Enterprise Architecture is a source of chaos, obstacles, and high-level fights. Any organization that has an EA team is saddled with inefficiency and cannot possibly make an agile decision. They are smart people, who can be used on other ways much more productively.
I'm guessing that this is the argument that some folks are now saying about EA in Microsoft IT. Why now? Because things have changed. You see, as a result of the leadership of our C-level executives, EA in Microsoft IT has teeth. This is a first. We actually have the ability to influence something. Not all of us have figured that out, unfortunately, but for me, I'm going gangbusters.
And the effects are startling. A very large project that has been spinning money out of control for months had defined some scope that overlapped with the applications I'm on. So I used consulting techniques (Thank you Sierra Systems Group) to get people to do what needed to be done. I saved $6M this month. I'm feeling pretty good. If EA could do that as an annual average per app architect, we would save the company $120M per year. Personally, I think that is conservative. I think we could save up to $200M per year if we really got going.
So, why would some folks be saying bad things? Because our process involves oversight. We come in to a project at key points to review. Good architects do more than 'seagull' the project (Fly in, make a lot of noise, crap all over everything, and fly off) but I'm sure that, in some cases, we are percieved that way. Not every team is aware of the need to cooperate with EA, so their only experience would be limited to the oversight role.
Better teams would work with their architects as the project goes along, touching base on key decisions and generally inviting him or her to major project status meetings. That way, if a decision was made that is not good, the architect knows before 'review-time' and a minimum of resentment is generated.
On the architect side, we need to be "bringers of solutions," and not "bringers of obstacles." So if I say "no" to one thing, I have to say "yes" to something else.
It's common sense. I know, but it was hit home for me again this week as I had to pour ill-will over a very visible project for a decision that they made over a month ago... We are all kicking ourselves for not seeing it earlier. That said, I have a really good team of passionate people who want to succeed. We will write up a solution over this weekend, and clean it up on Monday, and present it on Wednesday.
I need to be the bringer of solutions.
If I don't, I'll deserve that criticism.