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AT#36: How to be Successful with Strategic Information Technology Landscape Planning

AT#36: How to be Successful with Strategic Information Technology Landscape Planning

We have written many posts at the Architectural Thinking blog that deal with the business aspects of architecture. Business architecture is at the core of Architectural Thinking and must be connected to vision/strategy and solution development. Business architecture drives IT architecture, not vice versa. This doesn’t mean, however,  that the technology landscape of a company does not need to be governed! Technology is the basis that supports applications that support the business as shown in the meta-model of the Architectural Thinking Framework: Read More

AT#35: How to be Successful with Application Landscape Planning Part 2

AT#35: How to be Successful with Application Landscape Planning Part 2

We have written many posts at the Architectural Thinking blog that deal with more strategic topics like vision, strategy and business architecture and how to connect this to solution development. The common aim defines the direction the company shall go, based on a vision statement created by executives. After that, business architecture comes into play and make the vision more operational.

In our ->last blog post we discussed how a capability map can be used for strategic application landscape planning by assigning existing applications. Today we show a great way to model how the application landscape shall evolve over the next years. A mid-time view of 3-5 years is important because legacy renovation and introduction of new platforms take its time (this reality cannot be ignored even in the VUCA world). Read More

AT#34: How to be Successful with Application Landscape Planning

AT#34: How to be Successful with Application Landscape Planning

We have written many posts at the Architectural Thinking blog that deal with more strategic topics like vision, strategy and business architecture and how to connect this to solution development. The common aim defines the direction the company shall go, based on a vision statement created by executives. After that, business architecture comes into play and make the vision more operational. The upcoming posts show how strategic planning of the application & technology landscape can be operationalized using two simple architecture maps: application map and technology map.

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AT#33: Why we need a new Agile Manifesto

AT#33: Why we need a new Agile Manifesto

The Agile Manifesto, created by seventeen guys from the field of software engineering eighteen years ago has certainly changed the way we create software solutions fundamentally and radically. The great majority of software development projects is done using agile practices like Scrum. Today, everybody knows the famous “we value X over Y” statements:

In recent years, ideas for scaling agile to a company-wide scope (eg, SAFe ©) and approaches to the “agile organization” have become increasingly popular. Nowadays everything needs to be “Agile”, Read More

Architectural Thinking Newsletter April 19

Architectural Thinking Newsletter April 19

Now, half a year after founding the Architectural Thinking Association®, it is time to communicate the current status to the growing community.

 

What have we achieved so far?

 

(i) We’ve built an interdisciplinary Leadership Team

I am very happy that we were able to build a strong, interdisciplinary ->Leadership Team. It consists of six renowned people from the fields of Business Strategy, Business Architecture, Enterprise Architecture, Enterprise Design, and Agile Solution Development and myself.

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AT#31: Soft Factors of Architecture – Part 3: Communication

AT#31: Soft Factors of Architecture – Part 3: Communication

Enterprise Architecture (EA) often focuses primarily on the analytical modeling aspects and this is, of course, an important part of the work. However, practice shows that EA is much more about communication. You simply need to elicit the wisdom of business people to create your architecture maps. Enterprise Architects, and IT-people in general, however, are often not educated in communication skills like asking the right questions and listening intently. Educated at technical universities most of them have been trained to engineer highly sophisticated technical solutions but not so much in the soft skills.

The following communication skills are mandatory for any successful Enterprise Architect:

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AT#30: Soft Factors of Architecture – Part 2: Unveiling

AT#30: Soft Factors of Architecture – Part 2: Unveiling

Much has been written about the human factors in the IT-business. In his renowned book “Peopleware” (1987), Tom De Marco describes typical social behavior during high-pressure IT-projects: most of the time attendees of meetings discussing complex topics do not get the whole point but are ashamed to admit that they do not understand an issue. They simply do not say ‘Sorry, but I don’t have a clue what the bullshit-bingo on your slides is all about’. This typical behavior tends to make things even more complex. Thus today’s culture of IT-projects almost forces us to veil things. Veiling communication, however, leads to unsatisfactory IT-solutions. Read More

AT#29: Soft Factors of Architecture – Part 1: Trust

AT#29: Soft Factors of Architecture – Part 1: Trust

The stake of Business- and Enteprise Architecture is to ensure that the overall IT landscape and its solutions stay maintainable instead of increasing complexity with each project. Architects, usually without formal authority over other persons working in the projects, have to find soft ways to drive their stake,  and this is always the hardest part of the job. 

“In Enterprise Architecture roles, emotional intelligence (EQ) accounts for more than 90% of a person’s performance and success.”
[Gartner Group]

I have been working in the field of Enterprise Architecture (EA) for almost 12 years now. Over these years I have seen many unsuccessful EA initiatives. Half of the large IT transformation projects I worked in failed to a large degree due to insufficient influence of the architecture team. EAs often simply did not have the “right”social/soft skills.

Motivated by this observation I want to start a series of posts that deal with the “soft factors” of architecture, which are IMHO way more relevant than the analytical/technical bias prevalent in the field of EA. Today’s part 1 explains why building trust should be prio 1 for EAs.

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Three Steps to Regain Control over your IT Landscape

Three Steps to Regain Control over your IT Landscape

Most IT landscapes of larger companies consist of hundreds of applications that are interconnected via poorly designed interfaces. In most companies, these IT landscapes already have an enormous technical debt (i.e., an ‘unnecessary complexity’). In my experience, a company typically runs between 80% and 90% more IT applications (and therefore also servers, databases, networks, costs) compared to what would be needed if it had implemented the ideal architecture. A tremendous waste of money and resources, and the reason why IT is perceived as tardy and as a cost factor and not as an enabler. From my point of view, there are three major reasons for this disastrous situation:

Business Units are not aware of their responsibility for their applications and do not think architecturally

There is a tendency to blame the IT department for this situation, but that’s not true. It’s a business problem. Requirements are typically not consolidated well across departments. IT has always just been the contractor who had to implement those punctual requirements under time pressure. Read More