2 years, 3 months ago

The bucket-list – changing direction

Link: http://weblog.tetradian.com/2017/06/24/the-bucket-list-changing-direction/

I’ve given up on enterprise-architecture.


Several reasons, really.

The main one is that, even now, enterprise-architecture still isn’t enterprise architecture – and there are still massive vested-interests against its ever being so. Its literal meaning should be ‘the architecture of the enterprise‘; but Open Group et al. have ‘won’, in that the term is now used almost exclusively to mean ‘the architecture of a small subset of IT, in relation to some specific aspects of business’. Which means that the only term that accurately describes what people like me actually do is not available – it’s been hijacked to mean a tiny, tiny subset of the actual scope that’s required for any real-world architecture-of-the-enterprise. And it seems there’s nothing we can do to correct that scope-error – no matter how ludicrous it actually is. After a full decade of futile effort, I’ve given up trying to change it, or to get people to understand why it’s so important that it should change. Oh well.

The other key concern is that, courtesy of that term-hijack, it’s all but impossible for people to understand what it is that I actually do: they expect me to be interested only in IT, whereas in my work the IT, whilst relevant, is only one small subset of the scope that needs to be addressed. The result, amongst other things, is that I’ve struggled, day by day, for a full decade now, to keep going on all of this work on almost zero income. Yet there are now quite a lot of people, scattered across the entire globe, who’ve been using my work for the IT aspects of EA, and who’ve been making serious money from doing so – yet little to none of that ever comes back to me, to keep me going on the next stage of the work. And yeah, that fact does gall…

So yeah, time for me to change direction.




All of that stuff.

You’ll see more of this over the next few weeks, but a quick overview is as follows:

I’ll no longer call myself an ‘enterprise-architect’, because that just confuses people who think it’s only about IT. Instead, I’d describe myself as a change-architect (thank you Oliver Baier!) or, to be more specific, a maker of tools for change.

Tools such as Five Element, for example:


Or Enterprise Canvas:

As per the bucket-list, all of those tools will still work in enterprise-architecture (of whatever flavour). But they’ll also work for, and be useful at, a much, much broader scope – in effect, they’ll work with any type of change, at any scope and scale. Which, yes, is a much larger market than ‘enterprise’-architecture. (I hope so, anyway…)

For now, I’ll aim to avoid adding any more tools to that list – it’s more than large enough already. Instead, the focus will be on showing how to use those tools in real-world contexts, for real-world questions. (For one new example, see the slidedeck for my ICS/IASA-Ireland workshop, a step-by-step process on ‘Tracking value in the enterprise‘.)

I’ll also continue on my existing path, keeping the focus on finding the right questions, rather than ‘the right answers’. The reason for this is that (as per another recent slidedeck) questions tend to stay the same, whereas ‘the right answer’ to each of those questions will tend to change over time and with each context.

To be honest, over time, I do want to move away from enterprise-architecture completely. My heart just isn’t in it any more, and there are other things that I want and need to do with what still remains of my life. But I will keep my promises here; one way or another, you will get these tools in more usable form than they are at present.

Watch This Space, perhaps?