Architecture On-Demand Web Cast Series

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The Microsoft Consulting Services Infrastructure Architects have setup a new blog that walks through and announces upcoming web casts from their team. You can find the site at: http://blogs.technet.com/mcstalks/

In there words the site is set out to accomplish:

The aim of each presentation is to share our real world experience of designing and architecting core Microsoft technologies in an enterprise environment. A number of different MCS consultants will give you a high level discussion of the different architectural and design options available and provide you with a good idea of how to approach the deployment of the technology being discussed. Each presentation will look to provide information and guidance on key architectural inputs including selecting the correct solution for the environment, whether this be consolidation of services or the expansion into a branch environment, scaling of the solution to fit the target environment, server and service placement to meet both technical and systems management requirements, and considerations for network bandwidth and options for low bandwidth locations.

It looks like they will delivering some interesting web casts over the coming months. here they are:

  • 6th August 2008 – Infrastructure Architecture
  • 21st August 2008 – Core Infrastructure
  • 3rd September 2008 – Messaging
  • 17th September 2008 – Security and PKI
  • 1st October 2008 – Identify and Access Management
  • 15th October 2008 – Desktop Deployment
  • 29th October 2008 – Configuration Management
  • 12th November 2008 – Operations Management
  • 26th November 2008 – SharePoint
  • 10th December 2008 – Application Virtualization

 

Architect Role Taxonomy

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Paul Priess wrote an interesting post called The foundation skill set for architects. He also wrote for the Microsoft Architecture Journal 15 – The Role of an Architect. In this post, he provides a link to the IASA recently published Architect Taxonomy (click here to download the pdf).

He talks a bit about how other companies view the role of an architect and how they contrast w/ IASA’s view. The list included:

  • The Open Group
  • SEI
  • Vendors: IBM, Microsoft, EDS, Unisys, Infosys, etc
  • OMG
  • Thought Leaders: Bredemeyer, Zachman, Ambler, Booch, etc.

Paul believes that The Open Group (TOGAF / ITAC) and Microsoft has provided a great deal of publicly available information and leadership in the area of defining the role of an architect. He says:

The Open Group lists roughly 17 skills in their conformance requirements for their certification (check out their listing here) and Microsoft lists roughly 55 (check out their listing here). The final skills list from the IASA includes a detailed taxonomy (click here to download the pdf) with over 250 listed skills in an immense level of precision.

He goes on to talk about the foundations in the taxonomy that roll up to a core set 5 categories of skills:

  • business technology strategy skills
  • quality attribute skills
  • design skills
  • IT environment skills
  • human dynamics skills

The model or the people?

Chris Potts wrote an insightful post on People versus Models. Chris’s article goes into the current challenges in banking and contrasting that with architecture practices. He exposes some interesting points from The Economist that references EA processes by stating:

‘What separates the winners and the losers is not models, but management.’ 

He references this week’s edition, entitled "No Size Fits All" which is about EA, but doesn’t call it that. 

Another point about the Zachman Framework for EA made was where to start in the decision framework. He asserts that you may want to start with the right hand side (Who, When, Why), rather than the left (What, How, Where).

More information on his blog:
http://advice.cio.com/chris_potts/enterprise_architecture_the_model_or_the_people

 

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Zachman Updates

In recent letter from Zachman International they have announced two updates the popular Zachman Framework. They are relatively small. Here are the details:

  1. Engagement and Market Strategy will change in 2009. The ZIFA organization has been dissolved. 
  2. There was a minor update to the framework. This brings the framework to version 2.0.

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All in all, there are minor impacts on this announcement. The operations angle is a fairly obvious one as the Service Management (i.e., Operations) World is converging with EA disciplines so it makes sense that EA frameworks meet in the middle. I haven’t yet seen anything revolutionarily, more like evolutionary. As you can see from the model above there are no radical changes that would greatly impact enterprises already using this framework.

Also to keep constant, this doesn’t change my opinion on where Zachman fits into the greater EA Framework and Standards arena. From my post on Making Sense of Architecture Standards, Zachman is still very much at the "Decision Framework" level. See below:

Enterprise Architecture Standards

Letter from John Zachman

Dear Friends of ZIFA,

John ZachmanThank you so much for your many years of support and interest in The Zachman Framework™. I have had the pleasure to meet many of you personally at seminars and conferences, and I appreciate your contributions to my understanding of Enterprise Architecture. By making sure you are registered on my ZachmanInternational.com website, you will be assured of continuing contact with me.

I wanted to take an opportunity to make some significant new announcements about Zachman International and what you can expect from me in the future.

As many of you know, ZIFA was an informal collaboration between my company Zachman International and Sam Holcman of Pinnacle Business Group. I provided the theoretical basis and evangelism for Enterprise Architecture and Sam provided the marketing, operations and his planning methodology. Sam has since moved on to a new organization, EACOE, presumably to focus on training and marketing his Enterprise Architecture planning methodology. Sam has recommended, and I have agreed, that we dissolve ZIFA at the end of the current calendar year, 2008. I appreciate Sam’s contributions toward advancing the visibility of Enterprise Architecture and I wish him well in his new endeavor.

As CEO of Zachman International, I will continue my Enterprise Architecture talks worldwide, while expanding the "Zachman Certified™" deployment. In order to consolidate the authorized framework materials, schedules, and use of the Zachman™ brand, I have asked my son, John P. Zachman, to bring his decade and a half of marketing experience and become the Vice President of Marketing at Zachman International.

Stan Locke will continue to be Managing Director and President of Zachman Framework Associates, relating the client implementation practice to the classification theory through standards development, elaboration and sample models. David Kingston will become the Vice President of Customer Support Systems responsible for systems operations in Toronto which handles all our business transactions, security and ecommerce facilities. Each of us is available via our web site or toll-free number if you have any questions. We are expecting a significant number of other folks to be joining us over the next year, but the aforementioned people here will be the principal contacts, at least for the present.

 

The Microsoft Certified Architect Board Member Unravels the Process

Instant Architect

Loud Sigh who just joined the Microsoft Certified Architect (MCA) Review Board wrote a great post on how to prepare for the review board, why you should do it and share his own experience going through the MCA certification process.

I do like how Loud points out that the certification isn’t just an exam on specific data points it more about how you have handled situations that require years of experience and knowledge.

The key points to me are:

  • MCA is not only about you your technical skills but also your soft skills. How you handle situations, can you negotiate, do you demonstrate leadership, etc.
  • You have to go through your experience by demonstrating evidence and then talk walk through the architecture trade-offs
  • The board doesn’t expect you to know everything but would like to understand if you know how to find the answer, if you can delegate or mitigate a concern.

It’s worth a read if you are not familiar with the MCA process. Who knows, you may even want to take it after reading it.

For more information:

 

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