Monday, April 06, 2009


Enterprise Architecture and Internal Rot

Perception management rules the modern enterprise. In looking back, companies that had mastery of perception management look quite good but rot away internally. Enron and AIG come to mind...

For a successful corporation, managers need to "manage" the physical, sociological, spiritual, and perceptual. However, many managers spend nearly all of their time managing only the perceptual. So, is IT aligning with the business really about perception or is it about helping them with their strategic intent which sometimes requires swallowing things most want to avoid?

Managers typically focus on the following, in decreasing order of importance:

Innovators and engineers typically focus on the following in decreasing order of importance:

In both cases, being a good "X" means focusing more on the next level down in the sequence. In order to appear good to others, managers need engineers to make things. In order to make things, engineers need managers to get the finance. All this would be fine if both "sides" understood these differences and mutual interdependence. Unfortunately, things have got screwed at the moment and managers have more power than they know how to control. If they don't like what their engineer is telling them, they think they can just go an get another. And how do they go about choosing one? By assessing "people skills", which is what managers know best. People skills are nothing more than knowing how to appear good to others. While we have got into a spiral spending time and effort in acquiring people skills, we obviously focus less on learning science and making things well.

So, how can the business learn about IT and their mental disorders? It would seem to many that enterprise architecture should be able to prevent or at least avoid the death spiral. Maybe there is no satisfaction from the business because everyone has fallen into the trap and there is no way to escape?

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