Thursday, January 17, 2008


Enterprise Architecture: Why Do People Make So Many Mistakes?

Have you listened to IT executives speak mindless dribble regarding the adoption of popular industry strategies and have walked away not having neither a clue as to what they actually said nor even any understanding of the problem space they are attempting to solve...

Do you think us enterprise architect types always understand the whims and desires of IT executives? Please have sympathy on us as we are caught in the middle of two polar opposites. If you consider for a moment that phrases such as military intelligence is an oxymoron, then what would you also understand that at times, the phrase enterprise architecture also shares much of the same characteristics.

Consider that folks make horrific, CMMI certified repeatable mistakes for at least one of the following reasons:

  • Incomplete knowledge:We often make decisions on subjects where we don't know all the relevant facts

  • Poor communication:People don't always share all necessary knowledge with decision makers

  • Changing conditions:A decision based upon today's information may turn out to be wrong tomorrow

  • Pressure:People often make mistakes when they have to make decisions too quickly or when under stress.

  • Complexity:Systems can become so complicated that the developers cannot keep all the details straight. There are limits to the ability of people's minds to process information.

  • Lack of strong technical leadership: Consider the fact that most technology executives nowadays don't actually know anything about technology, it causes us to take important issues where the details matter and to distill them into chock-a-block eye candy Powerpoint where at some level, all abstractions lie.

  • Since the enterprise is filled with silly little creatures attempting to survive, maybe the most CMMI certified repeatable process is to not learn from the mistakes of others. After all, if we did, would we still be outsourcing to India only to have to bring work back in-house?

    Imagine walking into a hospital to have heart surgery only to have self-taught surgeons operate on you? Should enterprises allow for self-thought methodologists to spread process throughout the enterprise?

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