Thursday, September 13, 2007


Enterprise Architecture: Memo to Software Developers...

Enterprise Architects have lots of organizational visibility and therefore see lots of projects in trouble. Sometimes they are in trouble because of technical problems, but more often the problem is management...

Software developers, we feel your pain. We have watched some of our best and brightest lose their jobs to lesser individuals in far away lands such as India. We had the opportunity to stand for something, to save your job, to find alternatives to reduce costs, to be patriotic but instead we chose to exercise our right to remain silent while your job got outsourced and we savagely stayed focused on the development of our next chock-a-block eye candy Powerpoint.

I must admit, enterprise architects have lots of power and even more influence much of it we inappropriately use and even more of it we waste. Yet, there is limits to even our ability. We architects love to fix things but not for the reasons you think. No, its not because we believe in stealing all the glory but because we periodically need to have the feeling of satisfaction by delivering something periodically of value.

Enterprise architects love to fix things. However, when the problem is bad management and the management can't yet see the need for change, we generally can't fix that. When this happens, many of us hurt. Those amongst us that don't hurt are enterprise architects in title only, as focusing on the human aspects is core to our discipline, our persona and our soul.

Developers who produce shoddy work on slippy deadlines start thinking that it's their fault. Many of us have been there and nothing torques us more than to see someone doubt themself, when the fault lies elsewhere. We wish that we could sometimes tell folks that they shouldn't step in the leadership but we to must maintain our guard.

The only advice any enterprise architect can give is the following, but don't treat it as sage wisdom but more of a conversation (somewhat of a memento):

You can always act right, even if you are being told to act wrong. You can always test your code, refactor, and work closely with other engineers. You might get yelled at for it, but fcuk, you're going to get ripped a new one at anyway. The worst they could do is fire you, but you can always insist that they explain their reasoning up the management chain. If everyone quit, they'd fire the manager instead...

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