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On EA function and the "customer" of EA

posted Feb 4, 2011, 1:40 PM by Alar Raabe   [ updated Feb 4, 2011, 1:53 PM ]
Gartner Pub. "Develop Next-State Enterprise Architecture to Improve Usability" states: "Too many EA programs are suffering because their content is being largely ignored by some of the very people they are trying to serve -- project teams."

Is it really so that EA program is trying to or must serve project teams?

I would argue, that the main purpose of the EA programs is not to serve, but to constraint the project teams -- doing so of course in the name of serving the whole enterprise including the project teams, but still the main purpose is to impose the constraints that restrict the project teams.

It is the same, as police is establishing speed limits for motorists -- for benefit of whole society some of the members need to be restricted in their doings.

This of course doesn't mean, that restrictions/constraints developed by EA program, doesn't have to be "actionable" and "pragmatic".

The detail level and overall nature of restrictions/constraints has to match the maturity of project teams -- by analogy, for small children the restrictions must be very precise and categorical, but when dealing with grown-ups you can rely on some level of common sense (or maybe not).


The overall question is about the primary stakeholder/counter-party -- who EA function serves.

Does the EA function serve management in development of enterprise, working for global goals, or does it serve the project teams, working for local goals? I would focus more on serving the management and global goals, because project teams are already served by the application architects.

There was an important remainder in the article -- you can't have road map (next steps), before you have future state!