What makes a Successful Enterprise Architect?

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Success or FailureSuccessful enterprises prepare for opportunities and risks. They endure difficult economies, seize new opportunities, and grow their business. These organizations link productive initiatives to desired goals and results; that way they foster working conditions that will deliver true value to the organization. People enjoy the efforts when they know that there is a reasonable, thoughtful plan that the organization is following, and that their input is valued and recognized in achieving a level of success. To achieve this, the enterprise needs to recognize, support and advocate the use of an Enterprise Architecture as a competitive differentiator. Enterprise Architecture is about understanding the Enterprise; they need to have a strong understanding of the business, its strategic direction, its strengths, weaknesses… Writing more computer code just won’t get you there. Enterprise Architecture is the anchor for delivering consistent value throughout the Enterprise’s lifetime.

But how does someone become a successful enterprise architect? What does it entail? Through practice and the use of different frameworks (Zachman, TOGAF, FEAF ….) we recognize a set of required components for success. You need:

  • Architectural Models – To represent artifacts from the perspective of several business viewpoints.
  • A Framework – To logically structure the subjects, relationships, and perspectives.
  • A Methodology – To guide, simplify, and standardize processes.
  • Solution Models – To understand and combine independent architectural elements to begin to build something.

Beside these components, an Enterprise Architect needs to have a passion for EA, be able to quickly adapt activities to changes, needs to be able to motivate and inspire, negotiate to get things done, be able to think quickly on an abstract (helicopter view) and detailed level, have a great complex problem solving mind, be process oriented, have great people skills, be able to lead and to make quality decisions with a high level of stakeholder buy-in.

Regine Deleu

Author: Regine Deleu

Regine is an Enterprise Strategic Advisor & Lead Enterprise Architect working for the New Zealand Government on the Transformation Mobilisation Programme for All-of-Government. She has more than 20 years working experience spanning Enterprise, Solution and Technical Architecture, Project Management, and Software Engineering. Regine is also a TOGAF Review Board member, and Advisory Board member at the Strategy and Enterprise Architecture Society.

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1 Comment

  1. Fadi Hindi

    Thanks for the post Regine. I will also add the art of “simplification!” Architects tend to get wrapped into their own lingo sometimes and people get lost when speaking with architects. While architects recognize the elegance of common vocabulary such as artifacts, viewpoints, models, and frameworks; others feel lost and confused.

    A seasoned architect will tailor his or her vocabulary to the audience on the fly based on the visual feedback through the interaction. Something as simple as this tailoring can mean the difference between acceptance or rejection of the idea being pitched by the architect.

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