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Architects Aren't Police and 7 Other EA Pitfalls

        posted by , April 24, 2011

The most common Enterprise Architecture (EA) pitfall is a lack of focus. A Enterprise Architect is many things — but there are 8 things a EA should never do:

1. Governance

EA Governance is important — but it is better to separate EA from EA Governance. Create a IT governance team that handles EA and other governance functions.

Enterprise Architects (EAs) are architects — not police. EAs need to be able to collaborate and break down barriers — the governance function gets in the way.

2. Change Management

Do your EA gaps read like a list of change requests? EA gaps are architectural gaps not a laundry list of user complaints.

If your gaps talk about user interface bugs and other low level issues — you are headed down the wrong path.

3. Solution Architecture

EA is a IT planning function — EAs that do deep dives into solutions often lose site of this.

4. RFI, RFP and Prototypes

The only products EA should investigate are products directly related to EA — such as EA tools.

EA teams sometimes volunteer to evaluate products — this is a time-suck unrelated to core EA functions.

5. Solution Facilitator

EAs facilitate common architectures.

There is a fine line between facilitating common architectures and getting involved in solutions. The EAs role is to connect solution teams that might have synergies.

6. Project Managers

EAs should not manage projects outside of the scope of EA.

It is also important for EAs to avoid comment on project execution issues when reviewing projects. For example, if a EA criticises a project team for their test plan — they have overstepped the boundary of EA.

Relationships breakdown when EAs start telling PMs how to run projects.

7. Version Cops

One important function of EA is to set product standards for the organization. A major pitfall here is to get bogged down in the details of product versions.

If your EA team is holding up your project because you want to use Oracle 11g instead of Oracle 8i — it is time to get a new EA team.

8. Auditors

EA is focused on business results — aligning IT spending with business goals. EA is not another tax on the organization.

When EA becomes yet another audit — EA quickly loses support.

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