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Your Friendly Neighbourhood Enterprise Architect

        posted by , March 27, 2011

There are 3 styles of EA:

1. Authoritative style - top down EA governance
2. Partnership, collaboration and influence
3. Good cop / bad cop (mix of style #1 and #2)

The style that works best depends on the situation.

Authoritative Style

Top-down governance works best when:

1. The EA department has a great deal of political power and executive support.
2. You have a thick skinned, tough chief architect.
3. The organization is small.

Partnership Style

The partnership style drives enterprise change in four ways:

1. Influencing senior executives
2. Influencing solution architects, IT Managers and business stakeholders
3. Identifying areas for common solutions and connecting people
4. Making technology transparent — especially gaps and strategy

By making technology transparent — EA can foster competition between IT groups to clean up their platforms. EA should make it clear whose house is a mess.

The partnership style requires:

1. Deep facilitation skills
3. The ability to stick to EA without becoming embroiled in politics
4. Focus on EA without recommending solutions
5. A good EA data repository


Risks of the authoritative style include:

1. Highly political - political backlash possible
2. Becoming bureaucratic and audit-like
3. Dogma - forcing the wrong solution
4. Feedback, cooperation and creativity may break down

Risks of the partnership style include:

1. Appearing ineffective
2. Difficult to quantify results
3. EA attempts at influence may be ignored


Most EA practices apply some mix of styles — seeking both authority and influence.

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