Sunday, May 17, 2009


Enterprise Architecture: Traditional Worst Practices

In has been said that C++ is like an optopus made by nailing extra legs onto a dog, then what is an appropriate analogy for how large enterprises nail extra processes onto agile methods...

The savage practice of hybridization where one can never choose one side of the fence or the other within large enterprises is partly due to the appeal of tradition where it is assumed that something is better or correct simply because it is older, traditional, or "always has been done."

This sort of "reasoning" is fallacious because the age of something does not automatically make it correct or better than something newer. This is made quite obvious by the following example: The theory that witches and demons cause disease is far older than the theory that microrganisms cause diseases. Therefore, the theory about witches and demons must be true.

This sort of "reasoning" is appealing for a variety of reasons. First, people often prefer to stick with what is older or traditional. This is a fairly common psychological characteristic of people which may stem from the fact that people feel more comfortable about what has been around longer. Second, sticking with things that are older or traditional is often easier than testing new things. Hence, people often prefer older and traditional things out of laziness. Hence, appeal to tradition is a somewhat common fallacy.

I wonder what it would take for others to acknowledge that anything that sounds like an attempt to sit on both sides of the table are inherently flawed. While I have always stated the believe that incrementalism is a mental disorder, have others acknowledged that adoption of agile methods may suffer from the same fate? So, if an enterprise is being incremental in their rollout, isn't this kinda like expressing the intent to make chocolate chip cookies but later deciding to leave out the chocolate chips? One could argue whether you have cookies at all...

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