1 month, 28 days ago

SASSY Architecture

SASSY Architecture is a practice of combining two seemingly incompatible paradigms. The first one is based on non-contradiction and supports the vision for an ACE enterprise (Agile, Coherent, Efficient), through 3E enterprise descriptions (Expressive, Extensible, Executable), achieving “3 for the price of 1”: Enterprise Architecture, Governance, and Data Integration. The second is based on self-reference […]

2 months, 27 days ago

Is Brexit the worst ever EA project?

Lessons for Enterprise Architecture from BrexitAs I live in the UK it’s not surprising that Brexit is a hot and controversial topic. Last night Elaine and I were recounting everything that we felt had gone wrong during the Brexit process (it was …

1 year, 7 months ago

Should ‘GOODNESS” replace the word “GOVERNANCE”?


I believe we need rethink the Enterprise Architecture practice. I favour starting from a ‘Systems Thinking’ foundation, and therefore go back to John Boyd’s OODA loop:



and Dan Ward’s Simplicity Cycle.

Please take a look at this video to give the rest of this post a bit of context:



Should  ‘GOODNESS” replace the word “GOVERNANCE” in the new order of things?


As a starting point. I believe by standing-on-the-shoulders-of-giants of those who originated and develop System Thinking, Cybernetics, Complexity Theory and Design Thinking will help us re-invent EA.  Personally, no longer call myself an Enterprise Architect – I prefer the title Change Designer – why? Because it simply describes what I do and I can explain it to C-Levels in just a few words entirely focused on business outcomes, stages in the journey and risks & IRACIS (IR: improved revenue, AC: avoid cost & IS: improve service).

Update 0603/17

Can we look to the Unicorns for inspiration? I recall a discussion I had with a few Silicon Valley types at OSCON London recently. I asked a very genuine question:

“How do the likes of Netflix, Paypal, Uber etc. approach Governance?”

The answer: “We don’t use that word, in Silicon Valley!”

This got me thinking; surely things must be driven towards some sort of order? And then, maybe my mental model was wrong. Maybe if I put on my “Complex Adaptive” hat (ref. Cynefin), I will see that the architecture must evolve, in chunks of context specific outcomes, over time. And in this approach, is “Goodness” ( a la Dan Ward above) the key measure of alignment with the outcome?; in a Complex system, the bad are attenuated, and the good amplified – this is how, useful (fit-for-purpose), solutions evolve. So, maybe, it’s not about driving things to a predetermined outcome; maybe instead, it’s about orchestrating and encouraging adoption of practice that delivers context-specific “goodness” (in Dan Ward’s sense of the word).

It strikes me that there appears to be a close relationship between Dand Ward’s Complexity/Goodness model (describe in the video above) to this one:


Although ‘User Happiness” is only one context: a Value System. Another might be ‘The Regulator’. Is it true, however, that focusing on simplicity, and context-specific “Goodness”, are we more likely to satisfy both?



Hence my question – Should “GOODNESS” replace “GOVERNANCE”? Or, indeed, is this what they already do in Silicon Valley? I’m sure there’s much more to understand – but I think it’s a good question for debate!

Please follow the tags #foundindesign #horsesunicorns on Twitter for more discussion on this and related topics.

1 year, 8 months ago

I Don’t Call Myself An Enterprise Architect

… anymore.


A few people have asked why I call myself a Change Designer rather than an Enterprise Architect. The reason is simple: the EA label misrepresents what I do.


The popular understanding of  Enterprise Architect is:
  • attached to an I.T. view of the world – I’m not only focused on I.T.
  • often synonymous with large arcane frameworks like TOGAF – I dislike them
  • regarded as slow, top-down, big modelling up front etc – I prefer Dan Ward’s F.I.R.E. approach.


I use the title Change Designer because:
  • They are two simple words, that together, explain what I do – I Design Change (transformational or otherwise).
  • They don’t t limit me to only focus on I.T. – but, at the same time, they don’t exclude I.T.
  • Much of my thinking and toolset come from the world of “Design Thinking” (and Systems Thinking, Complexity Science etc.).


I guess I’m lucky in the sense I’m unemployable now, partly due to age but mostly due to temperament! 🙂 I’m more choosy about the things I work on where and when. All this means I don’t need to splash “Enterprise Architecture” and TOGAF all over my CV to find the next gig – and if I did, I’d probably not meet the client’s expectations!

Follow #foundindesign on Twitter to see what I’m up to these days.
2 years, 4 months ago

Evolution Architecture

Caoilte O’Connor is a developer at ITV, the UK’s largest Commercial Terrestrial TV Network. Here’s a short  (~2 min) clip from Domain Service Aggregators: A Structured Approach to Microservice Composition . In this clip he describes how …

3 years, 1 month ago

Going Digital & Agile Architecture

Recently, I’ve been reworking & tightening up some earlier ideas and putting them in a ‘Going Digital’ context. I’m posting them on LinkedIn to reach a slightly different audience.  
Here are the posts so far:
During the process, I’ve been reading/re-reading some great related articles that discuss agile architecture and the need recognise the business as a complex adaptive system. Here are the links with some favourite quotes:
Is Agile killing EA #1?  By Charles Betz the EA team needs to match the cadence of the Agile teams. This is a central challenge”.
Is Agile killing EA #2?  By Jason Bloomberg.
” …if some company’s EA means nothing more than a lot of paperwork that gets in the way of basic goals like working software that keeps customers happy, then we can only hope Agile drives a nail into that coffin. On the other hand, sometimes the paperwork is a good thing. Only an overly dogmatic reading of the Agile Manifesto would lead one to conclude that we don’t need no stinkin’ documentation”.
“Frameworks are cocaine for executives – they give them a huge rush, and then they move to the next framework”.
Enterprise Architecture Finally Crosses the Chasm by Jason Bloomberg including an interview with Adrian Cockcroft formally the Cloud Architect at Netflix. 
“The goal of architecture was to create the right emergent behaviours”.
“..it makes more sense for them to pay most attention to the real-world  ‘wiggliness’ of organisation: the hidden, messy and informal dynamics of everyday human interaction in which they and everyone else are continuously immersed”.
With the ‘Going Digital’ series, my aim is talk about real-world experiences and emerging techniques for doing “agile architecture’, or business change design, or whatever it gets called in the future. All I know is that it isn’t framework-centric and that many who carry the title Enterprise Architect will have trouble giving up their particular drug of choice! I’m interested to hear what others are doing; what’s working for you – and what doesn’t.
I guess like many of have lived with the ‘EA’ label, I’m tending to avoid the term, so as not to confuse what I do with the framework-centric, heavy modelling, and ‘certified’ practices stuff.
Has anyone seen a good job description? 🙂 

Update Feb 27th, 2017: To see where these thoughts now are going, please take a look at the Found In Design un-book and  the Horses and Unicorns story.