Tuesday, March 06, 2007
Certifying Enterprise Architects
- Certification and licensing of enterprise architects by occupational boards mandated by statute - similar to what is in place today for architects, lawyers, physicians, nurses, professional engineers, etc. I still believe that the concept has numerous hurdles and difficulties, yet in the end, it may be the only way to achieve codification and clarity to the discipline of enterprise architecture that is sorely lacking at this moment.
Here are my own thoughts:
- I think we need to have an honest conversation regarding our profession as comparing ourselves to other disciplines lacks some integrity. For example, if you were to look at how much time a lawyer spends within a day's time practicing law, you will see that it is 95% of their time. Ask yourself what percentage of time do physicians spend practicing medicine or a building architect either learning how to be better and/or actually designing a building? I bet if you were to look at the amount of time enterprise architects spend doing actual architecture work, it wouldn't even be a majority of their day. More time is spent on the human aspects whether it be politics or teaching others new principles. This either makes us more politicians or teachers than anything that resembles architects.
- We really need to move the analogy away from the building trades. While city planning is accurate at some level, the analogy of gardening is more appropriate. Architects do figure out which seeds to invent in, we do pull weeds, we do steward things while they grow. Some may even be of the belief that we also spread our fair share of fertilizer.
- The conversation always gravitates towards liabilities for the individual if we do wrong. For some reason, we should talk about why we fear liability. Is it because of our own abilities or lack of? Is it because the physician is more in control of whatever event he/she is faced with while we are intentionally abstracted away from any form of control and have to rely solely on influence? What do we really fear?
- Can we acknowledge at some level that influence-orientation and liability are diametrically opposed and simply can't work together? Now for the hard question, which is more important to maintain?
- What would the non enterprise-architect camp think about certification? Do they fear that if we are first then maybe certifying project managers would be up next? Do our bosses fear that they too may have to become certified and/or that they may lose control over us?
- So, who exactly should determine what makes a good enterprise architect? We have lots of great definitions but no way to measure.
- Would we be willing to acknowledge that one impediment to making any form of certification work is that folks that are full-time employees of Fortune enterprises whose primary business model isn't technology simply aren't participating and that folks attempting to create certification haven't even attempted to gain buy-in?
- Should certification have some notion of grandfathering? Should we be able to prove our competencies in other forms besides testing?
- Has anyone figured out what is the maximum amount that folks would be willing to pay for certification? I have observed that lots of folks pursued Novell certification because it was cheap to do so. Price is a predictor to the amount of folks that would be willing to pursue. I know that if my employer didn't pick up expenses, I may do it myself for say $200 but if it requires an ongoing commitment of say $2000 then that decision rests solely in the hands of my significant other and we all know what the answer is.
- What are some of the fringe benefits of becoming certified? It has to be more than receiving a magazine and the opportunity to attend a conference at a discounted rate. If I went to all this effort, would the certifying body help me with individual branding?
- What is the right entity to create this level of certification? Any thoughts on whether ISO could work? Consider when an organization gets ISO-certified, how come we can't make this an auditing function vs. testing function?
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