Recently there was a panel discussion regarding “The State of Enterprise Architecture: Vast Promise or Lost Opportunity?“. It was actually a very interesting panel discussion. Take a peek when you have a moment.

Here are a few excerpts that I really agree with:

In a lot of cases, we make a big deal about the technical expertise of architects, but in a lot of architectural engagements that I have been involved in, I didn’t actually know anything at all about the subject matter that I was being asked to architect.

What I did know how to do was ask the right questions, find the people who knew the answers to those, and help the people who actually had the information orchestrate, arrange, and understand it in a way that allowed them to solve the problem that they really had.

This is very true. It is all about asking the right people the right questions and even more often it’s about asking those same people the next two or three questions that are the real answers you are looking for. This also isn’t something that is easy for anyone to pick up. While the occasional cheat sheet/checklist is good as a refresher to make sure you tied everything off it should be used as the end all be all. Questions alone with out the right people asking them are not effective.

In terms of its maturity as a profession, it may be 100 or 200 years back, compared to law or medicine, but on the other hand, the quality of the practice is much more like where medicine and law were 50 year, 25 years ago.

I have to agree on a lot of fronts. It is somewhat the EA Wild West out here. There are so many competing frameworks, certifications and methods that it is difficult for the EA community to have a common vocabulary or measurement.

The fundamental with leadership in EA is that architects don’t own things. They are not responsible for the business processes. They are not responsible for the sales results. They are responsible for leading a group of people to that transformation, to that happy place, or to the end-state that you’re trying to achieve.

Enterprise Architects only have influence to the organization where it needs to be. This is both good and bad. I think that the previous comment made about the quality of the EA practice being equivalent to 25 to 50 years ago wouldn’t be the case if EA’s didn’t have to “earn there keep” as influencers. They have to earn there stripes to be effective in the industry. This is the true test of a good EA.

If you do not lead and do not take the risk to lead, the transformation won’t occur.

As an EA it’s all about putting yourself out there and taking calculated risks for yourself, not necessarily for the company.

Again, very good panel with Dana Gardner,Jeanne Ross, Dave Hornford and Len Fehskens.

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