Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Enterprise Architecture: Why is it so difficult to sell lightweight approaches...

I would love to blame Robert McIlree and others who are process weenies but the problem is much deeper...

We must first acknowledge that we are all silly little creatures whose behavior neatly plots against a bell curve known as the technology adoption lifecycle which represents the opportunity to sell products into a given market. Moving from left to right, one sixth of the curve is the early market, one third is the early majority, one third is the late majority, and one sixth is the laggards.

The early majority tend to be either visionaries or pragmatists who are competent consumers of technology. They will only buy proven approaches of which lighterweight methodologies such as Extreme Programming have certainly satisfied. The enterprisey types tend to accurately label themselves as consertative and are usually late to the game. Being late to the game tends to mean that you expect very mature approaches at commodity prices hence the love of CMMi and outsourcing.

We must acknowledge that IT nowadays lacks more than a handful of visionaries who are on a mission to change the enterprise for competitive advantage. Most enterprise architects can focus on commotization but few can focus on innovation. Visionaries will see ways to apply your new technology that you probably never imagined. This means that they will require you to extend and enhance your product to meet their needs.

The sad fact is that many enterprise architects fail at selling lightweight approaches because of their inability to communicate and become part of the problem, are simply complacent, have zero clue that things could be better or simply don't care. What is especially sad is that many enterprise architects fear change, even more fear risk and most importantly, the vast majority fear blame.

If enterprise architects don't have courage then the enterprise will be cursed with outsourcing, CMMi and other popular but otherwise approaches of questionable value. Minimally though I need to publicly acknowledge that Robert's blog provides valuable information for laggards who are conservative and should be circulated to those enterprise participants who aren't capable of anything else...

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