Erroneously, I always believed that Art did not belong in Enterprise Architecture – that what was required were clear, unambiguous, clear and concise designs – that was until I came across the Dragon1 way of approaching Enterprise Architecture www.dragon1.org/en
It struck me that actually this was quite a powerful method as it enabled one to convey a concept, its components, inter-dependencies and opportunity for exploitation to a client, using terms and metaphors that are meaningful. The traditional Systems Engineering approach still holds, when it comes to designing the functional behaviour and structures of business-systems solutions and that is an approach that has been well documented, tried and tested. My only problem was the sheer disappointment and the anti-climax, having invested time, blood, sweat and tears into designs only to be met with disdain or disinterest on the part of business decision makers. It just was not answering their critical success factors and concerns.
Dragon1 states that you don’t even start an engagement until you have a clearly defined set of customer needs (termed “requirements”) and a vision or set of objectives. Once these have been defined, you have a viable assignment.
From this point on you can develop concepts, from analysis of the desired or current concepts to derive the operating principles which explain how a concept works. These principles and quality criteria (what does good look like) are evaluated in light of the new company objectives, its operational and strategic environment and the capabilities required to meet its new desired state.
Most importantly, and critically, it is a method for helping to understand the power structures and politics operating in an enterprise. It is amazing how despite all the engineering in the world, if there is an inbalance in political will and sense of importance, that even a critical system can fail to deliver.
On one engagement, for a pharmaceutical company, we were able to actually map out a political model of the organisation to work out the lines of communication of power and influence, the key actors and their agendas. One wonders how much is success down to systems engineering and how much down to pure psychology and human factors….
to be continued.