9 years, 6 days ago

Agility needs a backbone

Something that’s been concerning me quite a bit over the past year or so in enterprise-architecture has been the over-obsession with agility: agility for its own sake, perhaps, without much thought behind it, much thought about why or how we need to be so agile.
No matter what it is, it seems – whether in IT-architectures, […]

9 years, 25 days ago

Responsibility versus anti-possession as response to disaster

If ever you might need a clear example of the difference between a responsibility-based economy versus a possession-based one, and the fundamental dysfunctionality of the latter, take a look at the international response to the current natural-disaster in Japan, with huge problems arising from a massive earthquake and tsunami all down its north-east coast, and […]

9 years, 1 month ago

An architecture of responsibility

Following on from the previous post on ‘Possessed by possession‘, if it’s true that there is no way to make a possession-based economy sustainable, then it seems worthwhile to take a look at some of the implications.
First, though, a story, and a warning, from history.
I’ll admit I’m no true scholar of Australian Aboriginal history or […]

9 years, 1 month ago

Possessed by possession?

In case you hadn’t noticed, there are some big changes happening right now in the wider world… Lots and lots of them, at every scale and in just about every major context, from political to social, environmental to technological, and much else besides.
Myself, I look at all of these things with an enterprise-architect’s eye – […]

9 years, 1 month ago


A great conversation yesterday with Australian facilitator Helena Read, around the word ‘belonging’, and how it links with vision and enterprise-vision.
In the enterprise, vision is the anchor for everything: the quality-system, the business-purpose, the enterprise itself. It’s a very human focus, literally emotive: “that which gets me out of bed in the morning”, and so […]

9 years, 2 months ago

Why vision?

Why vision? Whose vision? What do we mean by ‘enterprise vision’, anyway? And who’s responsible for it? – who should create it?
This enquiry arose from a great multi-way Twitter-conversation following my previous post ‘Yes and No‘:

tetradian: [post] Yes and no:  a question of commitment http://bit.ly/fJUqcA #entarch #culture #responsibility
MartinHowitt: @tetradian if an explicit vision does not […]

9 years, 2 months ago

Yes and no: a question of commitment

This one’s a return to the themes from that previous post on Power, people and responsibility in enterprise-architecture, and the dichotomy between power as ‘the ability to do work’ versus a supposed ‘power’ as ‘the ability to avoid work’.
We can also see this as the difference between yes and no; between for and against. In […]

9 years, 2 months ago

Cynefin as place: a respectful enquiry

[A slightly risky post, this, given the unfortunate history between myself and Dave Snowden: but I want to emphasise that it is in good faith, as a genuine enquiry that I believe would be of real value to those of working in enterprise-architectures and to the broader Cynefin community.]
I’ve been delighted to see a useful […]

9 years, 2 months ago


A calm kind of word. Quiet. Friendly. Supportive, enfolding – those kinds of feelings.
A companion is literally “someone with whom we share bread”. Hence companionship is that state, condition, process, experience, whatever, of ’sharing bread’ with companions.
So it’s an interesting word – and an especially interesting metaphor for enterprise-architecture.
In your enterprise, in your work-context, or elsewhere, […]

9 years, 2 months ago

Power, people and enterprise-architecture

We really can’t explore the theme of people in enterprise-architecture without addressing the theme – and problem – of power.
In principle, power should be straightforward. The physics definition – roughly speaking – is that power is the ability to do work. Wherever there’s work to be done – in whatever form that that ‘work’ might […]

9 years, 2 months ago

Modelling people in enterprise-architecture

As mentioned in the previous post, one of the key characteristics of ‘crossing the chasm’ to a viable whole-of-enterprise architecture is the explicit inclusion of people. In short, we need to be able to model and map where people fit in relation to the architecture.
But there’s a catch. A big catch. People should not be […]