How brand-thinking can kill you, and capability thinking can save you

I guess it shouldn’t surprise me that business strategy work is often about constrained thinking.  Thinking “inside the box” is nearly always rewarded well.  After all, the person giving the rewards lives in the same box.  One of the most pernicious kinds of constrained thinking is “brand thinking.”  That is the notion that the value…

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Moving Towards a Theory of Enterprise Architecture

I’ve been asked a number of times over the years if I can explain the theory of Enterprise Architecture.  I decided recently to reopen that idea.  It’s not a new discussion.  I refer to Tom Graves post on the Theory of EA from 2012 where he posits that the theory of EA, if one were…

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EA Debt

(Note: I’ve added an addendum to this post) It has been many years that we have lived with the concept of technical debt.  Martin Fowler did a good job of describing the concept in a 2003 article on his wiki.  Basically, the idea is that you can make a quick-and-dirty change to software.  You will…

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Climbing the ladder from EITA to EA

One of the most common problems in Enterprise Architecture, and one I get asked about routinely, is the “ladder” problem.  Many Enterprise Architecture teams are formed by assembling a group of talented technologists into a team and giving them a charter to “go do EA.”  The problem is that most of these teams have no…

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Diversity Versus Replication of Organizational Processes and Information

I recently had the pleasure of joining a discussion among organizational development professionals.  During that discussion, one individual asked an interesting question: in a distributed organization with multiple operating units, spread geographically around the world, should the organizational structure of each unit be similar? The illustration that the questioner used: organization structure (org charts).  Should…

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The Purpose of an Enterprise Architecture Framework

Can Social Media create new ideas?  Here’s an example where the answer is “yes.”  I recently blogged about EA models, and what makes them interesting.  I was thinking about providing insight to people who were in the mood to send me updates to the EBMM… a rather tactical post to deal with a rather pedantic…

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Ten Ways to Kill An Enterprise Architecture Practice

Have you seen practices that you know could kill an Enterprise Architecture practice?  I have.  A recent LinkedIn thread asked for examples, and I came up with my top ten.  I’d love to hear your additions to the list. How to screw up an EA practice Get a senior leader to ask for EA without…

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We do what you say we will do – Integrity By Architecture

One of the chief complaints of senior executives in midsize and large companies is that their organizations don’t “execute” on the goals that they set.  This concern is so common, it’s the butt of jokes.  Entire systems of governance and measurement are created specifically to provide assurance to senior execs so that they can maintain…

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The “Right” Representation of the EA Value Cycle

In the world of Enterprise Architecture, we are still creating “shared” understanding of how to tell our stakeholders what we do.  There is no consistency in our diagrams or our descriptions just yet.  This post will discuss the different ways we present the value stream of Enterprise Architecture and will attempt to select a particular…

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Humility and the Art of Enterprise Architecture

As a lot, Enterprise Architects are not terribly humble people.  We name frameworks after ourselves, and sometimes go to great lengths to correct the “misinterpretations” of others who describe our work in a way that we don’t agree with.  Yet, recognizing that the field is young requires that we should be willing to change as…

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