Sunday, January 28, 2007


A Developers Perspective on Enterprise Architecture...

Both Robert McIlree and I commented on an earlier posting regarding outsider perspectives on EA. While Robert answered from the perspective that Shaman needed to get with the problem, I figured a better answer was in order...

The bully mentality is at the root cause of the problems with enterprise architecture as we have an equal duty to not only work on concerns of IT executives such as outsourcing, business alignment, improving the portfolio, but to also focus on those whom from an organization chart perspective are junior to us.

In many enterprises, the EA team doesn't collaborate with development, they control them which results in paralysis. Sometimes developers are sincere in their intent to deliver business value yet they can't ask the EA team for advice but instead are of the mindset of asking for permission. If an enterprise architect says no, development doesn't proceed.

Of course, IT executives can trump enterprise architects but this is more about abstract authority and less about what is the right thing. Sometimes developers trump enterprise architects and come up with brilliant strategies but we think that no one can provide strategies except for those higher up the food chain. This puts developers in an interesting position whereby they can implement the strategy themselves without declaring their intent, they can attempt to get an enterprise architect and/or IT executive to consider the strategy whom will ultimately put their name on it and not provide attribution as to where it originated or three simply not bother and let the enterprise suffer from less optimal ideas.

Better software developers have a fourth choice and that is to take their ideas where they are appreciated and run away from enterprise environments towards either consulting and/or software companies. If you look at the blog of Robert McIlree, Todd Biske and others who blog on enterprise architecture, 99.9% of all of the information they share is from the perspective of the enterprise architect working up the ladder. Every once in awhile, they may share wisdom that is about enterprise architects working with other enterprise architects in other shops but it is rare for them to talk about the need for enterprise architects to work downward as well. For the record, I am equally guilty of this practice and hope that others will serve to keep me honest by achieving balanced discussions in the blogosphere.

Anyway, I wonder if Robert McIlree hasn't seen or is avoiding the sole question asked here...

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