More on the EA book

Shawn Callahan at Anecdote kindly asked for a ‘preview of the topics’ in the enterprise-architecture book that I’m brewing.

Existing enterprise-architecture frameworks – particularly TOGAF – all have a blurry, ill-described box labelled ‘business architecture’, which you’re supposed to deal with before diving down into the low-level technology stuff, except that few people seem to bother. What I’m aiming to do is unpack that box and put everything into its proper perspective – i.e. that the IT side of enterprise-architecture forms a small and almost insignificant part of a much, much larger whole. And that there’s almost no point in tackling the IT-stuff until we do get a handle on that whole.
At the abstract level, I’m using the same structure as for the SEMPER-5 whole-of-organisation diagnostic: five dimensions (Purpose, People, Preparation, Process and Performance), cross-mapped to a matching set of views on effectiveness (Efficient, Reliable, Elegant, Appropriate, Integrated).

[was going to put a graphic in here, but can’t work out how to upload it 🙂 – will do so in a later post – apols]

So the idea is that the framework keeps looping back recursively and iteratively through itself, to build up a total picture of the enterprise, where it’s going, and what to do about it if you don’t like where it’s going.

At the concrete level – i.e. how we actually apply this stuff 🙂 – the book’s organised in 25 main chapters: one for each combination of dimensions and effectiveness-views. So, for example, the chapters “Architecture as a way of thinking” (Purpose > Effective) and “What’s the story?” (People > Effective), both touch on Shawn’s area of narrative-knowledge – a crucial aspect of organisational knowledge that doesn’t even rate a single mention in any of the IT-centric enterprise-architecture frameworks such as Zachman, FEAF and TOGAF.

For what it’s worth, here’s the full chapter-list (key: E=efficient [knowledge/preparation], R=reliable [process], A=appropriate [purpose], L=elegant [people], N=integrated [also outcomes/performance])

  • Overview
  • Purpose [Direction]
    • DA :: The aims of architecture
    • DR :: The architecture of the everyday
    • DN :: Architecture of the enterprise
    • DE :: Architecture as a way of thinking
    • DL :: Architecture is a feeling
  • People
    • PL :: The architecture team
    • PA :: Politics of purpose
    • PR :: A problem of power
    • PN :: The role of the generalist
    • PE :: What’s the story
  • Preparation [Knowledge]
    • KE :: Dimensions of architecture
    • KN :: An emphasis on effectiveness
    • KA :: Architecture on purpose
    • KL :: A question of responsibility
    • KR :: The centrality of services
  • Process [Tasks]
    • TE :: Requirements for agility
    • TN :: Managing services
    • TR :: The practice of architecture
    • TL :: The art of integration
    • TA :: What’s the SCORE?
  • Performance [Metrics]
    • MR :: Real-time scoreboards
    • ME :: Closing the loop
    • ML :: People and performance
    • MA :: Measuring maturity
    • MN :: Monitoring integration
  • (Wrap-up and appendices)

Each main chapter is split into a Principles section, which gives some background to the issues being addressed in the chapter; a Procedure section, about what to do, itself split recursively into subsections for Purpose, People, Preparation, Process and Performance (i.e. artefacts and outcomes); and then a brief Resources listing (in which, yes, Shawn, links to the Anecdote website occur several times! 🙂 ).

I’m aiming for an average of about five pages per chapter, so it should keep it to an all-up size of around 140-150 pages in standard 9x6in trade-paperback format.

Current status is that I’ve finished the first two sections (Purpose and People) and have detailed outlines for the rest, so I’m about half-way through the first draft. Drop me a line if you want to see work-so-far, otherwise Watch This Space?

4 comments on “More on the EA book
  1. This sounds great Tom. There is one thing in my head at the moment that I would like to share. I’ve noticed that many strategists seem to focussing on the end product, the document, the business architecture etc, and don’t say much about the participative process that people need to experience to tackle a wicked problem–which many of these issues are. Can you comment on how your approach addresses this issue of thing vs process?

  2. Tom G says:

    Um… my basic approach to this is to call in people like you? 🙂

    I’m sort of halfway between the “many strategists” you describe, in that I’m concentrating on the architecture as a working framework; but like you I take the view that architecture must be a _social_ process, because it’s ultimately about getting everyone engaged in the purpose and process and performance of the enterprise as a whole.

    My problem, I suppose, is that I’m still very much a theorist, a ‘back-room boy’ – I don’t have the experience or skills that you have in social processes, and I probably never will. But what I _can_ do is build a theoretical scheme that shows _why_ those processes are necessary, that they _are_ necessary, and that they _can_ be done – and also _which_ social-processes to use, and when and where and how and why and with whom. (The chapters ‘PA :: Politics of purpose’ and ‘PL :: A Problem of power’ address the underlying issues for what you describe as “wicked problems”, for example.) That’s really what I’m aiming to do here.

    What I’d really like to do is get the thing complete to at least a first draft stage, and then sit down for a day or so to talk it through with you. Which may be possible in the relatively near future, as it looks like I may be coming back to Sydney soon for a few months, on an enterprise-architecture gig. More on that in a future post if it comes off.

  3. Tom G says:

    One more comment, Shawn: up on the ‘Interpreting SEMPER’ page on the Tetradian website, at http://www.tetradian.com/SemperInterpret#action , there’s a brief section that describes suggested processes for each of the 25 SEMPER-5 combinations (the same as in the book). Includes references to when to use (and _not_ use) participative processes such as Open Space, Future Search and your own work in narrative inquiry.

    Hope that makes sense?

  4. Bill Branson says:

    An approach that I like to use for this kind of activity is the Strategic Visioning process by Grove. I feel that much of this material could be adapted to their model much the same way that Dana Bredemeyer did applying his Software Architecture method to it in his workshops and consulting services.

    The Grove URL is: http://www.grove.com/learning_center/wkshp_sv.html (for the Strategic Visioning stuff)

    Dana’s URL is: http://www.bredemeyer.com/ (for the basic site)

    Also, I discuss the idea of graphic facilitation and some of this processes in some recent posts that may be of help as well at my website.

    I am very hopeful that the material in this book will be adapted as I feel organizations would benefit a great deal from it. I have had some success using approaches very similar to the ones discussed in the book. However, I like the way the book explains the why behind each section. The approach also seems to be very complete. I get the sense that I won’t walk away with an uneasy feeling that perhaps something major is left out and will come back to haunt me later.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*