Thursday, April 09, 2009


Are you married to Enterprise Architecture?

If you really love someone, then you'll stick around and take advantage of the ways they're wonderful, and you'll try to ignore, improve, or mitigate the ways they're awful. But if your husband starts slapping you around, it's time to leave. Too many folks let themselves be slapped around...

You have a certain realtionship with your employer. You also have a relationship with your lover, your children, and your future. When the interests of these parties conflict, this may manifest itself as dissent within one or several of your relationships. Sometimes we are all consumers of a slow poison that is toxic to everything we do.

So, if enterprise architecture is about people, processes then tools, in that order then how do we determine when we should marry things together and when things should be separated. So, if we were to focus on the people aspects then it would probably mean that we need to focus on poor people management which spreads without conscious effort and can slowly poison others.

Poor managers are poor managers for a reason: fear, distrust, ignorance, etc. Over time, they will actually make decisions that increase these qualities in other people they deal with. This is apparent in most interactions with coworkers, but is exceptionally apparent in personnel decisions, with poor managers hiring, promoting, and otherwise rewarding subordinates with dysfunctions that complement their own. The classic example is trusting only a "yes-man", who will agree with every decision you make regardless of the quality of the decision itself.

In addition to rewarding and spreading mismanagement, this will also drive out motivated, conscientious intelligent workers, who will at some point realize it makes more sense to focus on organizational change management over committing to other business-oriented strategies. Through this phenomena, an organization can actually get less competent over time, even with other inputs (size, revenue, business climate, etc.) remaining constant.

Mismanagement can destroy an entire organization, but it can happen so slowly that the managers might not notice it or are likely to misunderstand why the organization is failing. So the feedback loop is not very tight, and they can either avert their gaze from the growing problem or they can find scape goats.

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