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I took up Mike Walkers offer in the previous posts comment section to look at his post entitled Making Sense of Architecture Standards and found it an ideal steer on what standards are out there, where they are positioned, how they fit together and who will use them and when to use them.

However, what soon dawned on me was that the disconnect between theory and particular context is huge! Many of the standards are no more than helpful steers that as yet don't offer that distilled level of knowledge that is the mechanics and the moving parts of a functional EA initiative, this you have to make yourself. This perhaps may explain why only larger organisations can take the Enterprise Architecture plunge as the amount of work needed to turn high level theory into a userable practice for individual circumstances will take super-human effects and a deal of time. All of which only the larger of organisation can afford.

Taking Henry T Ford's principle of creating masters and experts of easily manageable domains and string them together into a production line is something that as yet hasn't happened in the Enterprise Architects space, we are still the equivalent of the master craftsman in a cottage industry. When Tim Berners-Lee talks about the immaturity of the IT industry, he need not look any further than the Enterprise Architecture for a shining example of that.

One of the great things about the Open Group is the forums where Enterprise Architects can meet and discuss but it is a club that is not free to join, there is a fee. The fee is large enough to mean a justification case and not every organisation, specially now, can make a case stick, especially if the core industry they are in isn't IT. The upshot is that the Open Group seems to have more than it's fair share of IT companies and weirdly not Microsoft which for all the talking is still the one of the biggest players in the game. Like or loath them, you can't ignore them and no-doubt nor does your business.

So where do Enterprise Architects meet then? I've found a whole bunch of EA's at ITToolbox and would be curious to find some more hiding places of the lesser spotted Enterprise Architect. At least here the questions I would naturally ask have at least been tackled in some way shape or form and afew kind souls even have offered their particular solutions up to the web for inspection by others and relish the scrutiny of their peers. This all adds up to meaningful long running conversation that can be followed and inputted into by all, which seems to be the nature of creation these days on the web, i.e. results by collaboration.

In the past an industry or practice had to rely on thought leadership and some inspired person to drive through change and create a following. John Zachman has tried to do this with the self-titled framework. I think in the connected world, this approach has a limited time left. The technology is here to allow hundreds, if not thousands of individuals to help build solutions, an individual making their little piece and letting others refine it. Open Source has show us that this can be done. I see no reasons why methodologies can't be constructed in a similar fashion?

In this day and age where reputations have to be earnt and transparency is the only sure-fire way to credibility and the price-tag has got to be free, thought leaders and committees have a limited appeal and therefore a limited reach so for a methodologies or frameworks to succeed will depend on whether they can be constructed in the new standard. If not, then we will all be in our cottage's or 'silo' for sometime to come, finding our individual solution to a common problems and interpreting the things like TOGAF's ADM a 1000's times over. Just think about all that wasted 'brain-time', when it could be spent putting the touches to a small part of an industry grown common solution, owned by no-one but everyone. There's a thought.

Posted on Thursday, May 1, 2008 5:45 PM Technical Architecture , Enterprise Architecture | Back to top

Comments on this post: Enterprise Architecture: The Disconnect Between Theory and Reality

# re: Enterprise Architecture: The Disconnect Between Theory and Reality
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I have to completely agree with this post.

There is also another disconnect that I regularly find.

At the very top are the ENTERPRISE architects. Many (most?) of whom have only minimal detailed knowledge of the technologies that will ultimately be used to implement their visions.

At the very bottom (no disrespect) are the coders who may know the intimate details (such as the ordering of variables to optimize cache hits, and the ordering of instructions to minimize pipeline issues.

In between there is a vast landscape.

It has been my experience (30+ years) that the vat majority of "pain points" are directly traceable to disconnects in this space.

I have been searching for "standardized" guidance in the partitioning of this space into a perscriptive and practical organization. So far my searches have not yeilded the desired results. More often than not, the information I find is about scenarios that do NOT work.

I am actually sufficiently interested in this, that I am posting my direct e-mail (almost) in the clear...

David Corbin
Chief Architect
Dynamic Concepts Development Corp.
(firstname).(lastname) at DYNConcepts in TLD COM.
Left by TheCPUWizard on May 02, 2008 12:38 AM

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