Thursday, February 02, 2006


Thoughts on Agile Enterprise Architecture

Awhile back, a peer gave me a copy of a book entitled: Now, Discover Your Strengths that I periodically reflect on. The main theme of this book is that a great organization must not only accomodate the fact that each employee is different, but more importantly it must capitalize on these differences...

It goes on to state that it must watch for clues to each employee's natural talents and then position and develop each employee so that his or her talents are transformed into bonafide strengths. By changing the way it selects, measures, develops and channels the careers of its people, it can truly become world-class. The principles taught in this book align very nicely with agile enterprise architecture but not enterprise architecture as traditionally discussed.

Traditional enterprise architecture focuses in on the process and controls while agile enterprise architecture focuses on the people and governance (measuring behavior). Like this book, agile enterprise architecture states that most organization's basic assumptions about people are wrong. If the enterprise is operating off flawed assumptions, then enterprise architecture can never realize its true value. The two flaws in thinking are:

The authors go on to show how an enterprise can test these assumptions:

To break out of this weakness spiral, you must change your assumptions about people. Start with the right assumptions and everything else that follows from them will be right. These are the two assumptions that guide the world's best managers:

When I apply this particular book to myself and think about I am at the top of my game when it comes to understanding the open source movement, enterprise architecture and agile software development approaches these are the areas in which I can get even stronger. Likewise, you have probably figured out that I am not the sensitive type and that it would be pretty much a waste of time for me to think that I can improve. The best I could ever hope for is in being mediocre in the sensitivity camp.

I have been noodling what my next book project will be (if my significant other gives me permission) and was thinking about creating a roadmap on how folks who practice enterprise architecture can start thinking about aligning their IT shops along the lines of utilizing strengths.

The one thing that I still have some homework to do is how to incorporate this notion into an Elevator Pitch. I have ordered a couple of copies for some peers at work whom I know will enjoy reading it. I encourage other enterprise architects who desire to bring agility to the workplace to also consider reading this wonderful tome of wisdom...

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