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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

AT#27: Capability Modeling Crash Course – Elicitation Recipe

AT#27: Capability Modeling Crash Course – Elicitation Recipe

Last week we completed our three-post crash course. We received lots of feedback and questions about how to elicit capabilities with the business people. The blog series reached an audience of thousands of people. For that reason, we decided to add a fourth – “da capo” post.

The previous post in this blog-series discussed why capabilities are the invaluable core of Architectural Thinking, how to use your existing process- or value stream maps and how to structure capabilities. Today we present how capabilities should be elicited by the business architect by a broad participation of business stakekholders.  Enjoy!

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AT#26: Capability Modeling Crash Course Part 3

AT#26: Capability Modeling Crash Course Part 3

Capability modeling seems simple but is hard to do in practice. If you browse literature or the internet you’ll find only very little advice. No ‘Capability Modeling Guide’ out there. To change that, the Architectural Thinking Framework includes a draft of detailed guidelines that show how to model capabilities step-by-step.

Last week we discussed how to apply industry-specific capability reference models and how to use your existing process- or value stream maps. Today we provide step-by-step instructions to design a map that is easy to be understood by business stakeholders. Enjoy!

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AT#25: Capability Modeling Crash Course Part 2

AT#25: Capability Modeling Crash Course Part 2

Capability modeling seems simple but is hard to do in practice. If you browse literature or the internet you’ll find only very little advice. No ‘Capability Modeling Guide’ out there. To change that, the Architectural Thinking Framework includes a draft of detailed guidelines that show how to model capabilities step-by-step.

Last week we defined the term ‘Capability’ and discussed why they are invaluable. Today we continue our series with part 2 of 3. Enjoy! Read More

AT#24: Capability Modeling Crash Course Part 1

AT#24: Capability Modeling Crash Course Part 1

In recent years, the idea of business capability modeling has emerged in the EA community. Much has been written about the idea of capability modeling, and it can even be said that we are facing a ‘capability hype’. You can find capability models for many industries on the internet. There are many industry-specific consortiums that try to model the business functions of that particular industry in the form of capabilities.

Capability modeling seems simple but is hard to do in practice. If you browse literature or the internet you’ll find only very little advice. No ‘Capability Modeling Guide’ out there. To change that, the Architectural Thinking Framework includes a draft of detailed guidelines that show how to model capabilities step-by-step.

Today we start a series of three blog posts that provide a capability modeling crash course. It includes the experience of ten years of trial and error in several companies and review by many practitioners.

 

Definition: Capability

A business capability is a core of ‘what’ a business does, a technique for the representation of an organisation’s business anchor model, independent of the organisation’s structure, processes, people or domains [GartnerGlossary]

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