, the more difficult it is for the people at the top of the pyramid to see what happens at the base. And vice versa. Enterprise Architecture gives them clear line of sight of each other.

03 May 2023 — If seven employees have a manager… and seven managers have a senior manager… and you keep repeating that pattern… four levels of management can run a 19,607 employee business.

04 May 2023 — How long will it be before AutoGPT or equivalent does all of your software updates including data validation afterwards?

05 May 2023 — Humans have obsessions and a job they love can reinforce those obsessions. They don’t need the blindfolds, they’ll cheerfully acknowledge it’s an elephant and swear the entire thing is really all about rope or spears or snakes.

06 May 2023 — “There are two jobs in the world that people want to do the most while knowing the least about: architect and strategist.” — Eben Hewitt, Technology Strategy Patterns: Architecture as Strategy

07 May 2023 — Many people think AI is still a long way away. The screenshot is of my locally-installed AI. The questions are loaded but the answers are perfect and the explanations show they are genuine. It already has a better understanding of EA than most people with the job title.

08 May 2023 — “Enterprise Architecture is focused on designing the structure of the operating model in order to support and align with the business model, ensuring that the organisation is able to effectively achieve its goals and objectives.” — GPT4All “Snoozy” AI.

09 May 2023 — Philosophically, Enterprise Architecture is about people. The role of an Enterprise Architect is to optimise business operations so the employees can be more productive and better understood.

10 May 2023 — If you’re worried — and you should be — AI is going to take your job, start using it. Start building your AI skills now and get to know the landscape. Things are going to move fast. If you can’t do this in work time, do it in your spare time. The closer you are to an expert on how to take advantage of AI, the safer your job will be.

11 May 2023 — One of the problems with explaining Enterprise Architecture is what works in one business may not work in another. The successful parts of the architecture can be down to things like talented individuals, specific processes, hard-won competencies, etc.

12 May 2023 — To see the elephant that is Enterprise Architecture, you have to model the entire enterprise. The same is not true for enterprise IT. IT systems need to be modelled individually otherwise you end up with a spaghetti of network traffic diagrams.

13 May 2023 — “Architecture is a social act and the material theater of human activity.” — Spiro Kostof

14 May 2023 — If your boss isn’t spending evenings and weekends learning about AI… and you are… your working relationship may switch soon.

15 May 2023 — It took more than 20 years of personal computing before everyone with a desk had a PC on it. It changed business forever. It took half that time for everyone to have Internet access. It changed business forever. How long will it take for AI?

16 May 2023 — Architecture is a temporal art. It creates its greatest effects spread out over the years.

17 May 2023 — It’s crazy that PC manufacturers cling on to 20th century kludges like the various types of monitor connections and USB. The only sane way forward is to make all wired connections use Ethernet. One type of connector. One type of cable. The only change Ethernet needs is to move away from the ancient RJ45 connector to something more robust and user friendly.

18 May 2023 — Every time you make an architectural change, you’re meddling with employees’ careers. The bigger the change, the more you’re meddling. If you want the employees on your side, make sure to show them how you’re going to safeguard or improve their careers wherever possible.

19 May 2023 — One of the more interesting things about AI is its potential to flatten the hierarchy. You still need people to direct the business. You still need people to do the actual work. But will you still need middle management?

20 May 2023 — “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” — Upton Sinclair

21 May 2023 — Suppose you need the Capability to join pieces of wood. A hammer and nails give part of that Capability. The associated Process involves hitting nails with the hammer. The associated Competence or skill involves doing it well. Unfortunately, a lot of standards bodies promote a fake version. For join pieces of wood, they teach the Capability would be Hammer Management. Which is as dumb as it sounds but that’s what TOG, BAG and several others try to teach you.

22 May 2023 — Can AutoGPT already perform at least half of the role of a Solution Architect?

23 May 2023 — The smartest person in the room is seldom the one with the highest IQ.

24 May 2023 — Ability and Capability are not the same. They come from different etymological roots. Ability comes from habilis which is the same root as habit. Capability comes from capax which is the same root as capture and capacity.

25 May 2023 — Each of the boxes is one shape/colour of Lego brick. Each of the lines is which bricks are allowed to connect to which other bricks.

You can also connect bricks of the same type together. Now go build a Lego version of your enterprise.

26 May 2023 — Capability comes from the military. It has outward focus. This is easy to see if you ask yourself a simple question: what are three Capabilities of a spear? The answers are not about what’s going on inside it.

27 May 2023 — “It is hard not to see into the future, faced with today’s blind architecture – a thousand times more stupid and more revolting than that of other ages. How bored we shall be inside!” — André Breton

28 May 2023 — Building architecture is mostly about the physical. Enterprise Architecture is mostly about the notional. As long as you can describe the notional things in such a way that others understand, the enterprise can be built.

29 May 2023 — If Project Management is there to deliver projects on time, on budget and on schedule, Enterprise Architecture is there to define the projects to be delivered.

30 May 2023 — Some things are notional while others are tangible. There is no tangible thing called a Process. You might point at its design but that’s a description of it. There is no tangible thing called a Process because it’s an activity. However, the notional part is essential to our understanding of the activity.

31 May 2023 — Sweeping generalisations are often the only way to make a good decision. You might have an exception to the generalisation right in front of you but, if the cost of adding that exception to the rule is too high compared with the benefits…

01 Jun 2023 — Watching old episodes of Grand Designs is a good way to unwind while still learning more about the strong parallels between Enterprise Architecture and the senior profession of building architecture.

02 Jun 2023 — Enterprise Architecture allows a precision of understanding not possible before. It is a move from hearsay and speculation about the nature of the enterprise into a world of hard data.

03 Jun 2023 — “The character of the architectural forms and spaces which all people habitually encounter are powerful agencies in determining the nature of their thoughts, their emotions and their actions, however unconscious of this they may be.” — Hugh Ferriss, The Metropolis of Tomorrow

04 Jun 2023 — There are a thousand ways to slice and dice an enterprise. You only have to look at the variety of metamodels to see some. Even the most popular ones suffer from the complaint of not being a perfect fit for our enterprise. Yet it is important to understand the slicing and dicing is not real, it’s just a way for us to understand the enterprise in order to redesign it. In the real world, a bunch of people turn up each day to perform a set of activities to keep themselves, the customers and investors happy.

05 Jun 2023 — You cannot catalogue every Process, there are just too many. You cannot formalise every important Process, many depend on the expertise of a professional and change frequently. But you can catalogue and formalise enough to make a difference.

06 Jun 2023 — Risk Management should be built into the Process Architecture from the start. Find the pattern that best suits your enterprise and make sure every process has its potential risk events’ likelihood, severity and impact understood. Then you can decide if they need control processes.

07 Jun 2023 — The design of a business process is about formalising an activity. Superficially, it can look like programming. Never confuse them. If you try to treat people performing an activity like robots, you will destroy that part of the business. Instead, design processes to be enjoyable or challenging. Let people use their talents.

08 Jun 2023 — Brand Management and Reputation are not just a concern of Marketing. Every employee has a brand and reputation whether they like it or not. The employees who pay attention to their own brand and reputation often get promoted faster.

09 Jun 2023 — When you have run enough queries against your Enterprise Architecture model, you get to truly see how the enterprise looks different from every angle.

10 Jun 2023 — “The rigidity of a bottle’s form does not affect the fluidity of the liquid it contains.” — Léon Krier, The Architecture of Community

11 Jun 2023 — During the 60s, 70s and 80s, the normal practice was for Business Analysts to work with the business to make sure the IT systems did what the business wanted. A lot of people think this is Business/IT alignment. It’s not. It’s just suitable IT. Business/IT alignment is when there is a two way street and is more about the business shaping itself in such a way that it can take better advantage of technology.

12 Jun 2023 — Business/IT alignment is a two way street and is about the business shaping itself in such a way to take better advantage of technology. It’s a comparatively recent concept.

13 Jun 2023 — The major point of Enterprise Architecture is to shape the operating model of the business. The major point of Business Architecture is to shape the business model of the business. These are two intertwined concepts and each shapes the other.

14 Jun 2023 —

15 Jun 2023 — TOGAF 9 was released in 2009. It was the first version with an explicit metamodel. The metamodel and the ADM are the two foundations of TOGAF. It went on to become the most popular Enterprise Architecture framework and hundreds of thousands of people are certified in it. Yet almost none of them know what a metamodel is or is used to achieve.

16 Jun 2023 —

17 Jun 2023 — “Gilks sighed. ‘You’re a clever man, Cjelli, I grant you that,’ he said, ‘but you make the same mistake a lot of clever people do of thinking everyone else is stupid.’” — Douglas Adams, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

18 Jun 2023 — Capability is a concept for the strategist. The engineer tries to look inside the Capability to see how it works but that is the wrong place to look. Think of the market as a chess board. Capability is what a part of the business can do in the same sense as what a knight on a chess board can do. The strategist understands it doesn’t matter what is inside the knight, it matters what you can do with it to win the game. If you want to understand the concept, pick up each piece from a chess set and ask, what are its Capabilities?

19 Jun 2023 — Enterprise Architecture started as a generic ontology to describe the enterprise which had empty spaces to describe the IT to enable it. Note the separation. Architecture of the enterprise. Spaces for the IT. And that’s before we learned how to produce detailed architecture of the enterprise.

20 Jun 2023 — TOGAF 9 was released 14 years ago. It very, very clearly shows the architecture of IT is only 25% of the job of an Enterprise Architecture team. Yet the vast majority of IT people think IT is 100% of the job. And complain 75% of TOGAF is useless to them.

21 Jun 2023 — Enterprise Architecture is the architecture of the enterprise. The architecture of the IT within the enterprise is something else. Even applications that reach into every corner of the enterprise and how those apps connect to each other aren’t EA, they’re enterprise IT. The enterprise itself has an architecture and even the largest IT apps are only part of that architecture.

22 Jun 2023 — If you think architecture is hard where you work, imagine what it’s like in a business where, if you make a mistake, it can make global headlines.

23 Jun 2023 — If your Enterprise Architecture team is in the IT department and its deliverables are all IT-based, it’s not an Enterprise Architecture team, it’s an IT architecture team. EA started out as a generic architecture of an enterprise with empty spaces for IT architecture. It went on to allow us to produce detailed designs of the enterprise. IT is only a comparatively small part of the enterprise. Which means IT is only a comparatively small part of the architecture of the enterprise.

24 Jun 2023 — “The dialogue between client and architect is about as intimate as any conversation you can have, because when you’re talking about building a house, you’re talking about dreams.” — Robert A. M. Stern

25 Jun 2023 — Systems Architecture — how multiple systems are arranged, integrated, etc. — and Business Analysis have both been around since the early days of computing. Despite what most IT people believe, Enterprise Architecture is not just a new name for those same old practices. The people who created and improved EA already knew about Systems Architecture and Business Analysis. They made something new. Yet to this day, IT people who only understand Systems Architecture and Business Analysis try to map EA onto them and ignore the fact the majority of EA doesn’t map onto those old practices at all.

26 Jun 2023 — Whenever you want to complain about your commute, remember you chose where you live and the alternative is your employer decides where you live.

27 Jun 2023 — Some people see the world in black and white. Some think it is shades of grey. A few see the world in colour. Fewer still recognise there are colours we cannot perceive.

28 Jun 2023 — The most important thing in Enterprise Architecture is to make your key stakeholders happy.

29 Jun 2023 — Enterprise Architecture is very much like building architecture in its way of thinking. EITA isn’t like architecture at all, it’s far closer to Town Planning.

30 Jun 2023 — One of the many problems in all forms of architecture is architects who know what they’re doing but not why they’re doing it. If you cannot explain something from first principles, do you really know why you’re doing it?

01 Jul 2023 — “Architects in the past have tended to concentrate their attention on the building as a static object. I believe dynamics are more important: the dynamics of people, their interaction with spaces and environmental condition.” — John Portman

02 Jul 2023 — Enterprise Architecture is 75% business and only 25% IT. There are many who claim EA is only the 25% but they’re just IT people who only understand IT. They claim everything is about IT in the same way finance people claim everything is about finance. It’s all they can see. But the 25% is what we did before. Adding the 75% business is what makes it EA.

03 Jul 2023 — The more senior the stakeholder, the more likely it is there are things they cannot tell you because of confidentiality. For instance, there might be secret negotiations going on with a potential partner. This means they might push back hard against something for no obvious reason. 

04 Jul 2023 — Before Enterprise Architecture, the description of the operating model of a business was necessarily very low resolution. It was impossible for anyone to fully understand the enterprise once it went past a certain size. The complexity is just too much. So the descriptions of the operating model were simple to allow people to broadly understand the enterprise.

05 Jul 2023 — Capability is what an actor can do to its environment.

06 Jul 2023 — Enterprise Architecture is about what the business routinely does in order to operate. In other words, it is the detailed design of its operating model. 

07 Jul 2023 — Capability has outward focus. Ask yourself: what are three Capabilities of a battering ram? Your answers should be things like, knock down enemy gates, break enemy doors and gain entry to enemy fortifications.

08 Jul 2023 — “The greatest advances of civilization, whether in architecture or painting, in science and literature, in industry or agriculture, have never come from centralized government.” — Milton Friedman

09 Jul 2023 — Attention to detail and precision are why Apple laptops are better than most of their competition. Enterprise Architecture allows you to bring that kind of attention to detail and precision to the operations of your organisation.

10 Jul 2023 — Analysis Paralysis is often a sign that all of the options are roughly equal and you should just pick one.

11 Jul 2023 — The majority of architecture literature is written by people who have never even seen an Enterprise Architecture.

12 Jul 2023 — Much of the business literature is shamanism. One time the shaman shook his hips and the lightning came so now he tells everyone he can bring the lightning. One time, a business manager was part of something successful but only understood the irrelevant thing he did. Then he wrote a book about it.

13 Jul 2023 — Enterprise Architecture allows us to have a hugely complex and detailed operating model and yet people can still understand it because they don’t have to hold it all in their head.

14 Jul 2023 — Just because you do something does not mean you will get the outcome you want. There is tension between what we do and the outcome we get.

15 Jul 2023 — “Architecture is basically a container of something. I hope they will enjoy not so much the teacup, but the tea.” — Yoshio Taniguchi

16 Jul 2023 — One of the better perspectives to understand Enterprise Architecture is to look at how the two core parts of TOGAF connect. The metamodel is the What and the ADM is an overview of the How. The diagram shows their connection and the overwhelming importance of what TOGAF calls Business Architecture. Note it is Architecture not Analysis. An Enterprise Architecture team architects all the domains and Phase B is blatantly the most important. The work is an evolution of Business Process Management.

17 Jul 2023 — It is wrong to think of the enterprise as a system in the same way it is wrong to think of yourself as a programmable robot. The enterprise is an enterprise. It is filled with humans who make it work.

18 Jul 2023 — Strategy is the business’s plan to take and hold a market.

19 Jul 2023 — Enterprise Architecture changes everything. A huge amount of business literature is made obsolete by EA. We are in the very early days of switching from alchemy to chemistry.

20 Jul 2023 — Strategy is the art of the General. A strategy is a plan to take and hold territory. In business, Strategy is a plan to take and hold territory in a market.

21 Jul 2023 —

22 Jul 2023 — “The centre of Western culture is Greece, and we have never lost our ties with the architectural concepts of that ancient civilisation.” — Stephen Gardiner

23 Jul 2023 — Part of your job as an architect is to be creative. If there are two or more key stakeholders butting heads, your job is to come up with an architecture where the business operates better, not to stop them butting heads. However, if you want them to stop, practice two things: the high-ground manoeuvre and making your key stakeholders look good to their boss.

24 Jul 2023 — Anyone who has had to hire new employees understands why employee retention is important.

25 Jul 2023 — The definition of words matters. A lot. Because there’s so much money at stake. You cannot look in a regular dictionary for business or technical terms.

26 Jul 2023 — Anyone who has programmed understands getting machines to do a thing can be hard. Anyone who has reorganised a department understands getting humans to do a thing can be way harder.

27 Jul 2023 — The purpose of Enterprise Architecture is not to design the IT needed, it’s to design the enterprise needed.

28 Jul 2023 — It’s a surprise to most IT people when they hear Enterprise Architecture is only 25% IT and the other 75% is business. They often seem to think it’s some kind of metaphor. But it isn’t. It takes years of learning to develop the skills to architect the business side and it’s where all the value of EA can be found.

29 Jul 2023 — “One of the biggest traps for smart engineers is optimising a thing that should not exist! The perfect part is no part.” — Elon Musk

30 Jul 2023 — It takes years of learning to develop the skills to architect the business side and it’s where all the value of Enterprise Architecture can be found. We already knew how to architect the IT side long before EA existed. There is zero value in reinventing IT Systems Architecture. 

31 Jul 2023 — You might think it’s OK for your architecture team to play it safe, take it slow and steady. It might even be the right move. But add up the salaries of your team and figure out how much it costs per year or even per day. Ask yourself, what do you expect from a team that costs that much?

01 Aug 2023 — The most common cry from people who do not understand Enterprise Architecture is, “I’ve had the title for years and EA is [insert whatever they do for a job]”. Which never matches the EA literature.

02 Aug 2023 — Process Architecture — misnamed as Business Architecture in TOGAF — is an evolution of Business Process Reengineering and Business Process Management. In other words, it’s a discipline used by senior management to decide the routine operations of the organisation.

03 Aug 2023 — A lot of employees think their job is unimportant or don’t know their place in the grand scheme. A complete Enterprise Architecture model can show them they are important and how. You can use the model to make someone’s life better without changing a single thing other than their understanding of the organisation.

04 Aug 2023 — If you’re in a junior position in IT but eventually want to make it into Enterprise Architecture, one of the jobs you should chase is maintenance of the Active Directory or LDAP groups. It won’t teach you much about EA itself but can instil an understanding of how models work.

05 Aug 2023 — “Space has always been the spiritual dimension of architecture. It is not the physical statement of the structure so much as what it contains that moves us.” — Arthur Erickson

06 Aug 2023 — The Workflow Management Coalition uses what should be a very familiar definition, “Business process management (BPM) is a discipline involving any combination of modelling, automation, execution, control, measurement and optimisation of business activity flows, in support of enterprise goals, spanning systems, employees, customers and partners within and beyond the enterprise boundaries.”

07 Aug 2023 — When IT people understand what an Enterprise Architect does, most of them don’t want the job or the the title.

08 Aug 2023 — In most senses, Enterprise Architecture is a descendent of Business Process Reengineering and Business Process Management with a small amount of IT architecture integrated.

09 Aug 2023 — IT architecture principles cannot be applied to Enterprise Architecture. An enterprise is not a set of IT systems. If you try to treat it like one, you will end up with either a bureaucracy or somewhere that creates horror stories like the Amazon warehouses. Most likely both.

10 Aug 2023 — What is Process Architecture? It is an evolution of Business Process Management that integrates at its higher levels with Business Architecture and at its lowest levels integrates with things like BPMN and IT architecture. It is the architecture of routine business operations.

11 Aug 2023 — Opening an online shop to sell your existing physical products isn’t Digital Transformation. The fundamental point of Digital Transformation is going from physical products to digital products. For many businesses, this is impossible.

12 Aug 2023 — “Then go as far away as possible from home to build your first buildings. The physician can bury his mistakes but the architect can only advise his client to plant vines.” — Frank Lloyd Wright

13 Aug 2023 — If you work in a 1000 employee company that thinks it can use AI to replace 900 people and become a 100 employee business, leave now. That company will die. Because there are tens of thousands of lean, hungry 100 employee companies looking to become 1000 employee AI companies and they’ll be its new competition. Do you want to work for a business looking to use AI to shrink or one looking to use AI to grow?

14 Aug 2023 — The fundamental point of Digital Transformation is going from physical products to digital products. While for many businesses it’s impossible, the businesses that have found a way to do the impossible have made massive gains. Architecture can help you find the impossible.

15 Aug 2023 — There’s an easy way to tell if you understand a new concept getting senior management excited. Does it sound like something mundane you’ve been doing for years? If the answer is yes, you don’t understand the concept.

16 Aug 2023 — The architecture Vision is rarely a picture. It is usually a brief description to outline the desired future state, the outcome, the value it will deliver and how it will be achieved.

17 Aug 2023 — Beware of the Spider-Man problem. If you do a survey of people who claim to be Spider-Man, you’ll end up concluding Spider-Man is a 5 year old boy in a cheap costume who cannot swing from a web. Consultants and IT people are the worst culprits for falsely claiming to know a thing or be a thing. Just because someone makes a claim does not mean it is true. A survey of people who make false claims will only get you false data.

18 Aug 2023 — Senior management got interested in Enterprise Architecture because it’s about the architecture of the enterprise. It’s not just another name for the architecture of the IT systems in the enterprise. We’ve known about IT architecture since the 1960s. Senior management doesn’t get interest in stuff we’ve known about since the 1960s.

19 Aug 2023 — “I wasn’t smart enough about that. I was reflecting my engineering background and was insufficiently appreciative of the human dimension. I’ve learned that’s critical.” — Michael Hammer

20 Aug 2023 —

21 Aug 2023 — Knowledge is not a democracy. A thing does not become true just because more people believe it. A thing becomes true when we have proof it is true.

22 Aug 2023 — Transformation is not just Change. Transformation is a fundamental Change. One so large the result is barely recognisable as coming from the starting point. It is not a team doing something new, it is the dissolution of several departments followed by multiple new departments doing something the business has not done before. A caterpillar transforms into a butterfly.

23 Aug 2023 — An architect’s drawings are not architecture, they are drawings *of* the architecture. An architect’s models are not architecture, they are models *of* the architecture. Perhaps this is not important in other languages but English there is a distinct difference.

24 Aug 2023 — When a child claims they’re Spider-Man, they know it’s just make-believe. Unfortunately, many consultants and IT people who claim to be something they’re not have no idea it’s make-believe. They will swear to the ends of the Earth they really are Spider-Man. Even when presented with evidence they cannot refute.

25 Aug 2023 —

26 Aug 2023 — “A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” — Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

27 Aug 2023 — One of the easy ways to tell whether someone has a grasp on a new management concept is whether they just map it onto what they already do. For instance, a lot of people think Transformation is just another name for Change. Some even renamed their project management teams to Transformation Management. But the whole reason Transformation was given a new name is specifically because it is not just Change.

28 Aug 2023 —

29 Aug 2023 — Any change that involves more than a few managers becomes complex. Everyone who has sat through those meetings knows it. Enterprise Architecture reduces that complexity.

30 Aug 2023 — When a bunch of experts in a field create a new thing and give it a name… then a bunch of non-experts in the field say no-no, this is just a new name for something we already do… who is most likely to be right?

31 Aug 2023 — At some point, the IT discipline went very badly wrong. We have a situation where if experts in business create new a concept that even mentions IT, it will immediately be stolen by IT people and used to rename some old practice no one outside of IT cares about. It even happens when the business concept doesn’t mention IT.

01 Sep 2023 —

02 Sep 2023 — “My passion and great enjoyment for architecture, and the reason the older I get the more I enjoy it, is because I believe we – architects – can effect the quality of life of the people.” — Richard Rogers

03 Sep 2023 —

04 Sep 2023 — Both consultants and IT people are often deliberately trained to say things with confidence. This can lead them to overconfidence… a belief in what they said because they so often made something up then made it come true for their stakeholders.

05 Sep 2023 —

06 Sep 2023 — Argumentum ad verecundiam is one of the most dangerous logical fallacies. Just because your boss says a thing or gave you a certain job title doesn’t mean you know anything about that job. Maybe they don’t know anything about it either. Maybe they just thought the title sounded cool.

07 Sep 2023 —

08 Sep 2023 — One of the problems of working for the same organisation for many years is people often only interact with their colleagues. In solitary roles — where you might be the only person doing it in the organisation — this can lead to outdated skills and practices. Why try something new when the old thing continues to work? The answer is, other organisations may have found far better/cheaper ways to do it. Or automated it away completely. The smaller your team and the longer you’ve worked in one organisation, the more important it is for you to interact with your peers outside of your organisation.

09 Sep 2023 — “Architecture is not an inspirational business, it’s a rational procedure to do sensible and hopefully beautiful things; that’s all.” — Harry Seidler

10 Sep 2023 —

11 Sep 2023 — One of the easy ways to tell whether someone has a grasp on a new management concept is whether they just map it onto what they already do. For instance, a lot of people think Business Architecture is just another name for Business Analysis. Some even renamed their Business Analysis teams to Business Architecture. But the whole reason Business Architecture was given a new name is specifically because it is not just Analysis, it is Architecture.

12 Sep 2023 —

13 Sep 2023 — The smaller your team and the longer you’ve worked in one organisation, the more important it is for you to interact with your peers outside of your organisation. Otherwise the team’s skills can get stale. If you are the manager of the team and have the budget, one way to help keep skills fresh is to temporarily bring in outside talent.

14 Sep 2023 —

15 Sep 2023 — Hierarchies are one of the foundations of Enterprise Architecture models. When you see a metamodel, almost everything on it is likely to be a hierarchy. For instance, a process has a sub process which has a sub process which has…

16 Sep 2023 — “One department will design to the constraints that the other department has given them without questioning the constraint. It’s best to take the approach that the constraint is guaranteed to be some degree wrong.” — Elon Musk

17 Sep 2023 — If you have a good Business Process Management (BPM) team, the jump to Enterprise Architecture is fairly small but has a huge impact. The point of BPM is to coordinate the work of management in the design and planning of major changes. Unfortunately, it can lead to poor use of IT or new IT systems where old ones should have been reused. EA fixes that and takes BPM to the next level by integrating IT into the design from the start.

18 Sep 2023 — Business-IT Alignment in Enterprise Architecture is a two-way street. IT is expensive and it often makes more sense to change the business to make better use of IT than to change the IT to better suit the business.

19 Sep 2023 — Almost everything you see on an Enterprise Architecture metamodel can be a hierarchy. Even many of the metaassociations can be hierarchies.

20 Sep 2023 — One of the more interesting ways to view the enterprise is as a giant flow of talent. Through that lens, it becomes possible to see things that were previously invisible.

21 Sep 2023 — Metamodel is to Enterprise Architecture as stock control database schema is to stock control.

22 Sep 2023 — A metamodel is not a summary of the architecture, it is a schema or a stencil. It is the set of classes and associations you can use to build a model.

23 Sep 2023 — “Architecture can’t fully represent the chaos and turmoil that are part of the human personality, but you need to put some of that turmoil into the architecture, or it isn’t real.” — Frank Stella

24 Sep 2023 — A metamodel is not an abstraction of your business, it is a set of objects and constraints that can be used to produce models of your business. A good one can produce models that look like an Operating Model Canvas or a Business Model Canvas and also produce more detailed models.

25 Sep 2023 — The query language in your EA tool needs to be high on your list of skills. An enterprise architecture model is only useful to strategy if you can query it.

26 Sep 2023 — Building architecture is not about buildings, it is about providing spaces for people. However, buildings are the best way to bound those spaces. What if Enterprise Architecture is not about enterprises?

27 Sep 2023 — The environment of your business is more important than the activities it performs. Most of the time it’s the environment that drives the activities and rarely the activities driving the environment.

28 Sep 2023 — Sooner or later you’re going to make a mistake. You don’t want to but it’s going to happen. The big thing is how you deal with it afterwards.

29 Sep 2023 — If most of the time it’s the environment that drives the activities and rarely the activities driving the environment, what about those rare activities? Those are when you drive the market. Whether that’s through leading or causing a market leader to change course.

30 Sep 2023 — “To work in architecture you are so much involved with society, with politics, with bureaucrats. It’s a very complicated process to do large projects. You start to see the society, how it functions, how it works. Then you have a lot of criticism about how it works.” — Ai Weiwei

01 Oct 2023 — Sooner or later you’re going to discover some method you’ve been recommending for years is bunk. Maybe not even just a waste of time but actively detrimental. While you don’t have to shout it from the rooftops, you do have to confess. By far the safest way for your sanity and reputation is to say, “I found a better way.”

02 Oct 2023 — Strategy is about taking and holding territory. In a business sense, that’s territory within a market. 

03 Oct 2023 — Process Levels are possibly the most important concept to grasp in Enterprise Architecture. They are what allow you to describe the architecture of the operating model in a way that can be understood from top to bottom.

04 Oct 2023 — Enterprise Architecture is used to describe the operating model. By using Impact Assessments, the EA can be used to decide whether a change to the Business Model is a good fit for the existing operations.

05 Oct 2023 — You need to understand Value because it’s what a business creates and delivers for customers.

06 Oct 2023 — Compliance usually only affects architecture in a regulated industry. When it does, the best way to ensure perfect compliance is to base the architecture on the legislation.

07 Oct 2023 — “Look, architecture has a lot of places to hide behind, a lot of excuses. ‘The client made me do this.’ ‘The city made me do this.’ ‘Oh, the budget.’ I don’t believe that anymore.” — Frank Gehry

08 Oct 2023 — If all you’re doing is optimising part of the operating model… not making a change to it so much as making it more efficient or reducing costs… is that strategy or is it just planning?

09 Oct 2023 — Architecture changes the way you look at everything. It steadily reveals the follies of traditional management theories and pokes holes in received wisdom. Instead of seeing things how people claim they are, it allows you to see things as they are.

10 Oct 2023 — Some stakeholders have no imagination but will never admit it. (Who would?) You can show them the proposed architecture and they’ll nod along as though everything is perfect but they are just being polite. If they don’t ask questions, that can be a sign and you should make sure you show the architecture to more than one stakeholder.

11 Oct 2023 — In theory, you can orient your architecture around any metaclass and it’s usually the one with the highest number of metaassociations. In practice, it means your architecture will almost always be oriented around Process.

12 Oct 2023 — In some senses, learning architecture is like learning MBA material. It doesn’t teach you the specifics of your organisation or industry but it can make you useful in almost any of them. Learn both and you gain a huge advantage.

13 Oct 2023 — Ability: something you can do, a skill. CAPability: the desired effect of using your ability.

14 Oct 2023 — “Confidence is a feature, certainty is a bug.” — Scott Adams

15 Oct 2023 — The digital era has led to a lot of binary thinking. But analogue thinking is often far better for leadership. There was a time when the word true was used to describe the flight of an arrow. It only had to be certain to hit the target not the bullseye. The important thing was the direction was true.

16 Oct 2023 — Just as there are gaps in the market, there are gaps internally. Just like gaps in the market, you might see an internal gap every day and not recognise it.

17 Oct 2023 — Core to Enterprise Architecture is the concept of being able to draw the enterprise before it is built. This is similar to how a building architect draws a building and has similar purposes.

18 Oct 2023 — Good governance needs accurate management information and reporting if it is to stay good.

19 Oct 2023 — Change is everything that goes on to change the firm. Transformation is a change so large the firm is unrecognisable afterwards and probably doesn’t even have the same type of employees.

20 Oct 2023 — All of architecture requires investment. In time, in brain power but most especially in money. As an architect, you need to have a strong sense of how much things cost.

21 Oct 2023 — “Measure what is measurable, and make measurable what is not so.” — Galileo Galilei

22 Oct 2023 — If you’re worried about some multi-million resource being affordable, remember that humans are often the most expensive part of both building and operating a new architecture.

23 Oct 2023 — The negotiation phase of Enterprise Architecture can be a time of both great optimism and raw office politics.

24 Oct 2023 — Drag is when you add so much detail to your architecture or metamodel that it takes longer than it should to make changes.

25 Oct 2023 — An architecture view sounds mysterious but, when the architecture is in a database, there is no mystery because a view is simply a report generated by a query.

26 Oct 2023 — Is there any word in Enterprise Architecture that has more different meanings in active use than “model”? Business Model is not the same as model of the business. That’s before we get to statistical models.

27 Oct 2023 — There are so many words with double, triple or even quadruple meanings in enterprise architecture that it causes major confusion. Imagine the situation for someone who has English as a second language.

28 Oct 2023 — “God created paper for the purpose of drawing architecture on it. Everything else is, at least for me, an abuse of paper.” — Alvar Aalto

29 Oct 2023 — What you think is objectivity can turn out to be surprisingly subjective even when you deliberately set out to be objective.

30 Oct 2023 — Enterprise Architecture gets the illusion of complexity from its size. A huge number of simple parts added together can create the illusion of complexity. Almost every individual part of EA is simple because you have to be able to communicate it which means others have to understand it.

31 Oct 2023 — Enterprise Architects can face a tough challenge when they design new parts of the organisation for bureaucratic types. While it’s not your job to reduce headcount, it is your job to make things more efficient and that can mean you architect away chunks of the organisation. This will not please bureaucratic stakeholders.

01 Nov 2023 — The main use of the Enterprise Architecture model in strategy is to perform Impact Assessments. It sounds like a small thing but it has a profound effect.

02 Nov 2023 — Happiness as an architect depends on the happiness of your stakeholders.

03 Nov 2023 — Sometimes fate will have it in for your design. A key component will turn out to be not as advertised or not as understood. Or a key stakeholder will be missing. Or the budget will be taken away for something else. Pay attention to what can be saved and how useful it will be. Build your future designs from those kinds of things.

04 Nov 2023 — “Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.” ― Marcus Aurelius

05 Nov 2023 — Possibly the most important thing to understand in Enterprise Architecture is it’s teamwork. It’s teamwork when you coordinate the other architects. It’s teamwork when you spend days or months with the key stakeholders to produce the design.

06 Nov 2023 — The value stream for Enterprise Architecture is:
Negotiate >> Design >> Communicate
Every step of the way it is about teamwork. Unlike IT or Solution Architecture where the Design value stage is mostly solitary, Design in EA is highly collaborative.

07 Nov 2023 — Enterprise Architecture is not what most people think.

08 Nov 2023 — Every now and then, you need to surround yourself with people who are much smarter than you. It’s healthy to occasionally be the dumbest person in the room.

09 Nov 2023 — Every piece of architecture you produce that gives a great outcome is subject to time and experience changing your perception of it. Architecture you celebrate today in a decade you may think is terrible. You are still right to celebrate it today.

10 Nov 2023 — Imagine you asked about someone’s position on the Org Chart and everyone looked at you blankly because there was no Org Chart. In a few years, an organisation without a complete Enterprise Architecture model will seem as crazy.

11 Nov 2023 — “Architecture is the learned game, correct and magnificent, of forms assembled in the light.” — Le Corbusier

12 Nov 2023 — For some architecture, a year can seem like plenty of time. For other architecture, a year can seem like an impossible workload. Watching a clock in a queue, you can make 60 seconds stretch to infinity. Yet time always goes past at exactly the same speed. It’s a mental trick. Can you use the same mental trick for the impossible workload and give yourself plenty of time to do it?

13 Nov 2023 — If you don’t have Data Architecture as part of your architecture stack, it’s a great way to get massive cost overruns and potentially deliver nothing useful. Data Architecture is the first IT part of the BDAT stack for a reason.

14 Nov 2023 — You know your As-Is and To-Be for a project. You know your As-Is and To-Be for a programme of work. Now think about the fact there are many programmes going on inside your organisation. Is there a complete As-Is? Is there a complete To-Be?

15 Nov 2023 — While you strive to make your designs to produce projects that can be delivered on time, on budget and to specification, sometimes that’s not going to happen. Steel yourself to it. Be prepared to make fast changes or fix problems with the design.

16 Nov 2023 — At least a basic grasp of Economics is needed in order to understand Enterprise Architecture. 

17 Nov 2023 — Enterprise Architecture is much more like commercial building architecture than residential. Several or even many architects work together on any large commercial architecture design and that spirit of collaboration is the same.

18 Nov 2023 — “Think about what happens when architecture becomes ruins. All you have left are some little columns on a cliff, but it’s still such an overwhelming experience that you could say architecture is that which makes ruins beautiful.” — Santiago Calatrava

19 Nov 2023 — Beware of bureaucracy invading your architecture team. While it’s right to have checks and balances, human beings grow into what they do most often. If you make your people fill out forms for most of the week, they’ll stop being architects.

20 Nov 2023 — Digitisation: scan your physical assets to make digital copies
Digitalisation: convert parts of your operating model to computerise it
Digital Transformation: convert your business model and value propositions from mostly physical to mostly online

21 Nov 2023 — Why is it so important for an Enterprise Architect to understand Economics? Because it reveals the world where the architecture will be operated. Your designs will be better if you know about things like Revealed Preferences.

22 Nov 2023 — There are a lot of people who learn Enterprise Architecture buzzwords then try to swamp you with them. But the simple fact is a good Enterprise Architect avoids the buzzwords. EA is meant to be communicated.

23 Nov 2023 — You can view the business as a flow of information. Can. But that way to view things is only useful for IT people and is far from the only way to view the business.

24 Nov 2023 — Enterprise Architecture brings the idea of formal design to organisations. It can describe almost any kind of business or government body.

25 Nov 2023 — “The loftier the building, the deeper must the foundation be laid.” — Thomas a Kempis

26 Nov 2023 — Factory: Enterprise Architecture describes the structure of the enterprise.
What the factory makes and where it sells: Business Architecture describes the structure of the approach to doing business.
Who does what in the factory: Process Architecture describes what people routinely do within the enterprise.
The machines in the factory: IT Systems Architecture describes the structure of IT systems within the enterprise.

27 Nov 2023 — When you understand Environment Diagrams, you get to see that there is very little IT Architecture in an enterprise and there isn’t really any such thing as EITA. What you have is collections of IT systems that talk to each other. Each system has an architecture but there isn’t an overarching architecture. 

28 Nov 2023 — What TOGAF calls Business Architecture isn’t. At best it can be called TOGAF Business Architecture. More properly, it should be called Business Service Architecture.

29 Nov 2023 — If what TOGAF calls Business Architecture isn’t really Business Architecture, what if you’ve spent a huge amount of time learning and getting good at it? The answer is it’s fine. You’ve learned useful skills and gained useful experience. The only significant problem with it is they gave it the wrong name. Change the name to Service Architecture and you’re back in the right direction.

30 Nov 2023 — In architecture, it pays to be a rebel and a conformist at the same time. It pays even more if you know when it is appropriate to be each.

01 Dec 2023 — Imagine if building architects strictly followed an architecture framework. The world would be filled with Soviet-style apartment blocks all regimented and uniformly ugly. The same is true for EA frameworks. Architecture cannot be prescriptive if it is to be successful. 

02 Dec 2023 — “Architecture is a rare collective profession: it’s always exercised by groups. There is an essential modesty, which is a complete contradiction to the notion of a star.” — Rem Koolhaas

03 Dec 2023 — IT people are plenty smart enough to learn Enterprise Architecture but there are three main things that stop them. First, they’ve never seen a complete model of an enterprise. Without seeing one, it’s essentially impossible to conceive how it’s done or what an enterprise architecture looks like. Second, EA is not about IT and you cannot use an IT mindset. If you try to think of a firm as a flow of information, you’re guaranteed to fail. Third, the lingo has huge cross-over with MBA-speak and concepts. These require a completely different set of learning and it takes years. This all adds up to leaving IT behind. Do you even want to do it?

04 Dec 2023 — Should you learn an Enterprise Architecture framework? Probably not. TOGAF is the most popular but will teach you nothing of architecture.

05 Dec 2023 — If you wait for the needle to move, fate will decide your future. You have to push the needle.

06 Dec 2023 — Your architecture needs some flexibility. When you work with your stakeholders to design a new process, keep in mind many of them will get things less accurate than you would. They don’t see the world how you see the world. They don’t see the To-Be process how you see it.

07 Dec 2023 — Enterprise Architecture is mostly about the business. When IT people hear that, many of them think it’s some kind of coded pleasantry to say the IT must be aligned with the business. But no. EA and IT are not the same thing. EA is mostly about the business because 75% or more of the subject has literally zero to do with IT.

08 Dec 2023 — If your first love is IT, Enterprise Architecture is probably not the right place for you and IT should be your focus. If your first love is business, Enterprise Architecture is probably not the right place for you and business should be your focus. If you love both business and IT, maybe Enterprise Architecture is the perfect place for you?

09 Dec 2023 — “The whole point of a leader is that you don’t know what the right answer is but somebody has got to make the decision. You don’t know and you still have to make a decision. So do you ding the leader if they get it wrong? In the real world you do. But it’s not really leadership if you know what the right answer is. It’s the not knowing that makes it impressive.” — Scott Adams

10 Dec 2023 — In the 1960s, IT Systems Architecture became a thing when early networks meant multiple IT systems could be connected and share data then used to perform more complex tasks. A lot of people who claim to be Enterprise Architects are nothing of the sort and have simply reinvented or been taught a reinvented IT Systems Architecture. Most of the time, the reinvention is worse than the original. 

11 Dec 2023 — The most important thing for your understanding of Enterprise Architecture is for you to have a complete model of your organisation. Make one even if you have to do it in your own time.

12 Dec 2023 — There is no short path to becoming an architect. At least, not one that’s easy. There are perhaps 70 topics where you must become both above average and experienced. Even the shortest path is many years of work.

13 Dec 2023 — Shamanism is a big problem in business, EA and IT literature. In EA and IT literature many authors pretend to be EAs while really only writing about IT Systems Architecture. They type EA buzzwords to make it sound like magic spells but the only things those spells create is useless bureaucracy and Ivory towers where no project can pass unless it has its buzzwords in the local shaman’s chosen order.

14 Dec 2023 — Two thirds of the time as an architect is spent with stakeholders either negotiating with them before the design or communicating the design once it’s done. It means you need to avoid buzzwords or only use the ones your stakeholders use. Even the word “stakeholders” is questionable.

15 Dec 2023 — In the 1960s, early networks meant IT Systems Architecture was created to describe how multiple IT systems worked together. The vast majority of people who claim to be Enterprise Architects are nothing of the sort. They are IT Systems Architects who think EA is a synonym. It’s not. 

16 Dec 2023 — “People outside the profession of architecture perhaps often lack the understanding of how their physical environment comes into being. What are the processes, the concerns and considerations? What are the parameters that shape the world around them?” — Bjarke Ingels

17 Dec 2023 — If you’re an IT architect who wants to become an Enterprise Architect, the first place to start is to spend plenty of time with Business Analysts or better yet Business Process Management professionals. You need to understand their ways. Because the next step is to become a Process Architect (what TOGAF mistakenly calls a Business Architect) and you need to understand things from the business perspective to learn it. Not understand how to turn it into an IT problem — you can already do that — but to understand the difference between an IT problem and a business problem because they are not even remotely the same thing.

18 Dec 2023 — Why is a complete model of the architecture essential for diligent decision-making in the c-suite? Because it shows them what is there rather than what middle management says is there. No fluff, no wishful thinking, no answers telling you what you want to hear, no Chinese Whispers. Just the facts. In minutes not weeks.

19 Dec 2023 — The current business is designed to operate in its current markets. It will need changes to win in its future markets. Enterprise Architecture gives a visual language and precision for those changes.

20 Dec 2023 — The sheer amount of noise in Enterprise Architecture literature can make it hard to find the signal.

21 Dec 2023 — The development of an Enterprise Architecture is nothing like the development of IT Systems Architecture. The architecture of an enterprise can have zero IT.

22 Dec 2023 — There is “only” one thing you need to learn before you can understand TOGAF: you need to know how to architect an enterprise — something that takes many years to learn. 

23 Dec 2023 — “The difference between architecture and engineering comes in only with the creation of schools. It’s a bureaucratic distinction. The result of both disciplines is the construction of objects in a landscape.” — Santiago Calatrava

24 Dec 2023 — If you want to understand scalability and resilience in relation to an enterprise, take a look at Father Christmas. Millions of presents delivered simultaneously across a vast area using the distributed process he developed.

26 Dec 2023 — Nothing will teach you more about Enterprise Architecture than making a complete model of your enterprise. It needs to have every level and a decent amount of detail. When you have completed it, you can stop and look at the architecture. Without building a complete model, you will almost certainly never understand EA. It is the most fundamental part. It is the Enterprise Architecture.

27 Dec 2023 — You might be tempted to think the worst thing about TOGAF is its obvious design-by-committee nature but that’s only the second-worst thing. The worst thing is either no one on that committee understands the big picture of Enterprise Architecture or, if some do, they get shouted down by those on the committee who don’t.

28 Dec 2023 — If someone can explain your argument back to your satisfaction but you cannot explain their argument back to them, it’s almost certain they know more about the subject than you and your argument is wrong. Not guaranteed but almost certain.

29 Dec 2023 — Argumentum ad verecundiam is one of the worst logical fallacies. Nothing is true just because someone important said it. Experts get things wrong and make mistakes just like every other human. They might do it less often but that’s just another way to say they still make mistakes.

30 Dec 2023 — “I’ve always thought that design can have equal importance to the idea of internal architecture. Professionally, things can be very dogmatic – you do the architecture, someone else does the interiors, someone else does the furniture, the fabric, etc. But I think design is all-encompassing.” — Zaha Hadid

31 Dec 2023 — Another whole year of “thoughts”… gathered or scattered?