Enterprise Architecture and Agile Development – A Love-Hate Relationship?
Nov18

Enterprise Architecture and Agile Development – A Love-Hate Relationship?

First we need to understand what we mean by Enterprise Architect and Agile Development. Enterprise Architecture and Agile share common ground, they are both decision-making frameworks. The main difference is that Enterprise Architecture focuses on the future vision for the enterprise, it’s about where the enterprise has to be tomorrow, it is also about algining business strategy with technology. Agile development focuses is on project delivery, where does the project need to be today. Agile is mostely implemented as a response to volatile levels of changes. Enterprise Architecture is most effective and needed when there are high levels of changes. While agile is not a direct enabler for Enterprise Architecture, its use might indicate the need for it. Some of the most common anti patterns for Enterprise Architecture is the “Ivory Tower Syndrome”. A significant aspect of this love/hate relationship is the difference between top-down architecture and bottom-up architecture. To ‘soften’ these two approaches is to end the perception of architects as obstacles to project. On the other hand, architects need to learn from agile development. ‘You don’t know everything up front.’ Enterprise Architecture and Agile can be viewed as different perspectives on the same objectives. My belief is that they can coexists if you follow the following rules: – Your Enterprise Architecture effort should be driven by the business, not by your IT department. – Enterprise Architecture should evolve over time. An evolutionary approach enables you to act on concrete feedback that you receive when you try to actually implement it, thereby enabling you to steer the development. – According to some surveys, Enterprise Architecture points to “people issues” being the critical determinants of success or failure. My experience is that the best Enterprise Architecture or Agile approach is to work closely with the intended audience, both business and IT. – Delivery teams and Enterprise Architects should work closely together so that they can leverage the common infrastructure, and to help build the project efficiently and effectively. Disciplined agile teams realize that they can benefit greatly by doing...

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Grave Mistakes Enterprise Architects Should Avoid
Nov09

Grave Mistakes Enterprise Architects Should Avoid

However much we try to deny it, it seems the good old days for EA are almost over! If you doubt, then try looking around for an EA practice that isn’t struggling for survival; I bet a handful if none at all! Just before the recent recession, EA practices thrived very well; the concept was well understood, everyone was singing the praise; almost all mature organizations had established the practice; its practitioners were in demand;  the practice almost never got questioned; its promises were convincing; it seemed to have been well integrated into organizations; few decisions would be taken without its engagement; funding its charter was never a problem; it seemed to have had an iron fist control over most project decisions; and most of all, business was utterly convinced this was the missing link between strategy and execution.. At the same time, some critics were increasingly raising the alarm by questioning the actual returns on investments (ROI).. they were not convinced with the promises it had in stock; they questioned whether these promises were realistic and achievable; some argued the practice was just another hype created by smart marketers? Well, I will leave you to decide… All said however, the real acid test needs to be overcome; EA practices must reap the promised value like standardization, rationalization, transformation, reuse, cost-savings, profitability, rejuvenation etc. Unfortunately only a handful will survive this test; as a ripple effect, unless major pitfalls are avoided, I predict more and more EA practices will soon be closing down… But why and whom should we blame for this? Well, I believe the answer lies within the execution of the practice and the maturity of its practitioners… or is it? Without much renunciation, most of us have learnt a great deal of lessons after the recent slump. I have dedicated this blog to highlight some of the grave mistakes EAs should avoid. Executing without Scope: Executing your EA practice without a clear scope is akin to delivering unwanted products and services. Often than not, this leads to delivery of numerous piece-meal outcomes that seldom contribute to measurable results and fail to add value to business. Apparently, you are likely to be in this situation if you are struggling to gain stakeholder buy-in. Although EA is a platform with many possibilities, it is always good practice to define a clear scope that articulates your EA accountabilities and provides clarity on the expected EA contributions. Before embarking in the journey, take time to define and communicate your EA charter. Communicating without Buy-In: Many EA practitioners think awareness sessions are adequate to gain stakeholder buy-in and commitment. Awareness sessions...

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