Wednesday, February 08, 2006


Is Common Sense an illusion within Enterprise Architecture?

Wikipedia has the following definition for common sense:
common sense describes beliefs or propositions that seem, to most people, to be prudent and of sound judgment, without dependence upon esoteric knowledge...
The main problem is that while enterprise architecture relies on Common Sense, there are extremely few beliefs, principles or even value propositions that most folk can agree upon. Does enterprise architecture provide more value in help solving the enterprise equivalent of which end of the egg to open first?

Several years ago the entire Blue Angels airshow team, seven airplanes, all smashed straight into the ground at the same time. The inquiry revealed no contact between them or mechanical fault. Apparently what happened was that, because it's very hard to watch the horizon as well as the other planes when performing stunts, the group worked by having just the lead pilot watch the horizon - all the rest simply maintained their orientation with respect to him. So when he lost the horizon they all augered in after him.

I ran across an interesting post related to knowledge and language, where they mention the Law of Debate:
Define word.
What do you mean, "define"?


Knowledge crisis in corporate America occurs often due to the argument itself as it must exist as ideas, not words. To argue over the definition of a word is contrary to the spirit of arguing. To attach any relevance to the word used for a given idea is to destroy the argument. Folks play word games to further their own personal agenda. When this situation occurs, the best the arguer can do is to ask for a definition of the word, and then accept the given definition. Otherwise, you will find yourself forever speaking meaningless words, and there is no real argument. Unfortunately it is exceedingly difficult for humans to completely agree on the definition of any complex word. For philosophy to exist, there must be a way to decide what argument is valid, and what is not.

Maybe folk in corporate America shouldn't assume common sense. Maybe they shouldn't put down words as definitions of an internal interpretation but refer only to external sources within their own documentation. Maybe the very first thing that enterprise architects should consider is not defining definitions but instead coming up with a bearingpoint. Maybe common sense will appear and the knowledge crisis will go away if enterprises focused on people, then processes, then tools in that order...

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