Tuesday, July 11, 2006


Emergent Planning and Enterprise Architecture

Enterprise architects are some of the most monolithic thinking people within IT. Our delusional thoughts on governance and how we think it is a financial control when it should be about changing behavior helps us make a big mess within our enterprises. Today's blog entry is to focus in on how enterprise architects can start fixing themselves by adopting web 2.0 thinking...

Hopefully, enterprise architects have read the Agile Manifesto? If not, do so before continuing. Agile Software projects work under the assumption and expectation that "emergent" behavior is the only way to confront uncertainty. Agile Software projects openly accept that it is impossible to: outline what tasks are going to be needed to complete a software project up-front, and get all the requirements up-front, and/or design an architecture up-front. Rather, the plan, the requirements and the architecture of the project, gradually emerge, by constant feedback cycles, research and creativity, and constant interaction among the participants of the project and the customer.

This means that governance how practiced traditionally simply will not work in the new model. Instead of attempting to introduce the notion of gates, one needs to morph the enterprise towards the notion of stewardship. As I have stated on numerous occasions, governance really should be about changing behavior and should not be about financial controls. Emergent planning and enterprise architecture should introduce new values that generate a cooperative culture.

Imagine for a moment if the enterprise architecture team considered moving away from the notion of introducing even more structure into the process and instead thought about figuring out better ways for folks to self-organize, what would happen? When operating in a self-organized mode, the values of the IT organization change because the team members are now collectively responsible and in control of the team's accomplishments. Therefore, the values of helping others, sharing knowledge, honesty, emerge as the team changes its mode of operation.

As Enterprise Architecture practitioners, we really need to move away from governance as currently practiced which in its implementation is a sinister form of command and control. The Master-Slave relationships of defined-process relegates developers, business analysts and quality assurance to be responsible primarily of their own tasks, generating less cooperative values like perfectionism, being accountable and dependable.

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