The Architecture Graveyard: Trap #53 Starting from Scratch

February 18, 2017

“I think we’ll have to revisit the definition of ….”

“we have to get the ‘current stakeholder requirements’”

“is there a technique to figure that out?”

The sad autumnal sounds of a practitioner starting from scratch. Most of the time practitioners working in low-maturity architecture teams fall into this trap. They don’t know any better. They have never had a useful repository. They have no consistent method. They have never built on prior work. They start from scratch, again and again.

A useful repository is constructed to address the real questions asked by the EA Team’s sponsors and the consumers of useful architecture. These questions tell architects what information they need to gather, the analysis they need to perform and the assessments they need to deliver. Assessments that are directly on point. Assessments that answer questions that matter. Work that provides value.

Clarity of the EA Team’s purpose is critical. Best practice in developing an EA Repository is to focus on your organization’s questions (see chapter 8, "Customization of Architecture Contents and Metamodel" of the Leader’s Guide). High-functioning EA Teams maintain a viewpoint library that identifies such questions and the information that architects must have. The information will define the repository.

In a well-structured environment, you don’t tweak the definition of anything. Bluntly, get it right the first time. Needing to tweak the definition of any component in your repository highlights you are not prepared for the questions you answer. Also, in our experience definitions are a pointless treadmill, so much that we have switched to describing the purpose of components in Navigate, and downplaying definitions.

A practitioner in this trap has to run non-stop on a treadmill. Action without movement. Workouts are for exercise. Ad hoc erratic work is the standard of a low-maturity EA Team.

Get off the treadmill.

High-functioning architects are prepared to address their stakeholders’ questions. They iteratively build on prior work. They develop useful on-target assessments. The resulting recommendations require more than information. Standardized analytical and modeling techniques are needed. Preparation and purpose prevent starting from scratch, again and again.

Conexiam’s Predictable EA approach works to take the mystery out of developing high-functioning EA teams. Our foundation is a well established EA Capability reference model centered around the purpose your organization wants the EA team to serve.

Building a high-functioning EA team, or developing yourself, requires breaking the cycle of starting from scratch, again and again. To assist with this journey, Conexiam made a strategic decision to share our experience with the world. We are taking highly re-usable parts of Navigate™ and Pilot™ and putting them into a format where they are accessible. We share our experience for self-help in the Architecture Graveyard series or the more formal Leader’s Guide.

In addition to freely available materials, we provide consulting services and specialized training like our EA with TOGAF and Navigate course.

Start your journey to being a high-functioning enterprise architect. Get off the treadmill. Stop starting from scratch, again and again.