Friday, July 15, 2005


Enterprise Architecture and the Land of Carnival

Just got off the phone with a friend from Trinidad who is learning information technology and is a savage reader of my blog. He asked me several very thoughtful questions which I have listed below. Today, I have to eat humble pie...

In order to not wear out my fingers from too much typing, I have taken the liberty to paraphrase the conversation.

Friend: Do you think that lightweight processes are gaining acceptance in America?

James: Emphatically yes. Several years ago, I used to only run across companies whose business was in some form technology using approaches such as SCRUM, Extreme Programming and Crystal but never would meet anyone in corporate America that was practicing agile methods. Many haven't even heard about it. Nowadays, I can find handfulls here and there. It is definetely growing.

Friend: Before joining your current employer, you worked for several Internet startups. In hindsight I bet you thought that many of the ideas you had at the time were dumb. Anyway, You must have mastered the elevator pitch?

James: I worked on, Wingspan Bank and Carbonek. Lowestloan was funded by Billionaire Carl Icahn so the elevator pitch was needed here. Likewise, Wingspan Bank was funded by Bank One so the same goes. The only VC entity was Carbonek. I remember engaging in a conversation with several CEOs of small banks in the Boston area regarding funding and believed that I did a pretty good job of mastering the elevator pitch.

Friend: Nowadays, you seem to talk a lot about enterprise architecture. Having read your book, I know you intuitively understand the problems facing large enterprises and are sincere in the desire to not only make the enterprise more nimble so that speed to market, total cost of ownership, system qualities and sense of community are all improved but also have taken a keen interest in sharing what you know with others.

James: Maybe we could brainstorm how we can get several large corporations to consider outsourcing to Trinidad as a preferred location over India. The ability to jump on a flight and rescue a bad project in hours is priceless. Trinidad has the same culture and a first hand understanding of what good customer service actually looks like. It is not about training but having a personal context. Trinidadian's get to watch our TV shows and buy many of our goods. If money flows to Trinidad in one form, it will flow back to the United States in another form, making both economies stronger. The same story doesn't really hold true with India. I wonder if I could get several industry analysts to consider researching Trinidad as an alternative location for outsourcing.

Friend: So James, as I understand agility, one describes requirements in context of user stories. This feels similar to the notion of an elevator pitch. What would you say is your thirty second elevator pitch as to what your business customers desire in terms of the current form of enterprise architecture you promote?

James: Doh! Actually, I never connected this thought. Next time I will go and read my own blogs on humility...

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