Thursday, March 01, 2007


Why Enterprise Architects need to noodle metrics...

Metrics are defined processes for measuring things. When creating a metric, be aware that people tend to modify their behavior so that measurements improve, even when there is no direct reward...

You will find many folks are not believers in the collection of metrics as they believe the overhead of collection outweighs the benefits they may bring. I am of the belief that metrics help in the following situations:

You may have noted that many enterprise architects within the blogosphere tend to blog on nomenclature of enterprise architecture with a strong focus on process while rarely ever talking about solutions in terms of changing behavior. Enterprise architecture needs to move well beyond talking about frameworks such as TOGAF, Zachman and others towards figuring out ways to measure the value of itself.

Gene Laganza at Forrester will be doing an upcoming briefing on collection of metrics that I encourage others to pay attention to. Wouldn't it be interesting if the smaller analyst firms such as Redmonk, The 451 Group, ZapThink and others provided guidance to large enterprises on metrics we should be collecting to uncover opportunities to embrace open source, SOA and other beneficial things.

In any undertaking, we usually only get to hear about successes and resulting best practices while ignoring any unintended consequences. Hopefully bloggers such as Robert McIlree, Scott Mark, Todd Biske and others would be willing to share not only successes within their own enterprise when it comes to metrics but also any unintended consequences in terms of collecting them.

In terms of ways to avoid unintended consequences, I recommend folks consider the following:

Coming up with a good metric is difficult. Here's a few things folks should noodle when considering creating a metric:

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