Sunday, February 18, 2007


How come Enterprise Architects don't embrace agilism?

I haven't yet ran across a single enterprise architect that will openly discuss agile methods yet they are all fans in stealth mode. What is preventing us from talking about it within our own enterprises?

Newton's law of inertia states that the larger the mass of a body (n this case, the size and complexity of our employers) the more effort required to move it. Can we conclude that large, bloated corporations filled with procedures and red tape are less nimble, have a harder time reacting to changes in the industry and customer demands? Are these the same enterprises that will abuse the word innovation in order to convince themselves that they really are agile but in all reality there is little evidence of it?

We understand that monolithic thinking is back testable as a repeatable failure yet we stick to it liked being hooked on crack. We pontificate phrases at every opportunity such as plan the work and work the plan while creating methodologies that often look good on paper but once the real world creeps in, it tends to fall apart.

Instead of magazines crying out loud that enterprises have poor communication (which is true) and therefore we need to communicate more and better (which may only be partially true) why can't someone have the courage to stand up and say that maybe we need to communicate less? In looking back when I first got started in IT, in order to get something approved, I only had to communicate to one or two people. Do you think the same headcount applies today?

Why not optimize the organization so as to reduce the amount of folks one needs to interact with in order to get the job done? disproportionately large percentage of the most revolutionary, innovative software created in our generation has been by teams of just a handful of people, sometimes as few as two: Linux, YouTube, Napster, Skype, Bittorrent, Ruby on Rails, Doom, each of of these products were developed by a tiny team of flexible, creative individuals and each one has radically altered the worlds perception of what a software product can do. What prevents us enterprise architects from thinking the same way?

I would love to understand why others aren't talking about agilism as part of their day jobs. Maybe James Tarbell, Scott Mark, Charles Betz, John Gotze, Nick Malik, Robert McIlree, JP Rangaswami and Todd Biske could share their experiences in terms of how frequently they talk about agile methods at work, whether they talk about it to IT executives or only those lower on the foodchain and whether in their travels they believe that executives with a strong technical background is a predictor towards agility...

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