January 16, 2006
Emergent Enterprise ArchitectureI'm becoming increasingly concerned about the rise of what many tool vendors and consultants are calling Enterprise Architecture. While they talk the game of complexity, uncertainty and adaptability, when you look at their solutions they appear to be in a game of linearity, reductionism and certainty.
I'm all in favour of drawing pictures to understand complex things - well, I'd have to be - but I'm deeply skeptical when people try to convince me that these pictures can be made a reality on such a large scale. That's a strong indication that order can be imposed, and in business it cannot. Like it or not, the enterprise is self-organising and no amount of doodling in some modeling tool is going to produce predictable results.
We can't impose order, but we can influence evolution. The nonlinear manager's approach to enterprise architecture would be much more organic (gardener, not watchmaker).
So instead of rigid, mechanistic conceptual frameworks like the Zachman Framework for Enterprise Architecture, or The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF) that are decidely from the Linear Management school of thought, we would have much simpler frameworks made up of goals, metrics and organising principles (rules) - from which an enterprise architecture can emerge over successive iterations.
These goals and organising principles (rules) need to express the essence of your business - what it's trying to achieve and what its fundamental values are. In that sense, you should probably be able to write the basis of your architecture on one side of an A4 sheet of paper. The resulting architecture that emerges will be fantastically complex, but I've got some bad news for you, pal. It probably already is!
Posted 15 years, 7 months ago on January 16, 2006