Thursday, March 26, 2009


Enterprise Gardening

On several occasions, I have challenged the metaphor of enterprise architecture and its analogy to the building trades citing practices such as the need of a building architect to get buy-in from hundreds of folks and how it is more analogous to gardening. So, in keeping with this theme I figured I would analyze worst practices of enterprises and how they align with the gardening metaphor...

While many software people and philosophers may dislike the use of metaphor, please understand it's a useful tool for others. It's about establishing a starting point for communication. It's building on a common language.

Digging up plants by the roots and moving them around tends to damage or kill them. "I want that 50 foot tall pine tree moved just two foot further to the left" isn't a very practical request in gardening. Doesn't this kinda remind you of the frequency of corporate reorganizations?

I have met some managers who seem to think that software development is like planting, you can tend as many plant as you want and they will all grow simultaneously, the growth rate of each plant is independent of how many other plants are there. IT executives and their process weenie support staff simply add to the programmer's task list and it will automagically get completed on-time, even though the programmer already has other "full-time" tasks going on and is also swamped with unscheduled "urgent" tasks every day.

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