3 months, 27 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 […]

4 months, 26 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, 9 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, 10 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.